Hand-painted religious icons are sacred objects demanding a great deal of attention. Improper storage can cause the paints to crumble and damage the surface so badly that it will be impossible to salvage the value of the icon even with restoration. Therefore, to ensure your icons will stay in your home for years to come, read our tips on how to store an icon collection properly. Hopefully, they will be helpful!
How to store an icon collection?
1. Keep icons away from heat
Hand-painted icons can easily become damaged if you place them near a heat source. A heater, a stove, a lamp, or another heat-emitting object can dry out the surface of the icons and cause the colors to crack or crumble. Besides, avoid direct sunlight because it can cause the icons to deteriorate.
Such places as your kitchen or bathroom are also not the best choice to store an icon collection. The fact is that soot and high humidity can greatly affect the condition and overall look of your icons. Keep in mind that the optimum temperature for storing religious icons is 20–22°C.
2. Wipe the icon with a soft brush
Icons frequently fall victim to damp cleaning. Under no circumstances, wipe an icon with a wet rag or wash it. Use a dry, soft brush to wipe away the dust from the surface of your icon once a month or less. Thus, you will preserve the original image, without rubbing off the top layer of paint. Besides, never apply oils, varnishes, and cleaning chemicals to the icon, as they may penetrate deeply into the ground and destroy the icon from the inside.
3. Keep the icon in the kiot
Some faithful believe that covering the images with glass is contrary to church dogmas. However, to preserve the good look of an antique icon for a long time and protect it from constant temperature changes, a kiot is the best option, especially if you store an icon collection in your home. But remember that the glass must be at least 3 cm away from the surface of the icon.
4. Do not try to restore icons yourself
It is natural that over time, icons lose their original look, the colors darken, and the images become indistinct. If this happened to you, do not even try to restore the icon yourself. Restoration is a complex process that only professionals can handle. Instead, find and consult a reliable restorer who knows how to make your icon shine again.
If you need expert restoration services or any other help, feel free to contact our dedicated team at Russian Icon!
Originally published at https://russianicon.com on December 30, 2020.