And soaking might actually loosen old paint if water seeps under it!
Try first a soft slightly damp rag and don't rub hard, especially if there is grit in the dirt.
And then, if nothing else, tho this may sound weird, when they remove dirt for old paintings, they use Q-tips that they put in their mouths to dampen (if I am remebering correctly) and use that to clean the surface. Of course they would wipe till the Q-tip was dirty, then start again with a new Q-tip. They would not 'double dip' the Q. Nor do they put gobs of spit on the painting.
Apparently the enzymes of the saliva help to remove the dirt.
They clean tiny areas at a time, wiping in a gentle circular pattern, staying on one spot till clean.
Edited by Nicole (Sun May 13 2012 11:41 AM)