How to Clean Your Art Prints at Home
Do you get frustrated when you see dirt on art prints? Are you worried that you might have to spend thousands of rupees on a professional cleaner to get them cleaned?
You don’t need to. Because, there are many ways you could clean your art prints yourselves. And guess what? These methods are safe and cost almost nothing.
But, before telling you the details, we have to identify the kind of art print we are dealing with and the type of dirt we are trying to remove. It’s because different types of art prints have different kinds of protective coatings. And that changes how we clean our art prints.
Why we need to know the type of art print?
As you might already know, there are many types of art prints available. Some with protective coatings, some with laminations and some without any protective layers. We have to identify this first.
Art prints with protective coating or laminate are easier to clean because, they attract less dirt and you could use simple cleaning agents.
A protective coating also prevents the art from collecting certain kind of dirt. For example, we have found, less insect and smoke caused dirt on laminated art prints than unprotected art prints. Similarly, you won’t see many fingerprint smudges on laminated art prints.
On the contrary, an art print without any protective coating attracts dirt quickly. They fade soon and are delicate. You could not use strong cleaning agents on them.
So, it’s important that we know what type of art print we are dealing with. Once we are past this, we can use any of the following cleaning methods.
5 Ways to Clean Your Art Print
1) Vacuum Cleaner with a Soft-Bristled Brush
In this method, you just have to use a soft-bristled brush to dismantle the dust particles from the surface. Then you have to use a vacuum cleaner to collect these particles.
As you might have already guessed, this method is not good if you are cleaning sticky-dirt such as smoke particles, grease or atmospheric dust. When you use brush on these particles, it might stick together and cause further damage to your artwork.
2) Warm Water and Damp Cloth
If there is sticky-dirt on a protected art print, this is the best method you could employ. Use some lukewarm water (distilled water recommended) and a microfiber soft cloth to wipe off the dirt from the surface. After that, use a dry soft cloth to wipe off moisture. Alternatively, you could keep your art print in direct sunlight for several minutes to get them dried.
You should also remember not to over-dampen your cleaning cloth. A wet artwork needs more time to dry and the longer it takes, greater the chance to cause physical permanent damage to your art print. So, remove as much water from the cloth before you start.
3) High Absorbing Food Items
Well, you already know these — loaf of white bread or sliced potatoes. They soak up ink, paint and dirt. Here is how you use it.
Remove bread’s crust and rub the white part on the art print surface. Bread molecules absorb dirt and makes the surface clean. There will be some residue of bread left which you can remove with a soft brush.
Similarly, you could use peeled potatoes slices. For best results, we recommend little lemon juice to dismantle the dirt particles. Use an ear-bud and apply couple of drops of lemon on the most affected parts. See how easily the dirt comes off from the surface!
4) Cotton and Spirit
This is one of the ‘pro’ methods. Add some drops of spirit or alcohol on a cotton ball and wipe it over the art print surface. And when you wipe them gently over the surface, the dirt will react with spirit and sticks to cotton ball. This way, cotton soaks up all the dirt from your art print.
That said, you should take proper care when you use these chemicals. Some printing inks are said to react with these chemicals. So, test on a small portion first before going ahead.
You could also use petrol instead of spirit for this type of cleaning.
5) Professional Cleaning Solutions
There are many professional cleaning products available for cleaning oil paintings. You could use any of these to clean your art prints as well.
Some of them are cleaning liquids, where you have to apply them on the surface to get the dirt removed. Some are compressed gases. You just have to spray these over the art prints to remove the dirt.
We have found that sprays are highly effective for removing dust. When the spray evaporates, it takes along all dust particles with it. But, they were very ineffective at removing sticky-dirt.
So, if your art print has sticky dirt, you might have to use liquid cleaners. And if that also fails, you may have to take your art print to a professional art cleaner.
How do you clean your art prints? Have you tried any of these cleaning methods? What do you think about using the professional cleaning solutions? Share your views with us via comments…