Ways To Clean An Acrylic Painting Without Damaging It: 2024 Guidebook

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When you think about an artist, what do you think their greatest possession is?

Definitely their artwork and art supplies; they do love them a little extra!

Therefore, they keep up their work with the utmost care and love. 

But it’s next to impossible to preserve art and protect its beauty for a longer time without taking the necessary precautions. 

Which is why seeing dust accumulate on the surface of art overwhelms and upsets artists.

If you are someone who creates or collects acrylic paintings, then you must be aware of how dust and dirt make an artwork look dull and unpleasant.

What can be done to prevent it?

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You can either seek professional help or follow the below-mentioned steps on how to clean an acrylic painting.

These research-backed ways help you clean your acrylic painting and bring back its lost shine and wow factor. 

Signs that Your Acrylic Painting Needs a Cleanup

a faded acrylic painting that has turned yellow over time
Image Source: The Social Easel

Every time a painting is touched, the risk of it getting damaged increases.

Family painting from different photos

But at a point, it becomes necessary to clean your acrylic paintings, as they are prone to catching dust a bit more.

Acrylic paints are indeed tricky to work with, especially in heat.

So, what happens when the heat or temperature around them increases?

Well, they loosen, making art susceptible to dirt and uneven cracks on its surface.

That’s why  cleaning an acrylic painting is so important to increase its shelf life and maintain it.

Now you might be wondering, when is the right time to clean your acrylic painting?

There are specific signs that you need to look for while cleaning an acrylic painting, so here they are:

  • You start seeing dust on the surface of the acrylic painting
  • Uneven cracks start to form on the surface
  • The painting’s colors start turning pale or yellowish
  • The protective layer or varnish layer starts coming off.

The above mentioned are some signs that you need to look for before cleaning an oil painting.

Suggested Read: Watercolor Tips

Ways to Clean an Acrylic Painting (At Home)

Applying a layer of varnish with a brush
Image Source: WikiHow

Professional help is good but it often stresses out our bank accounts and leaves us wondering what can be done from our end to prevent our painting.

Here are some effective at home ways in which you can clean an acrylic painting:

Eliminating Dust from an Acrylic Painting

When a painting is hung out perfectly in living room or on your balcony, you can see a layer of dust accumulating over it   with time.,

To remove that, we won’t suggest you wash the painting and clean it daily, instead we will suggest that you take a dry, soft cloth and wipe the painting.

Now you need to be careful as you don’t have to roughly wipe it as it may chip the paint off.

You can also use a soft bristle brush to dust off the layer of dirt from on top of the acrylic painting.

PS:- Use a soft cotton cloth and not a fiber cloth. 

Using soap and water to clean the artwork

If you have experienced that your painting has started to soil and get a bit off color, then soap and water are there for your rescue.

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Take a bowl of cold water and mix a small amount of mild soap in it. 

Mix them well, use a soft muslin like cloth to dampen it in the mixture and wipe it gently over the surface of your acrylic painting.

PS:- Make sure that the mixture is not too soapy and is not leaving any lather behind.

Also Read: How to clean an Oil Painting

Do It The Professional’s Way

Restoring an old acrylic painting
Image Source: Freepik

No matter what the hacks are and how effective they are, you will seek help from professionals when it comes to learning   how to clean an acrylic painting.

If you notice an alarming sign, then it’s time to seek an expert’s advice. 

It’ll turn out to be the best decision, as it may prevent you from putting your art in jeopardy. Though it costs you some money, it is still worth doing. 

Challenges That You Might Face While Cleaning

A woman pointing out towards an acrylic painting.
Image Source: Freepik, compiled by PortraitFlip

Dealing with paintings is a task in itself and can often be very irritating and time consuming as well.

But if you are dedicated to scraping the dirt off your acrylic painting, then no one can stop you!

Amid the enthusiasm, you have to ensure that you do not overlook the possible challenges that you might have to face.

Now, when you stand there and think of how to clean an acrylic painting, hit pause and think about the challenges you will face.

First things first, you will be challenged by the color itself.

When you grab your towel to wash off the painting, it might just start chipping or get all flowy.

In that situation, you really don’t have to worry and just in time, you can press it with a brush and wait for the paint to dry.

When the painting sealant or varnish starts chipping, the canvas gets severely affected so, keep an eye on that as well.

Suggested Read: Watercolor Vs. Acrylic Paints

How to Prevent Your Acrylic Painting In Advance?

Prevention is better than cure and that statement works in every aspect of life.

Till now, we have read how to clean an acrylic painting, but what we shall also keep in mind is how we can prevent acrylic painting in advance.

So, here are some ways: 

  • Dust your painting regularly or frequently to prevent formation of dust.
  • Coat it with a good quality varnish or acrylic polymer varnish, like Liquitex
  • If you have a painting that you keep in your wardrobe or safely in a box, then make sure to cover it with bubble wrap or muslin cloth.
  • Always keep the painting in a cool, dry place where it won’t be in direct contact with sunlight. 

Check out this video to learn more about how to prevent your acrylic painting:

Video Credit:- Goodness in you


Acquiring the task of oil painting cleaning teaches you various things. 

Things like the kind of colors used in the artwork, various methods and cleaners for oil painting, and so forth. 

Canvas paintings made with acrylic require laborious cleaning. 

But with each attempt, you learn more about the process.

You can preserve your artwork’s longevity by using the previously shared method to get rid of dust, grime, and other impurities.

So, I hope you enjoyed reading the blog and will also try to get your hands on an acrylic painting and enjoy the process of how to clean an acrylic painting.


Q1. What is the safest way to clean an acrylic painting?

Ans: The safest way to clean an acrylic painting is to use a mild liquid soap and a damp washcloth to gently rub the surface of the acrylic painting.

Q2. Name five liquids that are well-known for cleaning acrylic paintings.

Ans: The top 5 liquid cleaners that are used to clean acrylic paintings are: ammonia solution, rubbing alcohol, denatured alcohol, acetone and lacquer thinner.

Q3. Is it safe to use vinegar to clean an acrylic painting?

Ans: Vinegar can be used to clean an acrylic painting but you need to be cautious as it has a higher water concentration, which can lead to permanent stains on the canvas.

Q4. Can we clean an acrylic painting by ourselves at home?

Ans: Yes, you can clean an acrylic painting by yourself at home. You just need to be aware of the guidelines that come with handling and managing the acrylic paint and you are good to go.

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