Care for your paintings
When structural damages such as tears, flaking paint, cracks with
lifting edges, or mold occur in a painting, consult a conservator
to decide on a future course of treatment for your painting.
2. The most important thing that you can do to protect your painting
at home is to not have the air conditioner or heater running during
the day, or alternatively, to have it turned off at night (or vice
3. Do not display a painting in direct sunlight; it will darken
the varnish, fade and crack the paint layer and ground over time.
4. Do not store paintings in humid basements or hot attics unless
5. Airborne pollution, particularly soot, have an oily component
that allows them to bind more tightly to a painting’s surface.
6. When you dust, use a soft cotton cloth such as diaper cloth
(on the frame only) and a soft bristle brush for the painting surface
and recessed areas of frames.
7. Do not use cleaning sprays or glass cleaners.
Never dust a painting that has flaking paint or where the paint
layer is separating from its ground.
9. When moving a painting, always prepare a pathway and a place
to set down the picture before you begin the move.
10. When you are hanging a picture with an especially heavy frame,
hang it from two hooks on the back of the frame, rather than from
a single wire.
11. If you hang a painting in the bathroom, the extra humidity
from showers and baths will give mold and mildew a good chance to
take over the picture surface.
12 Avoid storing or exhibiting paintings near air vents or water
pipes. Any accident to or leak in your system could be catastrophic
to your paintings.
13. Home remedies such as coating with linseed oil, or rubbing
with bread or an onion, can cause irreversible damage. Even the
correct cleaning materials can cause damage when used incorrectly.
14. A good storage method is to place the paintings in a closet
with a stiff board protecting the image side of each artwork and
a backing board attached to the reverse.
15. Remove paintings from a room before painting, plastering, or
steam cleaning carpets or wallpaper.
16. Wiping smoke, mud, or other contaminants from a painting may
result in additional damage. An information packet on disaster recovery
is available from the American Institute for Conservation.