Clean oil paint painting House

Lisa H. emailed asking for some advice on how to clean an oil painting she recently found at a thrift store.

Above is an example of a filthy painting I just pulled out of my garage. Since I buy so many paintings at thrift stores, I use a little trick that gets years of grime off easily and quickly. The secret?

Bread! Doughy white bread to be exact.

Well, we didn’t have any white bread laying around except for this old bagel, which if you hate carbs would count as evil evil bread. What you need is the interior surface of the bread exposed. Either get a precut loaf of bread or cut something in half. Just get to the squishy white part.

Rub the soft side all over the painting. Don’t push hard, just gently run the bread all over the surface. The bread will pick up all the grime and grossness like a sponge.

Once your bread is filthy, toast it up and slap some jam on it. Or throw it away. That’s your call.

Use an extra clean piece of bread to do the final gentle rub down and your grime should be gone.

The grime may be gone but there will be residual bread crumbs all over the place. I use a clean soft bristle paint brush to wipe them all off and get rid of any remaining gunk.

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Jack Richeson & Co., Inc. Jack Richeson Shiva Oil Paint Stick, Iridescent Colors, Set of 12
Art and Craft Supply (Jack Richeson & Co., Inc.)
  • Manufactured in the USA
  • No offensive odor, rich creamy buttery consistency; easy clean up : soap, water, baby wipes
  • Compatible with other oil paints and mediums
  • Most Colors Dry Within 24 Hours
  • Perfect for underpainting, fabric arts, craft projects, stenciling

Columbia MO Painters: Website Available Now for Painting Contractors  —
The website can be expanded or modified easily to suit the needs of a local residential or commercial painting company.

Paint Scentsations Paint Scentsations 102-01 Crisp and Clean with 1-Ounce Packet
Home Improvement (Paint Scentsations)
  • Paint Sensations allows you to add a refreshing fragrance to any painting project
  • May be used in any latex or oil-based paints
  • Will not affect the paint s color, sheen, durability or application
  • For best results, use in primer and top coat
General Pencil General Pencil The Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver Tub, 24-Ounce
Art and Craft Supply (General Pencil)
  • Simple one-step total care process
  • It works on oils; acrylics; watercolors; varnishes; glazes and most synthetic finishes
  • Contains a 24oz tub of brush cleaner
Royal & Langnickel Royal & Langnickel Disposable Palette Paper 9x12" 40 Sheets/Pad-For Acrylic & Oil
Home (Royal & Langnickel)
  • Poly-coated paper for use as a paint mixing palette
  • Use pad for acrylic and oil
  • Will not soak through
  • Handy and disposable
  • Contains 40 sheets
Paint Sundries Solutions Trimaco 47290 72-Inch by 90-Feet Trimaco Premium Hand Masking Film
Home Improvement (Paint Sundries Solutions)
  • Use to protect surfaces from paint drips, overspary and dust
  • For use on interior or exterior products with most type a oil or latex paint
  • Makes painting easier, cleaner and faster
  • Unique flake resistant formula allows for easy re-coat and clean up
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