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How To Clean A Metal Photo Print

cleaning a metal photo print

Keeping Your Metal Print Looking It’s Best

If you're reading this article, I’m assuming you’ve already purchased a metal print or had one of your photos printed.

There’s no denying the amazing impact that a high quality image has when printed onto aluminium.

The depth & vibrancy of these prints can be stunning.

So having fingerprints or smudges is going to detract from the clean, crisp appeal of this style of wall art.

So how do you clean metal photo prints? It’s a very simple process requiring a mild detergent or streak free cleaning solution & a clean, lint free or microfibre cloth.

Preventing Dirt & Smudges

Perhaps you haven’t purchased a print yet, but you’re curious as to how to clean it in case the need arises.

As the saying goes “ prevention is better than cure “.

So when you’re unboxing your print, make sure to handle it on the very edges & not let your fingers touch the print face.

If you need to handle it to attach any hanging hardware, use gloves or try handling it using clean, dry & lint free cloths.

And remember if you need to lay the print face down, lay it on a clean, dry lint free cloth or towel.

Not only to prevent dirt, but scratches from any grit that may be present.

Cleaning Solutions You’ll Need

  • It’s usually a better practice to simply use a weak mixture of mild detergent in warm water. As well as fingerprints, it can also remove other dirt & stains such as cigarette smoke & nicotine build up.

  • If that doesn’t do the trick, a streak free glass cleaner is another option. This is perfect for fingerprints & smudges.

  • Another option is a small amount of isopropyl alcohol, which will dry streak free leaving your print looking like new.

Make sure not to use any harsh cleaning products or bleach based solutions.

Types Of Cloth To Use

Simply use a clean, dry lint free cloth or a microfibre cloth.

Stay away from paper towels, tissues or hand towels.

These can not only leave streaks, but also lint behind & you’ll be wiping around in circles forever trying to get a clean finish.

And definitely don’t use anything abrasive like kitchen scourers or steel wool & make sure if you purchase cleaning cloths that they are labelled “ non-abrasive “.

Instructions For Cleaning Your Metal Print

Less can be more .. so lightly dip the cloth into the cleaning solution you’ve chosen, or use a spray bottle to lightly mist the cloth.

Use sparingly at first & avoid applying the cleaning solution directly to the print.

Not that this should cause any harm, it’s just easier to control the amount of solution.

Start from the centre of the print & gently clean outward.

This will push any dirt toward the edge making it easier to remove, plus you're not wiping it around in circles.

Be careful if the print is hanging on the wall so that you don’t accidentally knock it off!

The last thing you want is to put a dint in it or damage it in any way.

If you’d rather be safe than sorry, remove it from the wall for cleaning & handle by the edges when hanging it back up.

Tips So Your Metal Print Stays Clean

Once you’ve got your print smudge & fingerprint free, they’re a pretty maintenance free piece of artwork.

Give them a regular dusting, just as you would other items throughout your home.

If there’s smokers in the house, the nicotine staining can build up over time.

So it’s best to wipe clean on a monthly basis so as to prevent any build up that may be harder to remove further down the track.

This also applies to prints that are in rooms with wood burners or a fireplace.

Smoke can eventually build up over time.

Because metal prints are so durable, they’re ideal for undercover outdoor entertaining areas, garages & man caves.


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Providing they aren’t in direct sunlight or exposed to the weather, they will last for years.

But be aware that BBQ & smokers can create a build of grease over time.

So again, regular cleaning is easier than waiting until you notice the grease.

Diesel or exhaust fume build up is something to be aware of too if your print is in a workshop or garage.

Being outdoors, more regular dusting will probably be required too.

Final Thoughts

As well as looking amazing, metal photo prints are also rated as archival.

The print lab that fulfils my orders, uses archival inks that are rated to last 75 years.

Of course, like any product or photo print, if you're exposing it to direct sunlight & displaying it in less than ideal conditions, then you will shorten this lifespan accordingly.

Keeping your metal print clean is easy & simple & will contribute to having an artwork that will last decades.

I hope this article has answered any questions you may have had about cleaning your metal photo print.

If you're curious to learn more about this print medium, please check out my comprehensive guide to metal prints.

If you’ve found value in this article, remember . sharing is caring.. Thanks.


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