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.
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.