4 ways to protect your valuables from dust and light

July 29, 2015

Collectors of all stripes strive to keep their treasured works in top condition. Protection from dust and light is a big part of this.

4 ways to protect your valuables from dust and light

1. Condition is everything

  • Regardless of whether you collect comics or corn huskers, the monetary value of your collection will ultimately be determined by its overall condition.
  • The single best step you can take toward protecting any collection is to provide proper storage conditions, which in part translates to avoiding spaces prone to excessive light or dust. (Moisture and heat are your two other major concerns. You also want avoid improper handling or using heavily-trafficked areas for display.)

2. Fight indoor pollution

  • Dust and light are the enemies of all precious possessions. Fortunately, you can significantly reduce the amount of dust around your home by regularly cleaning or replacing the filters in your heating and air-conditioning units.
  • Keep exposure to sunlight to a minimum wherever valuable objects are stored. The sun's ultraviolet rays are particularly harmful to most valuable items — especially paintings, glassware, textiles, and paper items — and should be avoided at all costs.
  • If valuables need to be kept in a bright room, use window shades or drapes to filter out as much light as possible.
  • Damage caused by light is both cumulative and irreversible. (Other unseen dangers are posed by the presence of adhesives, wood products, wet paint, and other fume-producing chemicals — all of which should be banned from the spaces where collections are stored. Also, avoid keeping valuable objects near cooking areas or locations where flames may be in use.)

3. Dust without feathers

  • Avoid using feather dusters to clean paintings, wood carvings, glassware, and other antiques.
  • The feathers can catch in small crevices and result in breakage, or they can dislodge delicate pieces or fragments of paint.
  • Use a soft paintbrush or cleaning cloth instead.

4. Tape up your brush

If you use a soft-bristled paintbrush to dust off your valuables, put a couple of layers of masking tape around the brush's metal ferrule to avoid putting any accidental dents or scratches in your valuables while you are dusting.

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