How to Clean Gilded Picture Frames without Damage

Framer Applying Gold Leaf

A gilded picture frame, also called a gold leaf picture frame, is the result of applying a thin layer of gold leaf to a wooden picture frame. Sometimes imitation gold is also used on other picture framing materials for a similar look. This decorative technique has been used for centuries and is now applied to give a frame a luxurious look. While the trend itself has stood the test of time, these frames may become worn, damaged, or faded as time passes.

How to Clean Gold Leaf Picture Frames

If you have a gold leaf frame at home, it may be starting to show its age. At Rosenbaum Framing, we are sharing some tips on how to clean gilded frames safely to get them back to their former glory, so you can display them proudly in your home.


Hire Professionals

Gold leaf cleaning that does not result in any damage is no easy task. There are no substitutes for experts who specialize in gilded frame restoration. When it comes to restoring or cleaning real gold leaf frames, you do not want to risk damage from less experienced hands.


Light Dusting

A gilded frame in good condition may only need a light dusting or touch-up. If you do not take the frame to a professional, be sure to only use a soft bristle brush, feather duster, cotton swab, or lint-free cloth to clean the frame, and do so gently. Using other brushes or too much force could damage the surface. An occasional dusting could help the frame keep its glow.


Avoid Normal Cleaners

When people want to clean gold picture frames more thoroughly, they will often start looking for cleaning products. Regular cleaning products can be damaging to gilded frames. Some gold leaf pieces may flake off, get discolored, or dissolve with contact. Only a professional frame restorer can determine the exact products that will be safe for your gold frame. If the gold leaf is damaged, an expert can apply new gold leaf as well.



Safe Storage

Proper storage is an important part of gilded frame care and can help you avoid having to repair or clean the gold leaf frame as often. If possible, store the frame in a climate-controlled environment, like a warehouse specifically for artwork. If you’re storing the frame at home, keep it out of the sun and avoid a lot of humidity — both can damage the wood of the frame.


At Rosenbaum Framing, we offer much more than custom framing in Boca Raton. Knowing how to clean gilded picture frames without doing any damage takes time, knowledge, and skill. If you’re looking for a place to safely store art framed in gold leaf picture frames, we also offer climate-controlled art storage as well.

Karen Craker

Author: Karen Craker

Since the beginning, art has been Karen Craker's life. She majored in art in college and has worked in interior design for 20 years. A member of the Rosenbaum Framing team for 15 years, Karen can help you find the perfect frame for your custom framing project.