How to clean an oil painting


Oil paintings, like any other object, require regular cleaning. However, cleaning them is a different task. You wouldn't want to ruin the painting by mistake. The paint can be disturbed by a liquid or a harsh treatment. Moreover, these paintings are reactive to the environment so regular cleaning is necessary.

Cleaning the painting regularly ensures that it lasts long. It's through regular cleaning and maintenance that age-old paintings are still present in the museums. It's not a hard task too. Take the help of the following points to clean your oil painting:

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Dusting the painting:
    You'd need a soft hardware brush to dust the painting. The painting would have some cobwebs and additional dirt and this will help you get rid of those. Make sure that your strokes are light. They shouldn't be hard as it might damage the painting. Remember, the brush would be dry.

    You'd perform this process on the back of the painting too. Perform the dusting thoroughly to remove the excess dirt present on the painting.
  2. Rinsing the painting:
    After you finish dusting the painting, you'd place a towel underneath it. This will help you prevent any spillage of water. Then, you should check whether the painting can be cleaned with the liquid or not.
  3. After checking, you can start rinsing the painting. This process would be similar to the previous one but the only difference would be that you'll be using water here. With gentle strokes, clean the painting and then move onto the next step.
  4. Drying the painting:
    Now you'll use a towel to get rid of the water present on the painting. Remember, you wouldn't rub the towel. Instead, you'd be touching the painting with the towel with a little pressure on different spots. When you've covered the entire painting through this method, then you would've gotten rid of the water.
  5. Final touches:
    Finally, you should check the painting thoroughly for any left marks or dirt. This process is sufficient for cleaning an oil painting. Moreover, it's better than using your spit to clean the painting.

It's advised that you don't use bread for cleaning the painting. There are many dangers of using the method and more often than not, people damage their paintings through the method. It'd be better if you clean your painting this way.

If it's difficult:

It's possible that the painting doesn't get clean even after this process. In that case, you should choose to contact a professional for this task. He or she would clean your painting properly and without any kind of risks. If you're afraid that you won't be able to clean the painting by yourself, then again, you should choose to hire a professional.


In total, cleaning your oil painting is not a hard task. With the above process, you'll be able to clean the painting quickly and if you need, you can hire a professional.

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