I Antique Online

A Community For People Who Buy, Sell or Collect Antiques, Collectibles and Art

GOJO experiment on cleaning painting!

Not to long ago there was a discussion on cleaning old paintings. The rule of thumb is to let a professional take care of it. I'm in agreement.

Someone I admire and respect suggested using “GoJo” from the local auto place to clean the nicotine build up off a painting. He said it will clean the nicotine and not harm the painting. There was a bit of controversy about this.

However....Not only am I a wee bit hard headed, but I've learned years ago to "listen" to words of wisdom. Not just brush off someone’s life experiences. I wanted to know first hand if using this product would work for me.

Occasionally we all have a painting that we are pretty certain that it has little monetary value.
I decided to do a little experiment.
Two paintings that I wasn't to concerned to much if they were ruined.

The first painting I admit I was feeling a bit uncertain and may not have given it the necessary amount of time for the experiment. The surface had cracks in the paint. I attempted to clean two small areas. They came out dull looking and a small amount of “glitter affect” appeared. I put it aside. Thought to myself, no, you better not! I read the label at this time and it reads as follows “Creame hand cleaner, for removing grease, tar and oil” This is the one in the white bucket. I was told the orange container had a bit of grit to it so I didn’t think the abrasion would be so good. What concerned and confused me a bit was the part about removes oil! I was cleaning an oil painting. Hmmmm?

Second painting had fairly good surface. Only a few specks of missing paint. I put a small amount of Gojo onto an old t-shirt and began cleaning in the upper left corner of the painting. This time I gave it a minute before starting to wipe it off in a gentle small circular motion. I was amazed at what was coming off! A little more added and again small gentle circles. When I was finished, I used a slightly dampened cloth to sort of rinse a bit. At this point I thought I should try and take a couple of pictures. I’ve taken a picture of before and after.

I finished cleaning the painting with amazing results! It may need another once over but I am satisfied and will use this painting now. It was useless before. I will definitely do it again.

Folks, this is my choice to clean my personal paintings. I am in no way recommending to anyone to do the same. A person should at the very least know the type of painting they have. Some folks are unable to determine a print from a painting. You sure would not want to clean a watercolor like this. I will use only when there is no flaking in the paint or cracking. When I feel it is one that doesn’t need to be by a professional.

Thank You,

Your IAO friend,

PS: I have used other suggestions and this has worked best for me so far. The experiment isn't over. Any changes will be updated as time progresses.

Views: 405

Tags: cleaning, gojo, iantiqueonline, oil, oralei, painting, rescuelifeproducts


You need to be a member of I Antique Online to add comments!

Join I Antique Online

Comment by Oralei on October 21, 2011 at 4:29pm
Follow up! Well, more than a year and a half later and the paint on this experimental painting is still looking great. I wonder if it is time to try another one? Fun, fun, fun.
Comment by Oralei on April 2, 2009 at 2:40am
gainsboroughproducts.com sells a product to neutralizer the acid. I was also reading on one of the many links that turpintine is also used as a neutralizer. I'll need to read up on that a bit more.
Comment by rescuelifeproducts on April 2, 2009 at 2:07am
Recently I responded to a question from a person who has a name that in my mind is the second most beautiful name ever named, the first being "Jesus".
I individual having asked the question and after receiving the answer went on to appy what could have turned out to be tragedy,but instead it, It turned out well.
I want to thank her for her kind word and to inform her that I work for nationally known top three retail store for 20 year as paint and hardware manager and received my personal training from Interprise paint company of Ws.
Thou we were labeled as hardware and Paint specialist, I never let this desination affect my good judgement.
You were saved by the fact that old oil painters often made up their own paint from various matterial, matterial that drastically differ from substances found in todays oil paint.
The vehicle of paint is not even the same substances used in old oil paintings.
Recently we were part of a search for information on a painting by Rembrant's student Gerard Dou or Douw.
The search revealed the fact mentioned earlier about Rembrant and some others of his day chose to generate his oil paint by grinding up what I'm going to call rock, etc and making an oil paint that would apply and harden in such a way as to make them look better and to enhance the life span of the artwork.
It is alway better to go to a proffessional when he promises to compensate you in the event of a loss.

