Art lovers also crave oil paintings and decorate their homes and studios with oil art pieces. It’s imperative to clean oil paintings once you had invested in them. Cleaning an oil painting needs extra care and effort so that your art piece is cleaned without any damage.

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Oil Painting Solvents and Mediums

Oil painting is an art procedure in which colored pigments are mixed with oil or other solvents to paint. It is not modern artwork it is a centuries-old technique. The widely-used oils in oil paintings are linseed oil, poppy seed oil, walnut oil, and safflower oil however other solvents like gesso, spirit, and turpentine were also used in creating oil paintings.

For creating an oil painting artwork different materials are used on which one can transform his imagination into art. Most oil paintings are created on canvas however mirrors, wood, and paper were also used for oil paintings. It's good to keep both oil painting materials and solvents in mind before cleaning oil artwork.

Steps to Clean Oil Paintings at Home

Step 1 Cleaning Oil Painting on Canvas

Materials and Tools


  • Soft Bristle Paint Brush
  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Water
  • Oil-based Soap
  • Cotton pad
  • Bowl
  • Remove the painting from the frame before cleaning the canvas, make sure to do this step safely so that your painting will be safe from tearing. If your frame is not removable then keep it as it is.
  • Then take a table or any comfortable flat surface on which you can work easily and place your painting on it.
  • Take a soft bristle painting brush and dust off your oil painting with it, you can also use a clean and dry microfiber cloth for this purpose.
  • In a bowl make a cleaning solution by combining olive oil-based soap and water, don't use any other soap rather than olive oil-based soap.
  • Take a cotton pad and dip it in the solution then remove the excess solution by straining. Then gently blot your painting with a damp cotton pad. For cleaning corners and smaller areas use cotton swabs.
  • Once you have done cleaning now take a clean and dry microfiber cloth and gently tap it on the painting for drying.
clean oil paintings on canvas

Step 2Cleaning Oil Painting on Paper

Materials and Tools
  • Soft Bristle Paint Brush
  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Water
  • Oil-based Soap
  • Cotton pad
  • Bowl
  • Before Cleaning a painting on paper its recommended to check whether its an oil painting or a watercolor painting, for this take a damp cotton pad then tap it on the corner of the painting if you see the color coming off then it's a watercolor painting otherwise it's an oil painting and you can proceed further cleaning.
  • Paper oil paintings are usually placed inside a glass frame as they are hard to clean and framed for protection if you just want to clean glass then spray it with water and then wipe with a dry cloth but if you want a detailed cleaning then remove its glass and place it on a flat surface.
  • Then take a soft bristle brush and gently rub in horizontal and vertical motions on the painting to remove dust.
  • Then in a bowl mix water and olive oil-based soap solution.
  • Then dip a cotton pad in the solution and strain the excess solution, gently tap on the painting. Don't tap the cotton pad on clean paper as it may leave stains on the paper and ruin the painting's composition. It's better to use a cotton swab as it will clean with more details and prevent the paper from stains.
clean oil paintings on paper

Step 3 Cleaning Oil Painting on Wood

Materials and Tools
  • Brush
  • Cotton pad
  • Bowl
  • Linseed oil
  • Turpentine
  • Place your wooden oil art piece on a flat surface.
  • Then take a microfiber cloth and gently wipe the painting to remove dust particles.
  • In a bowl add five parts of turpentine with one part of linseed oil. you can also use this solution for cleaning canvas oil paintings
  • Then dip a cotton pad in the solution and blot over the painting to clean it. Let it dry
clean oil paintings on wood


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  • Never use potato or bread over oil painting for cleaning it.
  • Don't use baby oil on the painting surface for cleaning.
  • Never use vinegar or rubbing alcohol for cleaning.
  • Don't use lemon or calcium carbonate as it will ruin your art treasure.
  • Keep your paintings away from sunlight.
  • Always do a patch test before using any cleaning solution.
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