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How to Clean Paper Prints

How to Clean Paper Prints

Keeping your prints clean is important to preserving their appearance and keeping them looking pristine and new as long as possible. All of our materials are archival, rated at least 100+ years, but not taking proper care of your prints can still cause early fading and discoloration. Cleaning canvas prints is quite simple, as canvas prints are varnished and therefore more durable than paper prints. Paper prints require a more delicate hand when cleaning, and prevention of contaminate buildup is important to avoiding damage. 

Cleaning the Surface of the Print

Two Unframed Paper Prints

As mentioned, paper prints are a bit delicate, and need to be handled carefully. Cleaning dust or hairs from the surface of the print can be a little tricky, and you need to make sure to take care not to cause damage to the print. 

Do Not Wipe the Print 

The most important thing to remember when cleaning your paper print is to never wipe the surface of the print. Wiping the print is very likely to cause scuffs or flaking, which cannot be fixed. 

Use Canned Air

If there is dust on the surface of your paper print that you need to remove, rather than trying to wipe it off, use canned air or a gentle air blower. Any dust that is sitting on the surface can generally be removed with this method. Giving the print a gentle shake is also a good way to loosen any fibers sitting on the surface. 

Safe Storage to Avoid Dust

Properly storing your paper prints is very important to prevent dust buildup from happening in the first place. Since it can be difficult to remove contaminants from the surface of the print, the best thing to do is ensure that dust and other fibers never have the opportunity to land on the print in the first place.

Archival Print Sleeves

If you aren’t able to get your paper print framed right away, you’ll want to keep it stored in an archival print sleeve. Any prints you order from Old Town Print Gallery will arrive to you in just such a sleeve, so you won’t need to go out and buy anything new. Simply keep your print in the sleeve it arrived in, and keep it stored somewhere safe where it won’t get dinged or damaged. 

Frame Paper Prints to Keep Clean

Framed print of a photograph that matches the decor of the room

Ultimately you’ll need to get your paper prints framed in order to display them, and this will keep them clean. There are countless options out there for framing paper prints. Whether you want the ease of a premade frame or the flexibility of custom framing, there are plenty of options for getting your print safely framed behind glass, preventing any dust, hairs, or other fibers from landing on the delicate surface of the print. 

Cleaning the Frame

Once you have your print framed, you’ll still want to occasionally clean the frame, as dust is likely to accumulate on any surface. You can use any gentle glass cleaner such as Windex, or just plain old water, to clean the glass on your frame. We would recommend not spraying anything directly onto the glass, to make sure no liquid drips in between the glass and the frame, potentially damaging the print. Instead, spray the cleaner or water onto a paper towel or cleaning cloth and use that to wipe down the glass. 

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