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How To Clean Your Picture Frames

April 19, 2023

Cleaning picture frames may seem simple, but it's more involved than you think. Dust, dirt, and grime can accumulate on frames over time, making them look dull and dingy. Additionally, if you're dealing with antique or fragile frames, you'll want to take extra care to avoid causing any damage. Cleaning picture frames may seem daunting, but it can be an easy and rewarding process with the right tools and techniques. In this guide, we'll walk you through the step-by-step process of how to clean picture frames properly.

cleaning supplies for cleaning picture frames

Materials Needed

Before we get started, you'll need a few materials. Here's what you'll need:

  • Soft-bristled brush or feather duster
  • Microfiber cloth or a soft, lint-free cloth
  • Bucket of warm water
  • Mild dish soap
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush (optional)
  • Compressed air can (optional)
  • Glass cleaner (optional)

Types of Picture Frames

Before you start cleaning your picture frame, it's important to understand the type of frame you have. Different types of frames require different cleaning supplies and techniques, and using the wrong technique can cause damage.

Wooden Frames

Wooden frames are the most common type of picture frame. They're often painted or stained and can have intricate designs or carvings. When cleaning a wooden frame, you'll want to avoid using too much water or harsh chemicals that could damage the finish.

Metal Frames

Metal frames can be made of various materials, such as brass, copper, or aluminum. They can be polished or brushed, and may also have intricate designs. When cleaning a metal frame, you'll want to avoid using abrasive materials that could scratch the metal.

Plastic Frames

Plastic frames are lightweight and affordable. They can come in various colors and designs. When cleaning a plastic frame, avoid using harsh chemicals that could cause the plastic to discolor or degrade.

Antique Frames

Antique frames require extra care when cleaning. These frames are often fragile, and the materials used to make them may not withstand traditional cleaning methods. If you're unsure how to clean an antique frame, consult a professional.

how to clean picture frames

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

Now that you have your materials and understand the type of frame you're cleaning, let's walk through the step-by-step cleaning process:

Step 1: Preparation

Start by removing the picture from the frame. Lay the picture flat on a clean surface, avoiding areas where dust or debris may be present.

Step 2: Dusting

Gently remove any dust or debris from the frame using a soft-bristled brush or feather duster. Be sure to get into all the crevices and corners of the frame.

Step 3: Washing

Fill a bucket with warm water and a small amount of mild dish soap. Dip a soft, lint-free cloth into the water and wring out the excess water. Gently wipe down the frame, avoiding any areas with intricate designs or carvings. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to scrub any stubborn dirt or grime gently.

Step 4: Drying

Using a clean, dry microfiber cloth, gently pat the frame dry. Avoid using too much pressure or rubbing too hard, which could damage the finish.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

If any remaining areas need cleaning, use a compressed air can to blow away any remaining dust or debris. If the frame has glass, you can use glass cleaner and a clean, lint-free cloth to clean the glass.

tips for maintaining picture frames

Tips for Maintaining Picture Frames

Once you've cleaned your picture frame, you'll want to take steps to maintain it. Here are a few tips:

  • Dust your picture frames regularly to avoid the buildup of dirt and grime.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials on your frames.
  • Don't hang picture frames in areas where they'll be exposed to direct sunlight or moisture.
  • If you're dealing with antique frames, consult a professional before cleaning them.

Regular maintenance is crucial when it comes to cleaning picture frames. Picture frames can collect dust and grime over time, and if left unattended, it can cause damage to the frame's finish or even the picture itself. Regularly dusting and cleaning your picture frames can prevent a buildup of dirt and grime, ensuring that your frames look their best and last for years to come. Additionally, maintaining your frames can help prevent any potential damage from occurring during the cleaning process, as regular upkeep can help keep your frames in good condition. By taking care of your picture frames, you can enjoy your favorite memories on display without worrying about the frame's condition.

Cleaning picture frames is important to maintain their appearance, prevent damage, and preserve your favorite memories. Regular maintenance is crucial to prevent a buildup of dirt and grime and ensure that your frames last for years. Different picture frames require different cleaning techniques, so it's important to understand your frame type before starting the cleaning process. In addition to cleaning, regularly dusting your picture frames and avoiding harsh chemicals or excessive water can help keep them in good condition.

tips for cleaning picture frames

For final tips and recommendations, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Avoid using excessive water or harsh chemicals when cleaning your picture frames, as this can cause damage.
  2. When cleaning antique frames, consult a professional to ensure you don't cause any damage.
  3. Dust your picture frames regularly to avoid a buildup of dirt and grime.
  4. If you have glass in your picture frame, use a clean, lint-free cloth and glass cleaner to avoid streaks or damage.

By following these tips and regularly cleaning and maintaining your picture frames, you can keep them looking great and protect your precious memories.

About The Author

Brittany DeMauro Headshot Brittany DeMauro is the Creative Director here at With a background in creative writing and a passion for all things DIY, you'll find her in the shop crafting content. She can always find space for a fun gallery wall and loves discovering new artists to display around her home (in custom frames, of course!) When she's not creating content for our brand, she can most likely be found binging shows on Netflix with her two cats.