How to Clean Photography Backdrops

By Angela Tague

It is important to keep the photography backdrops in your studio clean. Routine cleanings of the backdrops will keep them free of footprints, dust and pet fur. Different types of backdrops require different cleaning methods. Keeping the backdrops in your studio clean will produce better portraits, and a create a better impression on your clients. Read on to learn how to clean photography backdrops.

Use hot soapy water to clean white vinyl backdrops. Scrub the vinyl with a bristle brush and hot soapy water to remove dirt that has settled in the porous backdrops. Use a mop and bucket of hot water to mop over the surface, and remove the loosened dirt. Go over the white vinyl backdrops again with the damp mop to absorb excess moisture. Never use bleach, as it will cause the white vinyl to turn yellow.

Wash multi-colored muslin fabric backdrops in the wash machine. Use a cold water wash and cold water rinse. Wash the muslin backdrop by itself, in case any color bleeds out. Dry the muslin backdrops in the dryer on a low heat cycle until they are damp dry. Hang the damp muslin in the studio to finish drying.

Blot out dirt on black muslin fabric backdrops. Use a damp cloth to work on individual areas of the backdrops. Many black muslin backdrops will turn dark green if too much of the black is rubbed off. Never wash black muslin fabric backdrops without testing a corner of it first for bleeding. If it doesn't bleed, wash in a cold water wash and cold water rinse cycle. Tumble dry the backdrops on a low heat setting until damp, and hang to finish drying.

Rub a dry cloth over hand painted canvas backdrops. Remove dust and lint by carefully wiping off the backdrops. Never apply water to a hand painted canvas backdrops. Avoid cleaning hand painted canvas backdrops unless it is absolutely necessary. Paint will flake off as you wipe off the backdrops.

Wash sheer fabrics. Transparent, thin cloth may be washed on the gentle cycle in cold water, followed by a cold water rinse. Allow the sheer fabric to air dry by hanging it back up in the studio.

Tip

Keeping your backdrops clean will eliminate post production touch-ups due to footprints and dust spots on the backdrops.

Warning

Always keep cleaning instructions that are provided with new backdrop purchases.

About the Author

Angela Tague writes marketing content and journalistic pieces for major brands including Bounty, The Nest, Lowe's Home Improvement and Hidden Valley. She also provides feature content to newspapers and writes health and beauty blogs for Daily Glow, Everyday Health and Walgreens. Tague graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications in 1999.