How to Clean Gold Leaf

How to Clean Gold Leaf. Gold leaf - also known as "gilding" - has been used throughout history to decorate a variety of items, from furniture to books to picture frames. Gold leaf can be quite unstable, so handle with care, especially if you are dealing with an antique.

Step 1

Check the condition of the item you wish to clean. If the gilded finish is flaking or cracking, do not attempt to clean it. A professional conservator should be consulted. (Look in the Yellow Pages under Antiques--Restoration and Preservation.)

Step 2

Use a very soft natural brush, a feather duster or soft cloth to gently dust or wipe the item. Do not rub. Since most gold leaf has a sealant over it, this is often all that is needed.

Step 3

Wash china with gold leaf by hand, using a mild dish detergent.

Step 4

Clean books with gold leaf by gently dusting with a soft cloth.

Step 5

Use a chamois cloth lightly moistened with denatured alcohol to clean gilded glass. Wipe carefully and buff dry with a soft, dry cloth.