How to Maintain Artwork

How to Maintain Artwork

Suzan El-RassSep 1, '20

Taking Care of Art Doesn’t Have to be Complicated

Maybe you’ve just purchased your first piece of art, or you already have a collection growing at home. Owning art is exciting, but do you know how to maintain it so it doesn’t sustain damage over time? 

Taking care of art might seem like a task for a professional, but there are things you can do at home to ensure that your pieces remain intact. 

Avoid Direct Sunlight

You should always keep artwork out of direct sunlight. Anything that’s prominently displayed in direct, natural light will fade over time, turn yellow, and become severely damaged. If you really want to put art in a room with natural lighting, be sure to do the following: 

  • Canvas paintings and art prints should be framed behind UV-protected glass. This will help deflect any sunlight. 
  • If you can, use a non-reflective glass to help ensure the artwork can be viewed properly regardless of how much light is in the room. 

Avoid Moisture

While you might be tempted to spruce up your bathroom with some artwork, it’s not a good room to hang paintings, especially those on canvas. Rooms with high humidity are a breeding ground for mold which will destroy your art. Original artwork, especially canvas paintings, should be placed in rooms with a consistent temperature and zero humidity. 

Regular Cleaning 

One of the easiest ways to minimize damage is to regularly clean your art. However, there are some important tips to follow when doing so to ensure you don’t do more harm than good.

  • If you’re dealing with a canvas painting, never touch it with your bare hands. Human skin produces natural oils that can damage both the canvas and paint, so be sure to wear cotton gloves. 
  • Canvas is a delicate material, so never put water or cleaning solutions on it. Instead, use a microfiber cloth, feather duster, or soft brush to remove any dust. 
  • If you have art prints that are framed you can dust and wipe them down with a damp cloth, but be sure to dry them off thoroughly so no moisture gets through. 

Framing and Hanging 

It might be expensive, but framing art prints is key. This will help ensure they don’t become damaged and help preserve them for years to come. Get a frame that will properly fit the size of the print; it should be bigger than the print itself. Make sure that the backing of the frame is made from an acid-free material, otherwise you risk your artwork coming into contact with unwanted chemicals. 

Framed artwork as well as canvases should also be properly mounted on a wall. Make sure they are secure by avoiding simple wall hooks—you’ll want to invest in a drill instead. Artwork should also be hung high enough that it won’t be bumped into by people walking by. The last thing you want is for it to fall off the wall or end up with a punctured hole. 


If you’re moving or downsizing and need to place artwork into storage, follow these basic tips:

  • Pack each item individually. Make sure your art piece is wrapped in plain paper, bubble wrapped, and then stored in a cardboard box. 
  • Always store the packages laying down flat, and do not put anything on top of them. Make sure they are also stored far away from other items so nothing falls on them.
  • The room they are being stored in should be temperature controlled. Again, avoid moisture at all costs so mold does not grow on your artwork.

If you have any specific questions on how to maintain artwork, you can contact for more information.


Author: Lizz DiCesare