Old 10-19-2009, 05:41 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Alaska
Posts: 1,282
Cleaning an Acrylic Painting

How do you clean smoke damage from a fire off an acrylic paining?
Old 10-20-2009, 07:23 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 1,618
(Former Conservator here)

If its valuable, or otherwise special to you, you don't try to clean it. Almost anything you do will damage the paint or pigment. Take it to an expert, and bring money.

If its "just for pretty" or otherwise of more mundane importance to you, then you can try this (At your own risk):
1) Art gum eraser very gently rolled over surface
2) Gently and very slowly, vacuum the surface with a soft hair uphostry brush, use another soft brush to gently sweep the soot/dirt towards vacuun. Be slow and meticulous. A 6"X6" square should only take you an hour or so.
3) Slow patient work with plain old bottled water(No chlorine) and a cotton swab. No hard scrubbing, gentle strokes only
4) Anionic Soap, very diluted (20-1) in water (ZERO, ie) as a last resort - used with cotton swab, as above. Be sure to rinse with clean water before area dries.

Older acrylics, from before the mid seventies, are beginning to break down and are very suseptable to damage from both the mechanical stresses, and moisture involved with cleaning. Once that soot gets wet, it has to come off, it will help to form carbolic acids and such which will fade the pigments, so work only on areas you can complete before it dries.

Good luck,

Last edited by Full Metal Lotus; 10-20-2009 at 07:27 AM. Reason: clarity
Old 10-20-2009, 10:37 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Alaska
Posts: 1,282

It is a 2000.00 painting and only a year old. The thing is my wife painted it and the owner wants help claaning it aftera house fire so if we fuck it up she can touch it up and all will be good. She is super csscessful at selling paintings and we occasionally wipe one down with a clean wet cloth but this is different,

Thanks for your time.

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