How to Keep Your Picture Frames Looking Great

Published: 20th October 2009
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Picture frames help to protect your family's most precious photo memories so help keep them looking great by properly caring for them. Learn how to care for your photos and picture frames by following these two simple steps.

Reproduce Your One-of-a-Kind Photographs

This may be the most important tip you will ever receive. Think of your wedding photo on the mantel in its beautiful sterling silver picture frame. What if something should happen to it? If that is the only picture you have, your wedding day photo will be lost. Although today's technology and computer stored images are great, there is no better way of protecting your photos then making extra printed copies of them.

Old family photos may be your only reminder of family members. Protect your photos by having them professionally duplicated by a restoration photographer who uses high quality paper and ink that's designed to last. This not only protects them from being misplaced but allows you to share your favorite photos with friends and family. Nowadays important pictures may be stored on a disc, but you should consider making an extra copy of any picture you wouldn't want to lose, just in case the disc gets damaged. It's best to choose a safe, dry place for your photos and remember to never store them in the same location as the copies. Consider storing them at a family member's house so both sets of image aren't in the same location. You may also want to consider a safe deposit box so you will feel secure in knowing your pictures are safe.

Clean Your Frames Regularly

Just like every item in your home, frames collect dust and need to be cleaned regularly. Dust that accumulates on your frame will eventually work its way inside the picture frame leaving the frame and picture looking dirty.

The easiest way to keep your frame looking good is by regularly dusting it with a damp cloth. If your picture frame needs more than a quick surface dusting, then you'll want to remove the glass and photo for a more thorough cleaning. You can clean the picture frame inside and out by removing the frame backing. Anytime you place a picture frame face down, always lay it on a thick towel to avoid damaging the glass or scratching the surface of the frame.

Once the picture and glass have been removed from the frame, thoroughly clean the glass. Use a soft cloth to clean the glass instead of paper towels, which can leave an acid residue that over time can damage your picture.

Depending upon what your picture frame is made out of will determine the best way to clean it. Wood frames come in mainly two types of finishes- unfinished and finished.

For wood frames, with a rough or unfinished surface where the bare wood is exposed you should be very careful when cleaning and never use water or cleaner as this could stain the frame. For unfinished wood frames, the safest way is to vacuum them. Be careful of using a dry cloth on an unfinished wood frame as it could leave tiny pieces of the cloth behind.

For finished frames that have a lacquer or furniture-like finish, you can use a damp cloth or dust cleaner. Make sure to never leave the picture in place while cleaning your picture frame with any kind of cleaner or liquid. This will avoid any chance of damaging your picture.

For metal picture frames, such as aluminum, steel, silver plated frames, pewter or sterling silver frames, they only require a damp towel to wipe it down. That's because most new metal frames either don't tarnish or they're coated with a lacquer coating that prevents tarnishing. For the majority of these frames its best just using a damp cloth moistened with water to keep them clean because using a cleaner could actually damage your metal frame by removing the finish or lacquer.

If you do have a badly tarnished frame, then you'll want to use a high quality metal or silver cleaner. Generally for older solid pewter frames or sterling silver frames that are tarnished, a silver cleaner should do the trick to remove the tarnish. Be sure to carefully follow the directions on the bottle. You should always test a small portion of the frame, where it can't be seen, to make sure the cleaner won't damage your picture frame. Even if you have a pewter, silver plated or sterling silver picture frame, only use a silver cleaner if the frame is tarnished because most new silver frames have a lacquer coating that helps them keep their beautiful silver finish.

If you've taken apart your picture frame to clean, make sure your frame and glass are completely dry. Any moisture in the frame or on the glass can damage your picture so you want to be certain it's had time to dry before putting it back.

By following these simple steps, you can protect your picture frame and keep it looking great for years.


Autumn Lockwood is a writer for and is avid hiker and photographer. Your Picture Frames offers a large selection of quality picture frames in a wide variety of styles and colors so you'll always find exactly what you want. Shop online anytime and see our selection of picture frames including our beautiful white picture frames.

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