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19th century embroidery sampler: wool foundation fabric, wool embroidery thread. Object from a private collection.

Surfactant: Dephypon LS45®.

1. Tested 3 surfactants, softened water and de water confirmed the instability of the blue dyes (present in blue and green shades). Had to find a solution to minimize the time and intensity of wet cleaning, details in conservation report.

SOLUTION: Two solutions of different concentration of a non-ionic surfactant Dehypon LS45® each with the addition of a soil suspending agent, sodium carboxemythylcellulose (SCMS). The difference in concentration was to assess the dye bleeding reaction. Dehypon LS45®, has a low cloud point of 21-22 °C (this is the temperature at which the surfactant doesn’t dissolve and the solution becomes cloudy and less effective in cleaning), had problems maintaining the right T, overcome by preparing stock solution in advance.

Support: full underside support and mount board.

See another post on wet cleaning of historic textiles. 

Results: considerable improvement of visual appearance, cream colour of the background restored, yellow staining reduced significantly, grey staining lessened, embroidery reads much better than before the treatment, fabric regained flexibility. Some minimal shrinkage in both directions but no fabric deformation.

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