Cleaning of Historic Tapestries
The description of a revolutionary cleaning method for fragile and valuable historic tapestries by means of fogging technology from Plantfog was published in the daily newspaper Der STANDARD from 28./29. July 2007
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Tapestries in the Fog
The largest Cleaning Plant for historic textiles is located in Schönbrunn in Vienna, Austria.
„Is that there, where they wash the Tapirs?" No - naturally not - this is not a washing facility for tapirs, although there is a renowned zoo in Schönbrunn, this is a mix-up of the nouns "Tapir" and "Tapisserie" (tapestry).
Neugebauer works since 1979 restoring historic textiles. The cleaning of these fragile pieces was usually done by soaking the piece in a basin with water.
„This meant that below the textile sheets all the dirt accumulated - they literally lay in their own juice - and got so heavy that you could not lift them up once they were soaked" Neugebauer tells of the disadvantages of previous methods.
In addition there was the danger that the color would bleed during the drying process.
During 2002 Neugebauer travelled to Belgium to get a cleaning for a delicate and valuable tapestry and experienced there the [up to then] only "Aerosol Cleaning Plant" in Europe.
„So I thought : we should have such a thing!"
Five years later she has the thing - during February 2007 the first tapestry has been cleaned in Schönbrunn Castle by means of a Cleaning Plant more up to date and larger than any other.
The system is highly innovative: Carpets, Tapestries of other textiles of larger extensions are placed on a fine mesh of stainless steel in glass case with dimensions of 8 x 5,40 meters. In a chamber below the mesh negative pressure is created by means of fans. With fogging nozzles warm fog with 22 °C is inserted over the carpet and is sucked through the textile. After one hour of clean warm water tensides are added which will dissolve the dirt which will be sucked off.
For drying draperies are put on top of the cleaned tapestry which will take up the moisture.
Only afterwards the plant will continue with warm air.
The investment of some 70.000 Euro is already on its way to the break-even point in the fall of 2007.
Text and Images Copyright (C) 2007 Der Standard
Photos Regine Hendrich
Water examples collected during
the various phases of a cleaning session.
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