You won our March ‘Modern World’ photography competition, what can you tell us about your entry ‘At the Art Gallery’?
My photograph “…
Spring Cleaning - Picture Frame Upkeep
Art and photos in your room may be the main attraction, however, it’s a frame that can make or break the overall display of a piece. Despite this the cleaning and care of picture frames is often overlooked. With this in mind, we wanted to give you a quick and easy to read guide to cleaning your frames, what to look out for and how to avoid damage, all so you can retain your framed works attraction and keep the spotlight on your framed artwork and photos.
It’s the little things that matter
Cleaning a frame doesn’t have to mean grabbing a load of household cleaning products, the simplest way to maintain the life and look of your frames and display is by simply including your picture frames in your dusting rota. Long-term buildup of dust requires a little more elbow grease to clean off with more chance of damaging your frames so to avoid this all it takes is a quick dust over with a feather duster or cloth, as and when, or whenever you notice a bit of build up.
If you do neglect your dusting for a while (we all do) use a slightly damp cloth to help remove larger areas of dust, just don’t forget to mind if you are cleaning whilst the frame is still hung!
Shine on – Cleaning your Glazing
Here at Frames Express, we stock our own Plastic Cleaning Solution which is specially designed to clean Plexiglas picture glazing but also ideal to have in your cleaning cupboard for other plastic household items. Alternatively you can use a gentle soap and water alongside a soft lint free towel to wash and another to dry your glazing and avoid scratches/particle left over.
For glass glazing swap your plastic cleaning solution or alternative to your favourite glass cleaner.
When using a cleaner, spray onto your cloth rather directly on the glazing and try to avoid getting any solution on the frame.
Material Matters – Cleaning your Frame
For wooden frames stick to using a wooden furniture polish or simply a damp cloth (if the frame is unfinished). If your frame has ornate decorations a great idea is to use a clean, soft toothbrush to clean the smaller areas.
Metal frames are relatively easy to clean, a damp cloth works great but if you’re seeing more stubborn dirt use a little gentle soap to shift any residue.
Plastic/Acrylic Finish Frames
For acrylic frames use a plastic cleaner or if you have none available use a gentle colour free soap, however, a cleaner is preferable.
A lot more complicated than those above, we advise seeking professional guidance when dealing with gilded frames due to the delicacy of metal leaf. With these frames we’d advise you keep movement and dusting to a minimum, perhaps once a year. For deep cleans seek a conservator as with these frames damage could be easily sustained and irreversible, affecting the history and monetary value of the frame. Take a look at some guidance from English Heritage.
N.B. With all frame cleaning, we suggest testing on a small inconspicuous area, in particular when using cleaning solutions.
Looking for more tips on framing? Visit our information centre to see all of our how-to guides.