How to Preserve Expensive Oil Paintings

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Owning a genuine oil painting for your home or office is a matter of pride. But to make this long-lasting and durable art a part of the family for generations it needs proper care and handling. And preserving an oil painting is not at all a difficult task provided you follow all the guidelines.


  1. Select the room where the painting is going to be hanged.
    1. Select a room with proper lighting 200 lux.[1]
    2. Make sure that the room has a stable temperature that is neither too hot nor too humid.
      1. During summer months, keep the rooms ambient temperature 70-75F, and a relative humidity of 45-55%.[1]
      2. During winter months, keep the rooms ambient temperature 65-70F and a relative humidity of 40%-45%.[1]
    3. Hang paintings away from direct sunlight, bright overhead lights, and fireplaces.
  2. Purchase strong picture hooks and insert them properly into the wall and then hang your painting on it with the help of the wire. Use two picture hooks which are appropriate to the wall and strong enough.
  3. Before hanging the oil painting, coat the surface with a layer of varnish to preserve it. But this should be done only after the painting has thoroughly dried or you can take help of some knowledgeable conservator.
  4. From time to time check the wire to make sure that it is in good working condition. If required, change the wire.
  5. Whenever you need to take down the painting from the wall for cleaning, handle it by the frame without touching the painted surface. Always wash your hands before handling an oil painting as fluid from your hands can damage the surface.
  6. Regularly clean the painting to maintain its beauty. Clean the painting with soft brushes, moist cotton wool or soft micro fibre cloth. And for cleaning the back of the painting use a vacuum cleaner or soft brushes.
  7. In case insect infestation is found, keep the oil painting in a plastic bag and ask an expert to examine it.


  • When hanging the painting always use good quality wire and it must be strong enough to hold the weight of the painting.
  • Do not keep the painting in a room with fluctuating temperatures.
  • Do not rely on a regular nail for hanging a priceless painting.
  • Never use any rough piece of cloth for cleaning it.
  • Avoid hanging oil paintings in hallways or on walls where there is frequent family movement.

Things You Will Need

  • Good quality wire
  • Strong picture hooks
  • Varnish
  • Soft brushes
  • Moist cotton wool
  • Soft micro fibre cloth
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Plastic bag

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  1. Ford

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