Product Care: Paintings and Sculptures

By Sklar Furnishings

How To Guides & Product Care

September 27, 2016

Sklar loves contemporary art, and we take a lot of pleasure in helping clients find unique pieces that perfectly accent their homes. But proper care is essential to ensuring that your artworks retain their beauty and value. Metal sculptures can be surprisingly vulnerable to damage, so it’s essential to take care when cleaning. Paintings can fade and warp if hung carelessly, and acrylic sculptures present their own care challenges. These tips will help you display your paintings and sculptures without damaging them, and clean them safely so their best qualities keep shining through.

Care of Paintings:

Light and humidity are a painting’s worst enemies, so bear both in mind when deciding where to hang any artwork. Position it out of direct light, taking special care not to hang it opposite any windows. Other spots to avoid include over a fireplace (because heat and soot tend to rise), and near any bathroom (because steam from showers can lead to dampness, warping and even fungus growth). Keep your paintings clean by regularly dusting them gently with a dry cloth, and ensure that any hooks used for hanging are firmly secured in a wall stud.

Care of Sculptures:

Copper Care
Copper should be polished quarterly to maintain a high-shine finish. If left a few months without polishing, it will develop a patina that may or may not be to your taste. Copper polishing is a simple process, and there are several products available at hardware and kitchen stores that produce attractive results, including Brasso and Copperbrill. If you prefer natural products, try applying a mixture of white vinegar and salt, then scrubbing with a soft brush.

Stainless Steel Care
Warm water and a gentle detergent is usually all it takes to clean stainless steel. Fingerprints can be removed using an ordinary glass cleaner, followed by a rinse with warm water. Avoid abrasive powder cleaners and scrubbing brushes when caring for high-shine stainless steel. Always remember to dry your artworks thoroughly with a towel after cleaning.

Chrome Care
Chrome is soft and scratches easily, so start with the gentlest cleaning method and only move up to stronger products if necessary. Wash with water, dishwashing detergent and a soft cloth in the first instance, cleaning any grooves and seams with a toothbrush. If that doesn’t get your sculpture clean enough, try using plain white or apple cider vinegar, plus another clean, soft cloth. In the event of rusting, try buffing the rust with a piece of balled up aluminum foil dipped in vinegar, or a piece of very fine steel wool. Whatever method you choose, always dry your chrome sculpture thoroughly with a towel or dryer sheet after washing, then wax with a product like Turtle Wax Chrome Polish that’s designed specially for chrome.

Bronze Care
Gently dust your bronze indoor sculptures once per month with a clean dry cloth. If you find yourself in possession of a piece that has developed a film of dirt through age or neglect, simply wash it by hand with unscented soap and distilled water, using a cloth or soft toothbrush to get into any crevasses. Specialized bronze cleaners and oils are available, but generally unnecessary. After cleaning, dry thoroughly before applying a clear paste wax.

Acrylic Care
Use a very soft cloth (for example, microfiber) to wipe your acrylic sculptures free of dust and dirt. Avoid using cleaning sprays or generalized household cleaning products on acrylic, as they can easily dull or scratch the surface — distilled water and a little dishwashing soap should remove any blots. Fine scratches can be buffed out with specialist products like Brillianize and Novus 2.

For more information on product selection and care, click here.

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