How to Protect Your Art in a Flood

After a hidden, leaking pipe in an upstairs bathroom caused significant water damage to our extra bedroom, it made us think about our art.  Obviously, water and most art do not mix.  We were lucky enough to find an excellent water restoration service in Trenton, New Jersey Disaster Restoration, who quickly demoed and restored the bedroom.  Flooding can be a terrible disaster for families everywhere. It manages to pose some unique challenges for artists, however, and it can affect them in some ways that can be difficult for people who are not artists to understand. Artists will put a huge portion of themselves into their work, which is going to make it very difficult for them to cope with the possibility of their work getting irreparably damaged as a result of a flood that they did not fully prepare for, and floods don’t always give people enough notice. However, when it comes to knowing how to protect your art in a flood, there are certain things that people can do in order to at least minimize these problems.

In the age of digital information, it should be easier than ever before for artists to try to at least back up their work. Artists should try to digitize as much of their artwork as possible at all times, which is going to protect their precious artwork from nearly all disasters. As long as the digitized artwork has been uploaded into the cloud, or at long as it is backed up across different storage devices, the artists in question are always going to manage to have access to it in some form.

Some artists have a lot of emotional attachment to the physical work of art itself, and not just to the digitized copies of it. While it is true that digitized copies can be turned into physical copies, these are going to be new physical copies. The artists who are concerned about protecting the original copies of their work, particularly if they are visual artists and their work is going to use paper or some other perishable surface as the base, then artists are going to need to take some precautions when it comes to storage.

For one thing, it is always a good idea to wrap a given set of art pieces in plastic. Plastic isn’t going to perfectly protect any piece of art or set of art pieces, but it works well as the last line of defense. Any moisture that gets through some of the other barriers will be held back as a result of the plastic.

Some artists store their work in containers that are waterproof or at least water resistant. No container is going to be completely waterproof or water resistant, which is important to remember. However, many of them are at least going to come close enough that the artists who are worried about giving their work as much of a chance as it can get should try to invest in some of these containers.

In some cases, one of the best things that artists can do in order to make sure that they have given their art a good sporting chance is store their art in the right place. Floods are usually only going to affect the floors of homes. While the worst floods are going to fill the entire room, there is only so much that anyone can do in order to protect their possessions in situations like that. Artists can try storing their artwork on the top shelves of bookcases or in similar locations throughout their homes. Artwork that is being kept on the top shelf of a closet is less likely to be damaged than artwork that is being kept on the floor.

Floods are devastating events even for the people who prepare for them effectively. Almost everyone is going to suffer greatly in the wake of a flood for one reason or for another. In some cases, the people who experience severe flooding in their homes are going to have their homes destroyed altogether. In other cases, the flood damage of a house is going to be so severe that it is going to deplete someone’s savings in order to cope with it. However, for a lot of artists, losing their artwork is going to constitute a much worse problem, at least emotionally, or at least a problem that has comparable emotional weight. Artists who go to extra lengths to protect their art can at least enjoy peace of mind.

Clean It: 12 Tips to Clean a Painting, Part 2

Seven: Replace the frame of the painting.

In some cases, the frames of paintings are going to become terrible magnets for dust in practice. As such, people who want to keep their paintings clean in the future are better off just replacing those frames with frames that aren’t going to gather dust anywhere near as easily. Some of these frames may ultimately make the paintings look better as well.

Eight: Clean the dust off of paintings with air.

People use little air sprays to clean their laptop computers. They can use those same air sprays in order to clean their paintings, as long as the paintings aren’t in a terrible state of disrepair. It is hard to reduce the impact more than that.

Nine: Move the painting to another location.

Paintings are kept in particular areas in museums for a reason. Ultraviolet light can damage paintings, and some parts of a given house are going to attract more dust and dirt than others. In some cases, people can keep paintings cleaner just by moving them to locations that aren’t as prone to dust.

Ten: Make certain areas non-smoking areas.

Cigarette smoke can damage the interiors of homes, among other things. Cigarette smoke can also horribly damage paintings. People who have valuable paintings should make sure that the paintings aren’t being exposed to cigarette smoke on a regular basis. They should also avoid keeping paintings in the same room as fireplaces.

Eleven: Linoleum makes a great support for paintings during cleaning sessions.

People shouldn’t just put paintings on tables when they are trying to clean them. If they do that, there is going to be too much pressure on the paintings during the actual cleaning process, which is going to ultimately weaken them on a structural level. Resting paintings on linoleum or a similar surface during cleaning can make all the difference.

Twelve: People should wear surgical gloves while cleaning.

Even if they are not working with any special chemicals during the cleaning process, it is a good idea for people to always wear surgical gloves. They might end up getting some of their sweat or some of the dirt on their hands on the painting during the cleaning process otherwise. The gloves will protect the painting, and they will also protect the hands of the person doing the cleaning.

Clean It: 12 Tips to Clean a Painting, Part 1


Many people are under the impression that they have to hire professionals if they want to clean a painting. Indeed, plenty of art restoration experts more or less make part of their living cleaning paintings or repairing the damage that is associated with dirt and other contaminants. Naturally, people can still clean paintings themselves as long as they know the right tips.

When it comes to cleaning a painting, it is important to choose the right cleaning methods for the right types of paintings. People can also work with art restoration experts in order to get the paintings clean. It is all a matter of knowing when their help is needed and when it isn’t.

One: Damaged paintings should be restored before they’re cleaned.

A lot of people try to fix paintings that have already been severely damaged. In some cases, they are just going to make the damage worse when they do that. In other cases, some of what they think is dirt is actually going to be damage that needs to be fixed. It is much more logical to get the paintings fixed. Since the art restoration experts are going to be able to conduct a lot of the cleaning anyway, it is an efficient system.

Two: Paintings need to be cleaned in a dry way.

Regardless of the type of painting, it is important not to get it wet. When it comes to watercolor paintings, getting the painting wet is actually going to partly dissolve the paint in question, possibly destroying the painting entirely. When it comes to oil paintings, there can be little cracks for the moisture to enter, which is going to cause damage in the long run. There are plenty of dry cleaning methods, and people need to avoid negotiating on that factor.

Three: Art supply stores have art restoration kits.

People don’t always need to go to professionals for this task, even if it is part of the process. Many art supply stores have art restoration kits that people can use when they are trying to clean their artwork. Many of these kits are going to have the sorts of specialized types of equipment that people aren’t going to be able to use if they are just improvising.

Four: Paintings should be cleaned in a horizontal position.

People shouldn’t clean the paintings on the wall while they are still on the wall. Paintings need to be cleaned in a horizontal position. It will be that much easier for them to clean the paintings, and they will be less likely to damage them. Cleaning paintings when they are still on the wall can also be somewhat awkward. It makes much more sense to place them in a horizontal position.

Five: Bread as a cleaning tool.

Many people have managed to use regular plain bread in order to clean paintings. They take the crust off of the bread, and press the bread onto the surfaces of paintings in order to get rid of hair, residues, and dust. Bread is soft enough that it is unlikely to really damage the painting. It is also inexpensive. Bread absorbs almost everything very well, which helps make it a very efficient cleaning tool.

Six: Soft brushes can remove dust.

Many paintings are going to accumulate dust throughout their lifetimes. However, they shouldn’t use rough rags in order to get rid of the dust, even if they might do the same thing when dusting their furniture. Furniture has a layer of varnish usually, and can manage to take that sort of impact. Paintings have fine details that need to be preserved, and people can do that while still removing the dust if they use soft brushes on their paintings.