Oil and acrylic paintings often suffer from a layer of dust forming on their surface. 

Acrylic paintings especially find this occurs due to thick layers of paint, known as impasto, allowing small crevices for atmospheric debris to fill. 

Oil paintings may attract dust due to old varnish, this was typically made from tree resin and as a natural product can decay and remain slightly sticky over decades and even centuries. 

As long as there is no sign of flaking paint or heavy cracking to the surface of the artwork, a dry microfibre cloth or light feather duster is the best way to clear a thin layer of surface dust. Paintings should never be cleaned with water, soap, or common household cleaning products. If you’d like a deeper clean, try our oil painting surface cleaner.

Sometimes you may find that the dust is trapped under the varnished surface of an oil painting or acrylic painting, this would have happened in the artist’s studio and would require a full varnish removal by a professional conservator to clean. 

Paintings should receive a light dusting regularly, to avoid any heavy contaminants building up on the surface or frame. The longer the dust has been there, the harder it will be to gently remove.

Oil paintings should be behind glass to provide the best protection from the elements, the same is true for acrylic paintings. Read here about how glass can protect your painting from UV rays. This can be in the form of a frame with glass or a well-sealed cabinet. 

If your painting needs a deep clean or has dust trapped under the surface of the varnish, please get in touch with us for a no-obligation quote and recommendations via [email protected]