How do you Clean Painted Surfaces?
Cleaning painted surfaces is quite easy, and doesn’t require too much equipment or effort. If a painting has just been completed, it can be covered with an artist’s tinted varnish which will protect the work until it is properly framed and glazed. This can be removed at any stage by simply washing the painting with warm water and soap.
For older paintings that have not yet been varnished, all that needs to be done is to dust the surface gently using a special art gum eraser – these are available from most of the leading art-supply companies, such as Daler Rowney (England) or Liquitex (USA). Once this has been done, any dirt that may still be embedded in the paint should be rinsed off using lukewarm water and a little soap. This is best done with a soft brush, as this will do less damage than if it is rubbed with an old toothbrush.
Any stains or marks can then either be scrubbed off with turpentine-soaked cotton wool or dabbed on a small area of wall at least 15cm from the painting itself. The affected area of paint should then be allowed to dry completely before being gently touched up using an appropriate coloured oil painting medium (see accompanying box for details). If you cannot find your preferred colour mixing oil just use raw linseed oil as it has similar properties but dries quicker.
Once this has dried, a second coat of covering varnish can be applied. This will minimise staining on the final surface.
If oil paints have been used in the painting, then it is essential that they are cleaned from brushes and scrapers as soon as possible after use to prevent colours from mixing with one another; otherwise you may find yourself in a bit of a muddle when trying to create new colours for your work! How else do you clean painted surfaces?
For oil-based paints, the best method is to rub the canvas gently with an old toothbrush. Any paint fragments then come off like dust – you will find that this process becomes easier over time as a film of paint builds up on the toothbrush and so loses some of its abrasiveness.
The other thing to bear in mind is that it’s much easier to clean off a stain from a painting while it is still wet than if it has already dried. Oil-paint stains are best treated using turpentine or methylated spirit (dilution 1:5) dabbed onto them with cotton wool; waterstains can be removed by putting salt directly onto them and allowing it to soak before rinsing it off with fresh water.
If you are in any doubt about what to do, then the best course of action is always to consult a conservator – most will be able to visit your studio for a fee that should prove to be very small compared with the cost of cleaning or restoring the work if you get it wrong!
Call Ethereal Painters today for your free quote at 604-505-2745 or fill out our estimate form. Our team of expert Vancouver painters can help you with your interior painting or exterior painting project.