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.
That’s it, you’re done. Feel free to hang it anywhere your little heart desires.
BEFORE & AFTER