But If you find that cost is stand in your way and you own the item and do not mind the possibility, give it a try!

As for me, I like trying things.
I want to thank all of you for being so helpful and understanding. What a team!!
Comment by Oralei on April 2, 2009 at 12:30am
This is interesting: Facts and Myths
Petroleum Distillates
by Dean Whitehead

“Recently, I have heard and read comments made in seminars, in Web site forums and even in product advertising about petroleum distillates that truly misinforms the consumer. Anyone who makes the blanket statement that products containing petroleum distillates are harmful has no real knowledge of science or petroleum refining. After forty years of direct experience with this issue I have learned that false information is usually meant to take advantage of the consumer's lack of knowledge in order to sell something that wouldn’t sell otherwise. This is unfortunate and reflects the seamier side of negative marketing and advertising.”

Comment by Oralei on April 1, 2009 at 11:41pm
A Word of Caution
"Improper cleaning can harm a painting. Therefore, we suggest that beginners engage a conservator to clean paintings having monetary or sentimental value. Always practice on an old, inexpensive painting before cleaning a painting of importance to you."

Comment by Oralei on April 1, 2009 at 11:15pm
Still researching, and looking for info on neutralizers for acid. I have come across this information:


“The restoration of paintings is generally a serious business, more paintings get ruined by enthusiastic, careless restoration, than by fire.
We like to warn the reader that the restoration and/or cleaning of valuable oil paintings should be left to a reputable professional expert.”

“If one, however likes the idea of cleaning ones own paintings then, it might be advisable to buy some cheap paintings and restore those, to gain some first hand experience.“
Comment by Oralei on April 1, 2009 at 5:26pm
I want to make sure that EVERYONE understands that I am not recommending anything to anyone.as I stated in the last paragraph. "Note: Folks, this is my choice to clean my personal paintings. I am in no way recommending to anyone to do the same". Please also note the first statement made.." The rule of thumb is to let a professional take care of it. I'm in agreement.".

This was an experiment that I did for myself only. Using two paintings. One with good results and one with not so good results. If anyone trys this on their own they are accepting any and all risk involved.

When I cleaned the painting there was no color from paint on the rag anywhere. Does that indicate that the paint itself wasn't harmed? Only the residue of grime was on the cloth.

Perhaps it will continue to work its way to the paint?

I will be examining this painting to see if it deteriorates as time goes by.

Here is a few questions yet to be answered.

Does the varnish that is put over many oil paintings contain oil as well? I'll need to look into that a bit closer as I am unskilled in chemistry and am not a professional restorer.

Also what is a neutralizer?
Just what ingredients make up a neutralizer?
More digging to do.

Perhaps the acid will continue to work on the painting. Maybe not.

Either way...my choice, my painting, my loss or my gain.

We shall see. I love learning new things.

Smile everyone.

Does this really need a "DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME" warning label? ok then....

DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. If you do it's like I said. It is at your own risk!
Comment by Oralei on March 31, 2009 at 9:07pm

In this picture you can see at the top right side a dark line. It no longer exists!
Comment by Oralei on March 31, 2009 at 9:04pm
First picture at the top left corner is the start of cleaning. (Note this is not the entire painting but merely the best two pictures to show the experiment.) Does anyone care to guess about how long it actually took to clean this painting?

Welcome To I Antique Online: The Best & Biggest Social Network On Antiques & Collectibles

C. Dianne Zweig


Visit my blog Kitsch n Stuff

Visit my Art Studio/gallery  

Visit Pinterest

Visit Facebook www.facebook.com/iantiqueonline and "LIKE" our page.


C. Dianne Zweig's Blog

Join As Many Group Forums As You Like: They Are FREE

Featured Groups



Whadja Find Today ?

