Art Care and Cleaning
Fine art, like anything of value in your home, needs a little TLC every once in a while. These simple art care and cleaning tips sorted by media can increase the longevity of your fine art!
General Art Care Tips
Probably the most important secret to increasing the longevity of all fine art prints (with the exception of ultra durable aluminum prints) is to keep them out of direct sunlight. This one valuable tip will prevent harmful UV damage and premature fading.
All canvas prints considered archival and gallery quality, like the ones we sell, should have an added layer of UV protection. However even with this special UV resistant coating, it is still recommended to avoid direct sunlight if possible.
Fine art prints on archival fine art paper, canvas or aluminum paired with archival inks are designed to last a lifetime with proper care and handling.
Fine Art Print Care:
Fine Art Print Precautions: prone to fingerprints, dents, scratches, lint and dust.
Buying fine art prints without frames is a popular choice for the hands-on types and the budget-minded because it allows you to work with your local framer and choose any frame that suits your decor style or frame yourself. Plus there's the added bonus of reduced shipping costs.
Often, fine art prints arrive rolled in tubes, so the print will be curled until it is trained to relax. Professional framers will know how to handle the prints best, so if that is the route you are going, we recommend leaving the print in the tube until it is time to get framed.
Fine art prints are prone to dents, so handle with great care. It is recommended to wear cotton gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints. Prior to framing yourself, it is recommended to give the curled print time to relax by laying it out on a flat surface for at least 24 hours. Be mindful that lint and dust are attracted to the ink. We recommend finding four items such as heavy books to set on the four corners. To prevent scratches, wrap the books or items in tissue paper or lint-free cloths.
Fine Art Print Cleaning:
When it comes time to frame, you can remove dust with an air compressor or gently with a lint-free cloth.
Canvas Precautions: prone to scratches.
Gallery wrapped canvas art is fairly easy to handle. Not as prone to fingerprints, it is generally safe to handle canvas pieces with bare (clean) hands. Take care not to bump against or put any tension on the face of the stretched canvas and never lean other items against the face. A nice feature of gallery wrapped canvas pieces is the lightweight quality making it easy to move around, but be aware that scratching, especially on the edges, is possible. If you need to set it down, do so on foam or a blanket.
A dry soft, lint-free cloth is all you need to dust and wipe down the face and sides of wrapped canvas pieces.
Acrylic Precautions: prone to scratches.
Acrylic facemount is a beautiful media option but be aware that it the most sensitive to handle being both heavy and prone to scratches. We recommend hiring a professional for the installation of acrylic pieces, but if you are the ambitious self-reliant type, it would be wise to enlist a helper to help move and hang an acrylic piece. Gloves are also recommended for handling and be sure to have foam or a blanket to set the piece down on if needed.
A dry soft, lint-free cloth can be used to carefully dust the top of acrylic face mounted pieces. If there is "schmutz" on the face of the acrylic, you can dampen the cloth with a small amount of water to spot clean. Do not use chemical cleaners.
Framed Glass Care:
Framed Glass Precautions: prone to scratches and shattering.
Framed glass artwork is relatively easy to handle. Gloves may be handy if the frame material looks like it could collect fingerprints. If you need to put the framed piece down before hanging, place foam or a blanket under for added protection. Be aware that glass is prone to shattering easily if dropped! (Of course, we don't recommend dropping any types of fine art :)) For this reason, many professional framers switch from glass to acrylic glazing for art pieces over a certain size. See acrylic care if your framed piece has acrylic glazing.
Framed Glass Cleaning:
A dry soft, lint-free cloth can be used to first gently wipe down the face of the glass and then the top of the frame and frame edges. If the glass needs to be spot cleaned, use a small amount of glass cleaner.
Aluminum Precautions: very durable but not immune to scratches or dents.
Aluminum prints are the most durable to handle. Not immune to scratches and dents, but much more forgiving and tough than the average print media. Gloves are still a good idea to avoid fingerprints, but not necessary because the oils in our hands will not damage the surface. Like the other media, if you will need to set the aluminum piece down, it is recommended either to place flat on its back or lean against a wall on top of foam or a blanket.
A dry soft, lint-free cloth can be used to wipe down the face of the aluminum. A small amount of water can be used to dampen the cloth for more stubborn "schmutz".
We hope this art care & cleaning guide offered some helpful advise and that you enjoy your art for many years to come!