Often a picture frame is a work of art in and of itself.

Which means it needs to be cared for just like what’s framed.

“People tend to forget to clean and care for their pictures frames as they would with what’s inside them,” says Margot Dark of Contract Pictures Framers Inc., of Cherry Hill, N.J., which has been providing quality picture framing, artwork and installation to businesses and homes for more than 25 years.  “Simple maintenance can literally give you a lifetime of pleasure.”

Thus, Dark offers these suggestions to keep your frame looking beautiful:

Regular Cleaning For Regular Enjoyment

Like anything in a home or office, picture frames need to be dusted and cleaned from time to time.  Start with laying a soft thick towel down on a flat surface.  This way the back can be taken off and the picture removed without scratching the front of the frame.  Never set a frame down on its front without laying it on something soft, as it could scratch it regardless of frame type.

Once you get the back of the frame opened up and your picture removed, simply take out the glass and give it a good cleaning.  Any glass cleaner will work for glass, but only use water and soap on acrylic.  Dark recommends cleaning with a cloth towel instead of paper towels, as paper towels can scratch acrylic.  Using cloth is not only more environmentally friendly, but is especially important if using conservation techniques to protect a photo (the acid in the paper towels left on the glass can slowly degrade a photo).

Types Of Frames

For most wood picture frames with a smooth finish (like furniture), use a dust cleaner or a slightly dampened cloth with water.  Make sure to remove the picture if using any type of spray cleaner.  With a rustic picture frame without a lacquered finish, then simply use water with a slightly damp towel to clean or use a soft toothbrush or microfiber cloth.  Be careful of dust cleaners or wood cleaners for unfinished wood, as it will absorb the cleaner differently and may discolor it.

How To Clean Metal Picture Frames

For metal picture frames, the way to clean them can vary greatly.  For gold colored, silver colored or aluminum picture frames, simply use a slightly damp towel with water and wipe the frame down.

This will clean your frame gently without damaging the finish.  And for unlacquered finishes like solid pewter picture frames, silver plated frames or sterling silver picture frames, use a good quality silver cleaner and follow directions of the cleaner.  If not sure on the kind of finish, use a small area on the bottom of the frame (or on the back) as a test area to make sure the finish is not being damaged.

Again, make sure to only clean and care for frames while the pictures are removed.

Once done cleaning the glass and the frame, don’t put back the picture until the glass is completely dry.  Moisture on the glass can cause the photo to stick to the glass and damage the picture.

So as Dark adds, follow these steps and you’ll be sure to keep your picture frames in the same beautiful condition as when you bought them!