I have a rather large, and old needlepoint that's in an frame (unglazed).
I was wondering if anyone knows of a SAFE way to clean it?
I know this doesn't exactly fall into the "Home Repair" category, but
google, and other search engines haven't come up with any possible
solutions to this question.
I do know one rule of textile preservation: Never be tempted to wash it
Some of the dyes in these samplers may not be colorfast, so the pieces must
be chemically cleaned (dry cleaned).
Your local dry cleaner may have a contact in this business??? I know it's
expensive but it may be a good investment.
I've been tempted to try some Capture Carpet Cleaner powder but even that
can affect dyes.
If it is just dusty, dusting with a not-too-powerful vacuum might do -
with a layer of tulle placed on top to avoid abrasion. If it has any
value, I'd avoid cleaning. If badly needed, try a local dry cleaner
(owner operated) to see if they know of a conservator. :o)
Soil can be a hazard, especially in attracting insects. If wet cleaned,
colors can bleed and you will likely lose the sizing that keeps it stiff
and the shape. Dry cleaning? I'd be very hesitant to try it.
Conservators may have a dry cleaner that isn't solvent based and is
mild. I did a search on "preservation antique needlework" and got lots
of hits; some didn't pan out, but a university, museum or historical
society is likely to have advice. Really have to see it - if it has any
bug damage there may be broken threads that would ravel in any cleaning.
I just learned something really useful - one article said not to store
textiles in contact with bare wood because they absorb acids from the
wood oils, such as in cedar chests. DUH!!!!!! All my old textiles are
in the immigrant trunk or the cedar chest :o)
My wife used orvus, which you can find in some animal stores in a
large tub for cheap... it's used to wash horses.
I believe it's sodium lauryl sulfate... a very gental soap (or perhaps
it's used for *modern* needlework with colorfast dyes... as folks have
mentioned, who knows if it's safe for your piece... we don't know what
if you don't know for sure... I'd recommend taking it to a
Verso l'esterno! Verso l'esterno! Deamons di ignoranza.
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