How to Protect and Preserve Valuable Oil Paintings

Oil paintings are marvellous and aesthetically pleasing. They have a different texture than acrylic paintings, which gives them quite a unique and bold look. But preserving the beauty of oil paintings is a task that requires care and effort. Whether you are an oil painter yourself, or a buyer who has purchased an expensive oil painting, you must take some important measures to protect and preserve the paintings.

As a buyer, you’d want to display the paintings in your home. If you’re a painter yourself, you will have to store them safely until they are sold or exhibited at a gallery. In both these cases, you need to be aware of different methods of keeping your paintings safe and preserved so that they look as good as new even after a long time.

So here are three things you must follow to protect your valuable oil paintings.


Of course, it’s common knowledge that all types of paintings must be dusted from time to time. But it’s not a matter of just picking a brush or cloth and wiping the dust off paintings. There are a few guidelines for dusting your oil paintings, such as:

  • Keep your painting slanted while brushing or wiping out so that the dust falls. Don’t lay it down on a flat surface.
  • Use a soft, artist’s brush or a microfiber cloth to dust the paintings. These are smooth and don’t create any static or friction on the surface of the painting. Never use the normal dusters or regular cloths as they can leave scratches or even cause some of the painting to be chipped off due to roughness and friction.
  • Use gentle motion to swipe off the dust using as less force as possible because the surface of oil paintings is more delicate compared to acrylic ones.

Storing the Paintings

If you are not displaying your oil paintings but storing them for some time, then you need to follow these points:

  • Never wrap your paintings in air-tight material. That will trap the moisture inside and ruin the paintings. Always wrap it with a porous material such as tissue paper
  • Never store your paintings in rooms or areas where there might be bugs, insects, or rodents. Attics, basement, garage, and old storage rooms are some of the worst places to store valuable oil paintings.
  • Keep oil paintings away from children and pets.
  • Do not stack multiple oil paintings on top of each other. It will exert pressure on the frame and canvas of the painting.

Keep Away from Water and Moisture

Water, humidity, and moisture are some of the worst enemies of oil paintings. The kitchen and bathroom are areas in your home where moisture builds up easily. So, keep your paintings away from the areas in your house that are close to the kitchen and bathroom.

Another important thing is to regularly monitor the plumbing of the area where your paintings are stored or displayed, be it your home or a studio.

A single drop of water can ruin your painting in a matter of seconds. So you must make sure that there are no faulty, leaking pipes in your property. Get in touch with a certified contractor for residential plumbing repair to have your pipelines inspected from time to time, preferably once every 3 or 4 months.

Don’t Touch the Canvas of the Painting

Our hands are often sweaty, oily, or contain small dust particles. Oily hands can leave fingerprints while sweaty hands can smudge the painting. You may think that your hands are dry and may feel like running your hands through the painting for a bit to admire the beauty. But even the tiniest bit of sweat or oil in your hands can ruin parts of the painting.

So it’s best to admire the beauty of oil paintings visually, and never to touch the canvas. And it’s not just about you; if the painting is displayed at your home, you should also warn others from touching it.

Some Other Ways To Preserve Oil Paintings

There are a few more ways to preserve oil paintings, but they might require professional assistance if you’re not a painter yourself or if you’re a beginner at oil painting. These methods include:

  • Varnishing the painting. If you’re an experienced painter, you will most likely be able to varnish the painting as well. Otherwise, you can hire a professional for varnishing.
  • Restoring the painting if it has suffered some minimal damage. Professional oil painting restorers are experts and repairing small damages to the painting.


Oil paintings are beautiful, valuable, and often expensive. As a painter, your paintings are not just about the money but the hard work you have put in it as it’s your creation after all. As a buyer, the oil paintings you purchase are an asset for you that you have put money on. In either case, you want to preserve your paintings as perfectly as possible, and with the methods, we have listed here in this post will help you to do just that!

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