Quality framing materials can look great for years, decades, or even generations if they are properly cared for. Most problems arise from improper care and handling. Below are some helpful tips to keep your framed art looking its best well into the future.

When Moving

Make sure your frames are well-wrapped to transport to a new home. Obviously, you will want to protect the front of the frame so it will look beautiful in your new home. In addition, the hangers on the back of frames can scratch whatever they come in contact with if they aren’t covered. If you can put them in boxes, that is ideal, Otherwise bubble wrap will work well as long as you remember not to lean anything against it.


Use a feather duster or a very soft, clean cloth to keep your frames free of dust. Avoid any cleaning products and abrasive towels that may scratch the frame. If something splatters onto a frame, remove it immediately with a soft, barely damp rag. Try not to handle gilded frames unless you are wearing gloves as oil in the skin can leave spots that may discolor with time.


Fabric wrapped liners may be difficult to feather dust. You may actually push the dust into the grain of some fabrics. Instead, try a vacuum with a soft brush attachment or compressed air like you may use to clean a keyboard.


If you have a matted piece that is not yet framed, avoid touching it unless you are wearing gloves. Oil in the skin can leave spots that are difficult to remove. If a spot does appear, try to blot it with a dry cleaning pad.

Once a mat is placed behind glass or acrylic, it is still susceptible to other forms of damage. Ultra-violet light rays can accelerate the fading of many mats. Use conservation grade glass or acrylic to protect the art and mat as much as possible. Excessive moisture and temperature changes can cause water stains, mold and buckling. Inspect your framed art regularly to avoid irreparable damage.


The way you care for the glass covering your framed art may depend on what type of glazing was used. The piece shown here has three types of glass on it, showing you the differences in reflectivity. What you can't see is the difference in UV filtering to protect the art. The "Museum Glass" shown in the middle looks nearly invisible and protects the art, too.

Your framer can provide specific directions for appropriate cleaner or cloths. In general, simply leave the framed piece alone with the exception of periodic cleaning. Feather dusting helps remove dust particles that may land on the glass. You can also use a soft lint-free cloth or newsprint and glass cleaner. Never spray the cleaner on the glass. Instead spray onto the rag and then wipe the glass.

Closely inspect the glass on a regular basis to see if it appears clear on the inside too. Various chemicals in dyes and inks used to make prints and mats can potentially off-gas. This may result in a cloudy residue on the inside of the glass. You can take the piece to your local framer to have it opened up, cleaned and placed pack in the frame.


Acrylic is an alternative you can choose instead of glass. It is much less likely to break and if it does, it won't shatter into hundreds of pieces. The downside can be the ease with which acrylic can be scratched. Avoid cleaning it with abrasive cleaners or abrasive cloths. There are abrasion resistant and UV filtering acrylics available.

The best way to take care for acrylic is:

    feather dusting

    acrylic/plastic cleaner

    soft, non-abrasive cloths

Our best advice is to clean it before it appears to need it. If you have to rub hard to remove particles or smudges, you increase the chance of damaging the finish.