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How To Clean Metal Prints – Signage 101

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Handling or hanging a custom metal photo print can result in unwanted fingerprints or smudges. Keeping a metal print clean and free of smudges, fingerprints, and dirt is important in maintaining the crisp image of the photo. There are a few ways in which you can clean the surface of a metal print without fear of damaging your print in any way – all of which are inexpensive and time friendly.

Let’s walk through your options of how to clean a metal print to get rid of those pesky fingerprints or smudges while not damaging the actual print.

How To Clean Your Metal Print

To properly and safely clean a metal print, use a streak-free cleaning solution and a non-abrasive cloth to remove fingerprints and smudges. Wipe from the middle of the print towards the edge to ensure your metal print is streak and dirt free.

Let’s examine each of the components of cleaning a metal print in a little more detail.

Cleaning Solutions

For a cleaning solution, the most important part of selecting your solution of choice is to use one that will not damage the color nor metal itself. There are several options that accomplish this, as seen below:

  1. Water – Water is a quick and easy solution for cleaning surface dirt from the metal print, but typically leaves streaks or smudges.
  2. Glass cleaner – any streak-free glass cleaner works for cleaning off surface dirt and fingerprints.
  3. Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol – use a small amount of isopropyl alcohol with a non-abrasive cloth to clean fingerprints off of your metal print. The alcohol dries streak free, leaving your print shiny and new looking.

Do not use bleach or heavy duty cleaning solution as they could damage the surface of your print.  

We recommend using Windex to effectively clean the surface of your metal print because of its ability to remove streaks and fingerprints without any hassle.

Cleaning Cloth

When selecting a cloth the most important thing to keep in mind is to choose a cloth that will not smudge the surface of the print or leave dirt particles behind. Microfiber and lint-free cloths are excellent options as they are designed not to leave behind particles. Non-abrasive cloths such as this can be found on Amazon or at your local supermarket. Likewise, ensure there are no small rocks or other material that may be dragged across the surface of the print when cleaning to avoid scratching it.

Avoid using hand towels, paper towels, or tissues to clean the surface of your print; doing so will leave unwanted streaks and lint particles. Though in most cases these common household materials will work but will require a little extra wiping to get rid of of those annoying lint particles. Steel wool and other abrasive cleaning tools are obviously not suitable for metal prints. These abrasive rags will permanently and irreversibly damage the surface of your metal print.

Cleaning Technique

We recommend cleaning your print after hanging or displaying it to remove any fingerprints or smudges that get on it during the hanging process. This way your displayed print will be perfectly clean no matter where you hang or display it.

To clean, lightly dip the non-abrasive cloth into the cleaning solution of your choice (water, isopropyl alcohol, or glass cleaner) or use a spray bottle to very lightly spray the metal print with the solution. Be careful, too much cleaning solution may cause streaks to form! Use the cloth to carefully remove dirt or fingerprints by slowly cleaning outward from the center of the print. This will help push any hard-to-remove dirt toward the edge of the print where it will be easier to remove. If your print is hanging on a wall, make sure to not dislodge it from the wall during cleaning.

If it is easier to clean your print before it is hung or displayed (it almost always is!), handle your print carefully after cleaning to avoid any fingerprints from appearing on the edges. Use non-abrasive cloths to handle the print while moving and hanging it to ensure that it is left pristine for displaying. You can always take the print down, clean it and then re-hang it by handling with a cloth to avoid the few smudges that may occur.

The quality of the metal photo print helps to prevent smudges and fingerprints from being visible but, if needed, cleaning them is incredibly easy, making smudge and fingerprint removal a breeze. There’s no need to worry about smudges ruining the quality of your print, just follow the steps given above and you’ll have your gorgeous print clean in less than a minute!

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