How should I clean an old oil painting that’s been exposed to cigarette smoke for years? I’ve already tried using a potato.
Don’t use a potato! This is not an effective cleaning method and it will leave undesirable residues on the surface. It’s best to use your own saliva on a cotton bud; roll the cotton bud carefully over the surface. However, if the oil painting doesn’t have a protective layer of varnish or if the paint itself is cracked, you will risk damaging the layers of paint. In this case, you should take the painting to a conservator.
Kind regards from Laura, paintings conservator
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