60$ for THAT? On Cleaning Fairy Tale Wood Plaques

I once seeked advice on cleaning fairy tale wood plaques. Restauration expert Birgit Linnhoff has worked for years on preserving national treasures. Her advice: Don’t clean at all unless with a soft brush to remove dust. No cleaning agents whatsoever. They would do more harm than good in the long run. The best preservation she claimed was the original finish plus the preserving layer which has formed over the years. She told me about bad cleaning trials and severe damage she had had to undo over the decades, consuming both time and money. What about thick layers of dust? Yellow smoke residue? Children’s sticky finger prints? Not even a mild spray and a clean soft cloth? She would have no exceptions. Annoyingly I left what set me back about 60$.

But you know what? In the long run it turned out to be good advice. No more cleaning every other wood plaque. No more sad incidents like the 1930s Hellerkunst beauty that had lost all its lustre after mild cleaning.

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