How to Clean a Thomas Kinkade Painting

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Things You'll Need

  • Large sheet of paper or several sheets of newspaper

  • Camera

  • Rubber gloves

  • Large cotton swabs

  • Paint neutralizer

  • Emulsion cleaner

  • Varnish cleaner

  • Covered trash can

  • Gloss varnish

  • Cotton cloth

Thomas Kinkade is one of the most well known and prolific American painters living today. His work can be seen hanging in homes, churches and galleries across the country. His deeply spiritual background emanates from his work and his subtle use of color and light brings dimension to the depictions of rural life he creates. Proper cleaning of a Thomas Kinkade painting will ensure that the work remains vibrant and maintains its value for years to come.


Step 1

Set the painting face up onto a large sheet of paper or newspaper. Wear gloves during the procedure to ensure that no chemicals harm your skin. Take a picture of your painting, if desired. This will help keep an accurate record of the cleaning process and the overall health of the painting.


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Step 2

Soak the tip of a piece of cotton cloth into paint neutralizer. The neutralizer will help prevent any of the other chemicals that will be used to damage the paint on the canvas.

Step 3

Gently apply the neutralizer to the painting beginning either of the top corners. Do not press the cloth too hard into the canvas because this could cause it to tear or stretch.


Step 4

Soak a larger cotton swab in emulsion cleaner and soak another in varnish cleaner.

Step 5

Clean the upper right corner of the painting with the emulsion cleaner, which is intended to remove dirt and smoke stains.


Step 6

Clean the upper left corner of the painting with varnish remover, which is intended to remove any yellow stains on the painting. For many restorations, only one of these products is necessary and testing each will determine whether emulsion cleaner or varnish cleaner is appropriate for your cleaning project.


Step 7

Soak a larger cotton swab with whichever product will work best for your particular Thomas Kinkade painting. Beginning at one of the lower corners, gently rub the product onto the painting. Check the cotton swab periodically to make sure that all you are removing is the dirt or yellow stains, not the paint.


Step 8

Continue to clean the rest of the painting. Avoid using the same cotton swab for the entire piece. After the product on one swab has been completely used up, discard it into a covered garbage can and use a new swab.

Step 9

Apply a gloss varnish onto the entire painting with a cotton cloth. This will help preserve the integrity of the piece.

Step 10

Take another picture of the painting, if desired.


Place a piece of cardboard or a large linoleum square under the paper and canvas. This more pliable surface will help you keep from pressing too hard onto the piece, which could cause damage. Clean the painting in a well-ventilated area.


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