Charles' Coffee Klatch

Estate Liquidation

Estate-Tag-Yard Sales


Collector Groups



Perfume bottles



Depression Glass

Vanity Collectibles

Vintage Inspired Weddings




Decorative Plates

Made in Japan


Tea Antiques-Collectibles

Art Pottery

British Ceramics

18th, 19th Ceramics

Meissen Porcelain

Antique Imari

Flow Blue

Red Wing


Kitchen - Dining  


Glass Kitchen Shakers

Salt & Pepper Shakers

Cookie Jars

Bakelite in Kitchen

Peanut Glasses

Swanky Swigs


Glasbake Ovenware

Anchor Hocking



Drinkware & Steins




Antique Wicker



Home, Style, Decor





Architectural Salvage

Restoration -Home Improvement




Cabin Style



Antique Trunks


Mid Century Modeern Design

Nursery & Children

Vintage Laundry 






Art Deco

Mid-Century Design

Mid-Century Retro



Black Americana

Native American

Made in Japan




Linens & Textiles

Fine Linens

Kitchen Towels

Tablecloths 40s & 50s

Vintage Aprons

Pot Holders




Fiber Arts






Doll Related


Half Dolls

Head Vases


Doll House


Toy Related Groups


Vintage Board Games

Character Toys



Toy Kitchen

Model Trains

Antique Banks





Sea Shells-Maritime



Movie Collectors

Vinyl Records

Stamp Collectors

Coin Collectors

Antique Music Boxes


Cameras Snapshot Photograph


Kitsch-Pop Culture


Pop Culture

Florida Souvenirs

Snow Domes

Dog Collectibles

Cat Collectibles

Paper, Ephemera, Postcards, Books Advertising

Paper Advertising

Antique Advertising




Autograph Collecting

Letters, Diaries, Documents

Catskill Mountain

Political Memorabilia


Vintage Book Guild

Comic Books

Vintage Greeting Card

Vintage Book Guild

Vintage Sheet Music

Party, Holiday, Celebration

Holiday Collectibles

Vintage Christmas

Vintage Party

Vintage Greeting Card


Soda Fountain & Soda Pop

Coca Cola

Pepsi Cola

Soda Fountain

Soda Pop Junkies

Diner Collectibles

Foodie Collectibles


Not Just For Guy Stuff


U.S. Military






Vintage Oil Cans

Antique Signs

Vintage Electronics


Office Collectibles






Vintage Clothing





Art-Craft Related

Fine Art

Animal Paintings & Prints

Outsider Art

Folk Art

Re-Cycled Art

Mixed Media Assemblage

Retro Hobbies Crafts


Business And Social Media Related Groups

Help Desk

Find Antiques

Antique Market Place

I Wanna Buy

Whadja Find?

Social Media

Promoting Marketing

Antique Booth Ideas

Group Moderators

 Antique Dealers Exch

Antique Malls

Estate Maven-Liquidation

Estate Sales

Flea Markets

Consignment Shops

Live Auction

Trading & Bartering

Picks For Sale

eBay Connection

Etsy Connection

Craigslist Connection

Bonanza Collection

Ruby Lane

Ruby Plaza Connection

eCRATER Connection

Go Antiques.com

Tias.com Connection

Odds and Ends

Antique Links




Antique Basics 101

Book Nook

Pottery Repair

Care And Repair

Caring For Silver

Welcome Center

Retro Angel Network


On The Lighter Side

Coffee Klatch Scmooze  

The Good Old Days

American Pickers

Guess What This Is

I Need A Friend to Go Antiquing With

Pawn Stars Fan Club


Joanie Loves Tchotchkes

Crazy About My Collection

T.V. Shows About Antiques

Computer Kvetching & Stretching



Favorite Antique Shops

Antiquing Chicago Style

Catskill Mountain Collectibles "Borscht Belt Experience'

New England Antiquing

Toronto Antiques

I Antique On The Road

Traveling With Dogs

 American Diner Collectibles, Memorabilia, Travel



© 2015   Created by C. Dianne Zweig

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service