Eastop, D.D.M. and Lewis, J.
MIxtures of anionic and non-ionic surfactants for wet-cleaning historic textiles: a preliminary evaluation with standard soiled wool and cotton test fabrics
The Conservator, (25), .
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An investigation undertaken in 1995-96 is reported. An international survey of textile conservators found that there was no substantial reason why mixtures of anionic and non-ionic surfactants which industry and theory show to be more effective than single types are not used in conservation. Experiments using mixtures of the surfactants including those found to be the most commonly used in textile conservation were carried out to compare the effectiveness of these against single use. These experiments used wool and cotton standard soiled test fabrics to compare the soil removal effects (measured by changes in 'colour' [CIE L* a* b* values]) of two non-ionics (Synperonic N and a possible substitute, Synperonic A5), one anionic (sodium dodecyl sulphate [SDS], equlvalent to Orvus WA paste), and two mixtures of anionic and non-ionic surfactants (one commercial mixture, Berol 784, and one custom-made mixture of Synperonic A5 and SDS). Results showed that the latter mixture achieved optimal cleaning on the wool test fabrics, when used as follows: 1 ml Synperonic A5, 0.1 ml SDS, 0.01g sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, 999 ml deionised water for every litre of wash liquor. The test results on cotton were inconclusive.
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