It’s rare to visit someone’s home and find that they have nothing on the walls. Though minimalism was big in the 90s – and though the clean lines of Scandi furniture are still popular – interior design in the modern age has a lot to do with warmth, vibrancy and vintage detailing. Hence the popularity of cute picture frames, eye-catching poster prints and feature walls.
If you’re someone who likes to decorate their walls with family photos, posters and artworks, then you’ll probably consider yourself a picture frame aficionado; someone, in other words, who would rather shell out £20 for a quality A5 picture frame than a piece of clothing. The question is: are you doing enough to take care of all those lovely frames? Ask the experts and you’ll discover that it’s not as simple as dusting them once every six months.
Adapting your Cleaning Routine
Most of us have an attitude towards cleaning whereby top-priority jobs get done regularly, and low-priority jobs get pushed back and done every few months. While the washing up and laundry will need to be done every few days, things like dusting and cleaning surfaces can wait…right?
While no real harm can come from forgetting to dust regularly, you should be aware that dust builds up quicker than you might think – and a visible layer of grime on a picture frame, or indeed any surface, looks very unappealing.
Try to make dusting part of your cleaning routine, doing it at least once a week, even if there doesn’t appear to be a huge build-up of dust and dirt. You can use a feather duster, a cloth, or (whilst being very careful) the duster attachment on your vacuum cleaner. If you've found that the dust has built up, gently wet a soft, clean cloth and wipe away the worst areas, taking care around any exposed artwork.
How to Clean Glazing
The second aspect of keeping frames well maintained is cleaning the glazing. At easyFrame, all our picture frames are glazed with quality acrylic or plexiglass. We have found that these materials are far superior to glass – they offer better UV protection and higher light transmission, and they’re also less easily broken.
If you own picture frames with acrylic or plexiglass glazing you should use a specific type of cleaning solution that is suitable for plastic. Traditional glass frames, on the other hand, will require a standard glass cleaner.
Of course, specific cleaners don’t necessarily have to be bought at the supermarket – you can make do with some gentle soap and water, and a microfibre cloth to dry and polish.
One key thing to remember when cleaning glazing is that spraying solution directly onto the surface isn’t advised, as it could get onto the frame; instead, spray the solution onto a clean cloth and then apply the cloth to the glazing.
How to Clean Different Frame Materials
Different picture frame materials require different cleaning techniques. The first step in keeping them clean, as explained previously, is regular dusting. However, cleaning and polishing will also be appropriate at times.
Wooden frames can be cleaned with wooden furniture polish. Apply the polish to a clean cloth and rub it into the frame, taking care not to get any of the polish on the glazing. If the wood is carved into an ornate design, use a toothbrush to gently brush away dust and dirt from the nooks and crannies.
For metal frames, your cleaning routine can be a little simpler. A clean, damp cloth can be used for wiping, and some gentle soap can be added if there are any stubborn dirt stains or marks. Use a microfibre cloth for polishing once you’ve finished. Plastic frames can be cleaned in a similar manner, although a plastic cleaner (like the one you would used with acrylic glazing) is advised.
If you’re lucky enough to own any gilded frames (i.e. those which have been coated in real gold leaf) you have to be very careful about cleaning them. Even gentle dusting can dislodge metal leaf, so it’s advised that you don’t attempt cleaning or dusting on a regular basis. If your frame is very dirty or damaged, consult a conservation expert.
Picture Frame Positioning
Cleaning issues aside, one of the best ways you can take care of your picture frames and their precious contents is to be mindful about where you place them. Hanging something in direct sunlight can cause damage to the artwork or image – and in some cases, even the frame itself.
You should not hang frames above radiators or fireplaces, as heat and humidity can cause damage to the image inside. You should also make sure that your frame is hung appropriately, relative to its size and weight. Larger frames require more support and if they are not hung correctly, they risk falling off the wall. This can damage the image or artwork within, break the frame, and smash the glazing all in one fell swoop!
About once a year, you should take your frames off the wall and make sure they are still hanging safely. Check that hooks are still attached securely, and that any picture cords have not frayed or weakened. Canvas pictures may need to be professionally re-stretched, and the backs of frames may need to be re-taped.
Taking all your frames off the walls is also a good opportunity to consider repainting, wallpapering, and/or repositioning your artworks and images. You may even decide to swap out the image in your favourite picture frame for something else.
Picture Framing with easyFrame
If you’re searching for the perfect frame to add to your collection, look no further than easyFrame. We can accommodate almost any style of image or artwork – from photographic prints to three-dimensional artworks.
Best of all, our frames can be customised to make sure they fit your exact requirements. We can tailor the size of the frame and the apertures, and alter the mount, frame colour and finish to suit your needs perfectly. To find out more, head to our Picture Frames & Mounts page.