How To Clean An Old Frame

updated May 8, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Since we haven’t gotten around to hanging any of our artwork in our new apartment, we’re literally tripping over everything. For example, this frame used to hold an antique print–but it fell and broke. After we took it apart and removed the broken glass, we took the opportunity to clean up the very old frame.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

What You Need

Ingredients [OR] Materials
Mild dishwashing soap
White Vinegar
Wood Oil

Soft cloth


1. Wipe any dust and dirt off of your frame with a clean, soft cloth.

2. Next, softly scrub the entire frame with a dry toothbrush, removing more dirt from crevices and again, wipe with cloth.

3. Mix up water and a few drops of mild dish soap in a bowl.

4. Be sure to test a small area on the side of the frame before using water/and/or soap. If your frame reacts well, dunk the toothbrush in the solution and tap on the side of the bowl to release the excess water.

5. Working in small sections, gently scrub the frames surface, making sure to get in those crevices. Bring out the Q-tips if a toothbrush isn’t producing the results you’d like.

6. Continue around the frame until you’ve covered the entire area.

7. Finish with a quick polish of wood oil (we only had Murphy’s Oil on hand, so we used that to give our frame extra shine).

Additional Notes: Our frame wasn’t coming as clean as we would have liked so we also tried white vinegar and Murphy’s Oil. It seemed that the most dirt and grime came off when we started to polish with the Murphy’s oil (but you may have completely different results depending on your frames finish).

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

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(Images: Beth Zeigler)