How to Clean an Icon at Home

How to Clean an Icon at Home?

Religious icons represent a significant value for the Orthodox faithful who keep them at home for prayer purposes. A properly treated sacred piece can serve as a mediator between God and the earthly world for a long time. However, there are some essential aspects to know if you want to preserve your treasures for years to come. For example, do you know how to clean an icon without causing it harm? In this blog post, you will find some useful information that may come in handy.

Useful tips on how to clean an icon at home

If you possess an antique Russian icon or any other holy icon, you likely know that such items gradually become less and less stable under the influence of the external environment. Your icon is no exception. When exposed to such factors as humidity, temperature changes, direct sunlight, and other factors, the surface of the icon can become darker, cracked, or smudged.

It is possible to clean a religious icon at home, and now we are going to tell you how. But! If your shrine is highly valuable, very old, or severely damaged, it is better to hire restoration specialists for this job.

So, how to properly clean an icon?

  • Using a soft brush (squirrel hair brush would be perfect), carefully remove dust and cobwebs from the surface of the icon.
  • By no means clean your icon with a damp cloth and soap. Doing so can easily damage the top layer of paint.
  • If you notice layers of soot on the icon, you can do a light alcohol solution and wipe the affected surface with it. If you see no reaction, stop the procedure and consult the restorer.
  • Gold and silver icons are cleaned with a mixture of baby soap, ammonia, and water. “Soak” your icon for 15 minutes, then rinse it with clean water, and dry with a cotton pad.

In what cases do you need to consult an icon specialist?

If you notice cracks, heavy soot, or fungal damage on the surface of your icon, contact a professional immediately. Besides, silver, gold, and bronze icons with a damaged relief coating can be cleaned by a restorer only.

Please do not try to clean an icon yourself under the circumstances mentioned above.

If you need any assistance, Russian Icon will be happy to offer you a range of necessary services. Our experienced team of icon experts can handle any problem, so please feel free to contact us whenever you need professional help.