Laundry detergent for collection materials

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    • #131930
      Caroline Blackburn
      Participant

      I am in need of recommendations for a mild laundry detergent to use to wash cotton gloves and sheets that we use around artifacts. We used to use Ivory laundry detergent, but cannot find it anywhere now. Can you help?

    • #131938

      Take a look at the dishwashing product aisle in your grocery store – look for dishwashing liquids that have no scent nor any colour. Of course, don’t buy ones that offer to ‘soften your hands while you do the dishes’. I’ve found that ‘natural food stores’ offer a larger variety of these type of dishwashing liquids. Laundry detergents (whether powder or liquid) have a lot more additives in their formulations that aren’t appropriate for this situation. The quality of your water is excellent, right? (ask your water provider for the mandated Federal yearly report) If your bathroom fixtures are stained from the water or you don’t drink the tap water due to the smell/taste, don’t wash your gloves/sheets in it due to these contaminants. Feel free to contact me off line (meg@textileconservator.com) if you need further clarification!

    • #131937
      Shannon Lindridge
      Participant

      Orvis is great to use, a bit expensive for machine washing, but great for hand washing. Orvis is used to clean historic textiles,so it is great for those cloth items which come in contact with historic artifacts or artwork. I have bought Orvis at quilt fabric shops and you can get it through Gaylord.

      -Shannon Lindridge, Registrar

    • #131936

      Think waaayyy back. Ivory snow. It’s still around. Ed Flesch

    • #131935

      I second the Orvus recommendation. It was originally marketed as sheep soap and as such can usually be found at your local seed and feed store. The last time I purchased some I picked up the 7.5 lb container for about $20.00. I just looked and Tractor Supply has the 7.5 lb container for $30.00, either way it’s much more affordable than the quilt shop across the street that charges almost $10.00 for 8 oz.

      When I hand wash I stick a toothpick into the tub and whatever sticks is usually enough for the sink full. When using a washing machine I seldom use over a tablespoon. You can tell it lasts me a good long time even when I give away containers of it whenever we do a care and feeding of textiles program.

    • #131934

      Please do not use Orvus!!! I just had a sampler come in with major dye bleed because it was washed in Orvus. Stick to a liquid detergent with no additives, please!!!

    • #131933
      Virginia Whelan
      Participant

      Wet cleaning all-white textiles in Orvus is safe. Often a hot water wash (no detergent at all) can remove most of the water-soluble soil on objects like cotton gloves. Sarah’s emphatic answer underscores the importance of dye testing any multi-colored textile being considered for wet cleaning. Testing all additives (Orvus, liquid detergent, etc) must be performed on each dye in the textile. It is also important to test each color with WATER; it too is a solvent! Apply one or two drops of every potential solution on each dyed thread, place a small piece of blotting paper above and below that spot, and weight with a glass block. After a few minutes look at the blotting paper. Any color transferred onto the blotting paper is an indication that the dye will bleed when immersed and therefore that solvent is not safe to use for wet cleaning that textile. If this happens, take the textile to a textile conservator who may be able to adjust the materials or use a different technique to wet-clean the textile.

    • #131932
      Shannon Lindridge
      Participant

      Nikkie–Thanks for the heads up on getting Orvis from a feed store/Tractor Supply!!

      Virginia–Thank you for the method to check for dye bleed in fabrics!

    • #131931

      Best resource I have found for understanding Orvus is Kay Lancaster, quoted here: http://hartcottagequilts.com/quiltcare.htm
      Kay is a scientist I have had the pleasure of knowing in a completely unrelated context and she is reliable.
      And our smaller container of Orvus, marketed as large animal shampoo, cost under $9. But finding a feed store in Silicon Valley was the hard part!

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