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Subject: Cleaning wallpaper

Cleaning wallpaper

From: Vicki Warden <vicki>
Date: Monday, March 15, 1999
Dawn Christine Mankowski <dawnm [at] darkwing__uoregon__edu> writes

>I am a graduate student in Historic Preservation at the University
>of Oregon. I am currently assisting the director of a historic house
>museum with several projects, one of which is cleaning the 1920s era
>wallpaper in two rooms.
>I have done test patches to determine which method would best clean
>the paper, including document cleaning pads and plastic erasers,
>neither of which was satisfactory.  The product I found to remove
>the most grime from the sample were gray kneaded erasers.  However,
>from a conservation standpoint, I have reservations about using this

I also have to find a solution for cleaning wallpaper.  The
wallpaper I am dealing with is from the 1850's and lines the walls
of an old kitchen.  The paper was originally cream in colour but is
now 'black' with soot, smoke, oil, grease and mould.  I have tested
a number of traditional cleaning materials including Absorene and
Chemical Sponges.  These materials are great for surface dirt
removal but didn't touch this dirt.  I also tested water, ethanol,
and ammonia, in solution and in poultice form.  Again, no success at
all.  I then tried a commercial cleaning agent 'White Lilly'. This
comes in a paste form and is highly aggressive.  However, it cut
through the grease and grime as advertised.

These tests suggested that a more aggressive approach was needed
than the traditional paper conservation cleaning approach.  However,
I consider a commercial cleaner such as I tried to be far too
aggressive.  If anyone has any suggestions I would welcome them.

Vicki Warden
Paper Conservator
Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:74
                 Distributed: Thursday, March 18, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-74-008
Received on Monday, 15 March, 1999

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