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How to Care for Your Prints

How to Care for Your Prints

Fine art prints can be a bit delicate, and it’s important to know how to properly care for them. Paper and canvas require different methods for keeping clean, and there are also environmental factors to consider in the long-term care of your prints. Where you choose to hang your prints can have an impact on how long your prints last. Knowing the best ways to clean and protect your prints can help them last a lifetime and beyond. 

Cleaning Your Prints

Over time dust and dirt can gather on the surface of your prints. It’s important to keep them clean to prevent long-term deterioration. Fine art prints, especially paper prints, can be delicate, so you’ll want to make sure you know the best methods for keeping your prints safe and clean. Being too rough with your prints, or using harsh methods, is likely to cause damage to your prints. 

Paper Prints

Mockup of paper print

The surface of paper prints is delicate, and it’s important to avoid touching the surface whenever possible. Wiping the surface of the print with your hand or a paper towel is likely to cause smudging or flaking. If there is a dust spot on your paper print, the best way to remove it is by blowing air into the surface, either with a can of compressed air or with a small handheld air blower. Keep in mind that compressed air can be intense, so hold the print at a distance so it isn’t hit by too much force. 


The best thing to do to keep your paper prints clean is to frame them behind glass. This will prevent anything from touching the surface and causing flakes or smudges, and also prevents any dust from settling on the surface. When framing your prints, there are plenty of options available. From premade frames to custom frames, local vs online options, there are plenty of options to choose from. If you’re not sure where to start with framing your prints, you can take a look at our helpful guide that walks you through all the options available for framing your prints.

Canvas Prints

Mockup of Canvas Print

Our canvas prints have a coating of archival varnish over the surface which helps protect the print. This prevents any flaking and serves as a barrier to dirt and dust. The varnish also makes the print easy to clean, you just need to make sure you are using the right methods. You should never use Windex or other cleaning supplies on your prints, nor should anything be sprayed directly onto the surface of the print. The best way to clean a canvas print is with a gentle cloth, lightly dampened with water. If possible, distilled water is the best option. 

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Preventing Long-term Wear

There are other factors to consider than just dust gathering on the surface of your prints. All of the materials we use are museum-quality and archival, each rated to last over 100 years, but there are numerous environmental factors that can cause early deterioration. Being aware of these factors is important in order to properly care for your prints and ensure they last a lifetime. 

Print hung out of reach of sun

UV Exposure 

UV exposure can be extremely detrimental to your fine art prints. Extended or extreme exposure will cause fading and discoloration of your prints. Preventing this can be as simple as hanging your prints in areas of your home or office that don’t receive direct sunlight. Another great step is to frame your paper prints behind UV glass, which will help prevent damage caused by sunlight. 

Smoke Exposure

Smoke exposure, be it from cigars, cigarettes, or tobacco, is harmful to the longevity of your prints. As with UV exposure, extended smoke exposure can cause your prints to become discolored. This is easiest to see in the borders of prints; you’ll notice the white borders appear more yellow over time. Framing paper prints can help minimize smoke exposure, but the smoke will likely still make its way inside the frame over time. Eliminating smoke exposure entirely is the best way to help your prints last as long as possible. 

Moisture

Moisture is quite detrimental to fine art prints, especially paper prints. Moisture will cause the paper to warp and the inks to bleed. If you run a humidifier in your home or office, you’ll want to keep it away from your prints as much as possible. Even framed paper prints can be affected if the moisture exposure is extended over a long period of time. 

Acidic Framing Materials

The materials used to frame your paper prints will affect how your print ages. Whenever possible, it’s important to make sure your prints are framed using archival, acid-free materials. Acidic framing materials are likely to cause your prints to yellow over time. Using fully archival, acid-free materials can be a bit more expensive, but it is worth the investment to keep your prints looking new for decades to come. 

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