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How to remove dust from oil paintings

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Have you ever asked yourself how to remove that tedious dust that accumulates undauted between one and the other painting session? I guess yes,everyone who paints with oil colours probably tried in all ways to get rid of dust(without success) that sticks like glue to the fresh colour. You tried everything to avoid painting over a layer of colour full of irritating hairs and seemingly invincible and perhaps you think that there is nothing to do to overcome this hateful issue. No worries you lucky to find this place because after reading carefully this post the problem about dust over colour will be just a bad memory!     

Nature,as always,comes to help providing us the solution to the problem and it’s just with a scientific approach with attemps and experience that we come to understand certain solutions to problems that seem without solutions. You can rest assured because you won’t need to spend important sums by buying useless modern concoctions that promise you miracles,but then in reality do not work at all. You just need to have at home some vegetables to defeat dust,no i’m not joking and i’m not crazy,i swear! Who does not have at home some potatoes and onions? I guess everyone or so. Well because these two noble vegetables will help you to get rid of dust in no time. I don’t want to take credit for this because these remedies are really ancient and they were discovered and used largely by Flemish painters so i would like to clarify that it wasn’t me to discover these amazing features about potatoes and onions.

Well,saying that,now let’s see how to use potatoes and onions over a oil painting because you must use them in a little different way,but equally useful. Let’s start to understand how to use potatoes to remove dust from paintings and then you’ll be able to continue to paint without problem. 


First of all i recommend you to use only fresh potatoes with white paste because they flow more easily on painting surface being less grainy, then another extremely important thing is to have the foresight to cut potatoes into thin slices(but not much) and preferably small(but not much) as you can see in the photo below:

After cutting potato into thin slices pass it carefully with a rotating movement over the surface to treat and let it soak for at least five minutes. You will notice that potato juice was partly absorbed by canvas incorporating within itself all dust present on the treated surface. The next and final operation consist in taking a chamois cloth( you will find it in any supermarket)moistened with a little water and gentle pass it over the treated surface with slices potato in order to remove its juice with all dust contained in it. Thank to the starch conteined in the  potato juice even stubborn dust will come off  from colour so that you can start painting again without problems  of unwanted hairs! Now that we have learned to use in the right way potatoes to remove dust,let’s see the second precious ally,that is onion!


Onion is an ally more powerful than potato since its magic juice must not be removed from painting and then i will explain you why, but first thing first be sure to cut onion(preferably white) into slices as you see in photo below:

After cutting it more or less as in the photo,take a slice and gently pass it on painting with the same rotary movement used with potato slice,with the substantial difference that onion juice must be left on painting,NEVER REMOVE IT,in any case,don’t forget it! Now you’re probably wondering how come you need to leave onion juice,which incidentally can make you cry(sniff),indeed every time i use it i feel touched!

Onion juice must be left on painting since is awesome because acts as the glue between different layers of colours and gives a perfect grip between dry colour and the fresh one,in other words,a wonder of Nature. Onion juice is more effective to remove even seemingly invincible dust,and for this reason,you no need a chamois cloth to complete the task.

Before ending, it would be another important help that onion can gives to artists that are curious about experiments. If glazes are difficult for you,(in fact they are not easy to paint),you can use outstanding grip that onion juice can gives to veil of colour which you can use for better “glazes”.It can indeed to make easier and efficient so much that you can really achieve perfect glazes,but as all things in life it takes time and practise to get satisfactory results!

Well,hoping that this post can be useful to readers,i conclude wishing you,as always, good paint!    

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