7 Tips to Clean Old Photos

Did you know that you can clean your old photos with just a little bit of time on your hands? With our simple tips, your old family pictures will look as good as new. Here are some tips to help you restore those precious memories.

✍🏻 Written by Dr. Laura Whitman from MemoryCherish

Do you have old photos hidden away in a shoebox? If so, clean them off before scanning or restoring them. The more dirt and dust you can remove, the better the photo will look when restored. By following these 7 tips to clean old photos before restoring them, your memories will be preserved for generations to come!

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Cleaning Your Old Photos: A Step-By-Step Guide

When you clean old photos, it is important to work in a clean environment. Dust and dirt can transfer from the surface of your photo onto any other surface as well as into nooks and crannies that might otherwise be missed. Here are the things you will need for cleaning your photos:

  • Canned air (used for computer keyboards)
  • Lint-free cloths
  • A soft brush
  • Professional cleaning wipe or spray
  • Lint-free gloves

Step 1: Make Digital Copies Of Your Old Photos

The first thing you should do is turn on your scanner and make a few backup copies of your photographs, which may seem redundant. Each cleaning technique has its own set of dangers, and the end result might do harm the surface of your photo. Once you’ve completed the initial scan, you can move on to actual cleaning!

Step 2: Wear Lint-Free Gloves

Wearing clean gloves is the first step to avoiding unnecessary damage. If you don’t have lint-free gloves, clean your hands before touching any of your old photos! This is due to the oils on your hand leaving a fingerprint or slipping palm, which may attract dust or smudge your scan.

Step 3: Use Compressed Air Or A Soft Brush To Remove Dust

Now, you can use compressed air or a clean, soft paintbrush to remove dust from your photo. You can use the brush to gently agitate the surface of the picture and knock off any particles that you saw on your initial scan.

Step 4: Gently Remove Dirt With Cleaning Liquids

If you see any stubborn dirt or spots that won’t clean by using compressed air, then it is time to bring out the big guns. There is a variety of cleaning liquids on the market you can use to clean your old photos, but make sure you buy a high-quality one to avoid damaging your photos.

Step 5: Allow Your Picture To Dry

When you clean your picture with a cleaning product, be sure to give it ample time to dry. Do not use a hair blower or any other heat source on the photo while it is still wet because this can cause warping and damage the surface of the print.


Step 6: Scan Your Photos Again – Now Damage-Free!

Once your photos have dried, you can scan them again and get the rest of the damage cleaned up using our professional photo restoration service here at MemoryCherish. Simply upload your scan to our website, pick your restoration options & place your order. Within up to 24 hours, you will receive back your old photo damage-free!

Step 7: Receive Your Restored Photo In The Mail

Once you are satisfied with the restoration, we will send your restored photo to you in archival-quality photo paper. Now, those precious memories are preserved for generations to come!

Get Your Damaged Photos Restored Today!

Discover the beauty of your old memories and get your damaged photos restored today! Bring those moments back to life with our easy and convenient restoration service.

About The Author
Dr. Laura Whitman | MemoryCherish
Dr. Laura Whitman | MemoryCherish

Dr. Laura Whitman is the Head of Education at MemoryCherish, the #1 photo restoration company in the world.

With a PhD in Art History and a specialization in photographic preservation, she brings an unrivaled breadth of knowledge to her role.
Over her 19-year tenure in the field, Dr. Whitman has become a respected authority on topics ranging from photo restoration techniques to historical context and genealogy.

Her work has been recognized by major media outlets such as ABC, NBC, and FOX News, and she has been trusted with collaborations by Adobe. As an educator, she has developed numerous 'how-to' guides and tutorials, making photo restoration accessible to millions.

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