Oil paintings are a unique and sensitive media. They can collect dirt and stains over time, and you might be at a loss on how to clean them — you can’t use water, paint thinner, alcohol, or any abrasive force. Fear not! It’s simple to bring out the original vibrancy of your oil painting, and its believed all you need is a little bread.

Although you can remove light dust, airborne pet hair, and even soot from an oil painting yourself, a deeper, more thorough cleaning should always be left to a professional. As long as the painting isn’t damaged, you can prolong the life of your oil painting with these easy maintenance steps.

You Will Need:

  • Soft brush
  • Fresh white bread

Steps to Remove the Dust:

  1. While the painting is in the vertical position, gently go over it with a soft brush to remove loose debris. Work from the top down and from side to side in a consistent motion.
  2. Lay the painting on a horizontal sturdy surface.
  3. Remove the crust from a piece of soft white bread.
  4. Press the bread to the surface to get rid of smoke residue, hair, and stubborn dust. Lift and repeat. Replace bread with a fresh piece when it’s soiled.
  5. Stand the painting up and repeat step one to remove any lingering crumbs or remaining debris.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Clean at your own risk! If the painting has value, it’s always worth the investment to have it cleaned properly by a professional.
  • Avoid introducing moisture to the surface of your painting. It can seep inside invisible cracks and cause damage.
  • Do not attempt to clean a damaged painting.