Dirt/Fluff under glass


Jul 7, 2004

I have been framing my own photographic work for for over a year and I am frustrated that no matter how particular I am, once I secure the glass over my matted print and check it and then finished the framing, I check it again only to find small particles of dirt/fluff etc under the glass.

I clean my print with a white glove and lint free cloth and the glass with a glass polishing cloth. Should I be using an air gun to clean the print??

I have looked at other prints of mine other framers have done 3 years ago and they are still fluff/dirt free.

Can anyone please let me in on the secret of their cleaning technique or procedure prior to ensure the print is spotless after the glass is secured over the print and matt.

Any help is most appreciated.

You can clean it and clean it until the windex eats holes in your skin, but lint just materializes out of thin air and under your glass!!!

We use air to blow it, but it doesn't always work. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes not.

You should try a 30 X 40 black suede mat on a red suede poster some time!!! (I did that ALLL day Saturday - Velvet Revolver poster - it's beautiful!!)

Your best bet is to develop patience, and a sense of how big, exactly a dust loogie needs to be to be considered a problem! LOL!!

Hi Matt,

First of all is a clean work surface. If you use an airgun, make sure you have a water trap and also are able to adjust the pressure. I use a vaccumm to pick up as much as I can before the final fit. Go right around the edge of the frame and pick up as much as possible.
Wipe down table with a damp cloth to remove dust. Be sure the work area has plenty of light to inspect for dust. Lay art and mats face up on the table. Inspect and dust off the art. I use the older big blower bushes with the brush removed – you know the ones photographers used. Place the clean glass over the art. With the weight of the glass over the art, it seals out the dust and you can inspect it without having it in the frame. Next, I wipe the rabbet of the frame to clear any saw dust.

If all is well, lay the frame over the work and slide to the edge of the table and carefully flip it all over so you may close the frame. Put in a few points/brads all around and inspect before putting them all in. As long as you are careful in keeping package tightly together when flipping it over, It is likely no dust has entered. Of course with aluminum frames, modify the procedure so you can slide the package in.

Hope that helps. John

Using canned or compressed air just gets the dust up in the air so it can come back to haunt you a minute later.
Long ago a veteran framer taught me to keep a spray mister full of clean water at the fitting table. Before you lay the art package on the table, mist the area above the table lightly. The airborne dust particles cling to the water droplets and fall to the table and floor, out of your way.
We also use the airgun which is connected to our air compressor. It has a pressure regulator on it and a water trap filled with 2-3 cotton balls so that water doesn't spray onto any art work.

Once I have the clean glass placed on the matted art or photo, I then seal the 'package' with tape to keep any 'foreign bodies' from entering on down the road. There has been a lot of discussion about this, so do a search. I searched out one for you:

Hope this helps!
"I have looked at other prints of mine other framers have done 3 years ago and they are still fluff/dirt free." That's why they are the framers and dirt poor, they spend all of their time on the lint. Joke.

Experience really does have some benefits. Humidity, clean table, type of mat board, trial and error and a number of other factors come to mind.
Anyone used the Kinetronics ionizing gun? Is the benefit worth the cost?
We use Kinetronics for shadowboxes. It was pricey but has probably paid for itself in time saved many times over.

I've decided that we're tool junkies and if we haven't found something new at a trade show, it's a failure. ;) We discovered Kinetronics at the PMA show. So who says they have nothing for framers!?

[ 10-12-2005, 08:37 AM: Message edited by: Maryann ]
Originally posted by CAframer:
Anyone used the Kinetronics ionizing gun? Is the benefit worth the cost?
An ionizing gun eliminates the static charge that attracts dust. Anti-static brushes are good for reducing same. Depending on ambient conditions, some static is present on glass and other typical framing surfaces, especially plastics.

A "bellows effect" in fitting can work for or against the intrusion of debris. If the materials are sandwiched together so that air is pushed out as they come together, debris goes out with the air.

If, after assembling the layers, one layer is lifted, air movement sucks debris in. To avoid that bad "bellows effect", slide the materials apart instead of lifting.
I’ve never been a big fan of using compressed air to try to blow dust and boogers off of mats and glass.

Condensation from compressed air is always a concern (and sometimes the propellant in the canned stuff will “spit”), but the high velocity of the air over the glass may generate a static charge (especially in low humidity) and actually attract more junk than you can get rid of.

I gently sweep the mats and the glass with a soft, fine hair, draftsman's brush before closing the package. It works very well.
I find that an intense light hung right above the fitting area shows all. If you can't see it then you wont see it later. I got so annoyed with how much this light showed one time I broke it just so I wouldn't have to keep refittining everything.
Yes, if you work with acrylic or other plastics, such as Coroplast or Sintra, get the Kinetronics ionizing gun.
Thanks for all the info and advice... I have a bit more trial and error ahead of me.

Thanks again