How to Clean the Icon with Metal Cover

How to Clean the Icon with a Metal Cover?

An icon is a must-have cult attribute in every Orthodox home. But how to take care of such a valuable collection at home? How to clean the icon with a metal cover?

Most people usually don`t care much about appropriate temperature and humidity levels at home, place the icon corner close to heaters, and light candles next to the icons. However, all these factors adversely affect the color layer, icon board, and icon cover.

How to clean the icon with a metal cover?

A metal cover (oklad) can be made from brass, tin, or silver; it can be gold- or silver-plated. Since each material has its own specifics, it is always better to use the services of an experienced icon restorer if you want to avoid the bad consequences of DIY restoration. Don`t try to clean the icon by yourself, because you can further damage it. The professional, in their turn, can choose the right chemical reagents and restoration techniques to do everything properly.

The only thing you can do at home is clean the icon from dust and wax, provided that the icon is in a good condition. If the color layer is damaged or the icon board is deformed, cover removal for cleaning will make the situation worse. For this reason, any restoration works should be conducted by specialists only.

If the icon is in good condition, the cover can be removed using pliers (for nails on the ends of the icon) and pincers (for the nail on the front side). If the oklad consists of several parts and separately attached halos, you must remove them first. The dismantled cover is placed on a piece of a soft cloth. All actions should be done with great caution.

Cleaning from the dust, wax, and soot

To clean a metal cover, it is recommended using a synthetic brush with tough bristles. Wax can be removed with turpentine or pinene. You should put a piece of the cotton wool wound on a wooden skewer into the solution, press it, and then wet the wax with it. The wax will become soft in 10-20 minutes, which will allow you to remove it with a plastic trowel.

Blackened silver icons and oklads can be cleaned with special polish for silver items because it doesn`t contain abrasive components such as soda, sand, or toothpaste.

For correct icon cleaning, it is always better to seek the assistance of a professional restorer. However, if you decide to clean the icon by yourself at home, remember the above recommendations and be very careful.