What’s so Important About a Dust Cover? Watch your back!

by | Preservation

A  dust cover doesn’t seem like much protection does it?

After all a dust cover is typically nothing more than a fitted sheet of paper that seals in the back of a picture frame – but it delivers a series of vital protections.



It’s really no surprise that a dust cover is to help keep out dust, but it also acts as a sort of early warning system to let you know if you’ve got squatters in your artwork such as bugs, mites, worms, silverfish or anything else.

If you’ve got a small tear or hole in your dust cover, it’s like a welcome sign to an insect.

“But how much protection can a paper cover really be?”

Sure, it’s not an iron box, but a paper backing (and yes, it also comes in archival grades too), is still a barrier, meaning that the bugs have to eat their way in as opposed to merely stepping in.

See our article on The Art Eaters as well.



A proper dust cover also helps to protect your art from air contaminants other than dust, including smoke, ozone, nitrogen oxides and gases from electronics, adhesives, paints, and cleaners.



Also, dust covers help to stabilize the humidity inside the frame.

It won’t compensate for hanging it in extremes of humidity, like a bathroom where a shower is frequently used, but a simple barrier literally acts as a preliminary vapour barrier and helps keep mold and other ick from taking hold and ruining your framed items.

So dust the front AND back of your framed art frequently, and cast a quick eye over the dust cover to ensure there’s no holes, tears, open seams or other breaches in it.

If you find one, bring it into Jackson’s – it’s very inexpensive and quick to replace it (often taking less than 10 minutes) and we have the proper tools, materials, and expertise to do it right.


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  1. Jasmine Hewitt

    We learned the hard way that a dust cover is essential when moving as well! Anything that could have stuck to one piece that we left uncovered, did!

    • Karla Elder

      Yes, usually it’s people in the throes of a move who come to us for repairs! 🙂

  2. Braden Bills

    My wife made a beautiful painting, and I want to hang it up in my home. It makes sense that having a dust cover added to it would be beneficial! That seems like a good way to ensure that it stays nice looking while it’s hung up.


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