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tribaltextiles.info • View topic - Do it yourself textile cleaning

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:31 pm 
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Location: east coast
I have a large number of Iban weavings which are often of handspun cotton and native dyes but need cleaning. I have already lightly and gently vacuumed them. They range around 6' or 7' x 4' or so.

I had several cleaned by a professional who gave me the idea she used distilled water in large quantities, and a special large table for washing and drying. I got the idea I could pretty much do the same thing myself.

I have read several articles and a book or two on cleaning textiles but they seem directed toward fairly exotic cleaning (special chemicals, vacuum tables, etc.,) of very fragile or difficult to clean pieces. I have not seen any "do it yourself" cleaning which might be satisfactory for such textiles as I have.

I can stabilze a piece around holes and slightly detaching sections - another conservator who did repair work for me showed me how to lightly stitch gauzy fabric around the sensitive areas so they do not degrade in handling.

I would not attempt cleaning if it required special chemicals other than mild soaps.

I have heard from one person about simply soaking and "mushing" a piece gently in a large bathtub of distilled water to lift dirt out, draining the water, repeating, etc., until clear and then spreading them on towels and such to dry, possibly tacking the edges down to prevent any shrinking.

I have to believe that these pieces have been washed by the native owners already so I think they can stand such treatment.

Given the above - or not- does anyone have practical advice about "home cleaning" such textiles or books to refer to?

Thanks

-John


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:46 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:06 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:26 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:01 am 
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 Post subject: Cleaning Pua?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:16 pm 
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Pamela, John and Vernon,

I am afraid to attempt cleaning any of my pua or skirts. The older ones show no signs of running and bleeding and although somewhat fragile could probably survive.

The supposedly newer (or at least less expertly dyed) ones show signs of bleeding where they became wet. I can't imagine washing them, although they could really use it.

That said, I have twice experienced the infinite rinse technique and it might work well on pua. My own field collections of hempen peasant clothing often border on wretched and must be tied to the roof racks until we get home. Hemp is some of the toughest cloth on the planet. When nobody is around I bring them into the bathroom and soak them repeatedly in near scalding water with detergent and walk on them. After repeated draining and refilling the water color progresses from coffee to weak tea and I stop. Blocked on towels they come out fine. Not appropriate for most textiles!

The other instance was in Gambia where the women took newly woven lapas (large sarongs) and rinsed them in salt water. The salt water washes away remaining free dye from the non-colorfast Chinese yarn and acts as a mordant for the remaining dye. Their technique is for four women to wade knee deep into the sea and each holding a corner of the lapa submerge it into the water and hold it under for a half hour or so, after which it is rinsed in fresh water using a hose and hung over a pair of lines to dry. The secret is that the free dyes bleed more readily into the water rather than into neighboring yarns.

I worry more about light than washing. Since pua were only taken out and aired during rituals then they have lived 95% plus of their lives in the dark!

Have you ever tried dry (chemically) cleaning a pua?

Cheers!

Rob

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 Post subject: Re: Cleaning Pua?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:10 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:22 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 8:42 am 
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Attachments:
Weining_washing.jpg
Weining_washing.jpg [ 75.47 KiB | Viewed 17701 times ]

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:26 pm 
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Location: Sunshine Coast , Australia
Again coming late to this discussion. Re: West Timorese textiles..... Most natural dyes will be fixed with lime powder acting as mordant. I am always hesitant to purchase cloth with red dyes as indeed commercial red is notorious for running. Morinda and indigo dye is completely different and loves being beaten on rocks under the full moon. Dance in the bath then twist it to squeeze out the water, hang over line or lay flat on towel to dry.

I am blessed to stay with a grandmother whose specialty is washing IKAT. She goes at it with pure soap flakes and a soft scrubbing brush, as well as whamming it on the smooth concrete wash room floor before plunging it repeatedly into water to get out the village dirt and excess dye and as she says the penyakit...any sickness or virus which she certainly does not want to send out of her town. She often advises me if she thinks that a textile will run and 98% of the time she is spot on. But as we passionate collectors all know it is often that 2% that ranks amongst the special favorites and it is always a sad moment to see the work of a true crafts woman Fuzz as John would put it.

I do purchase textiles and advise on the catalog description tag that I provide with each cloth that THIS ONE SHOULD NOT BE WASHED....indeed I have has some very special ones, of a similar ilk to the Ibans, that are party cloths and are not meant to be washed as they are only rarely worn.

Indeed rinsing in salt water does cleanse and fix most natural dyes once the bleeding process is completed the women in Alor use this technique, they particularly favour the cool fast running water and often tie the cloth to ropes in order not to have to stand in the cold current for too long. However, rinse the textile again in rain water or distilled water as the salt continues to absorb moisture if left in the thread, this speeds up the perishing of the fiber/thread and can add hugely to the weight of your cloth.

Wool wash is ok to use as well.......

PS Pamela,,,, how can I post more than one image at a time?
I resized and attached 3 so that the total was under 500kb but only one has showed...


Attachments:
File comment: Some of the special DO NOT WASH ones.
W1697-resized (5).JPG
W1697-resized (5).JPG [ 163.77 KiB | Viewed 11958 times ]

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:54 pm 
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Hi Julie

Thanks for all your hard work at contributing to the forum. Your tip about washing out salt and all the reasons I found very useful.

Posting images.

It is only each individual image that must be under 500K

You need to add the images one at a time to the written post. You can preview to make sure each is there. The images show up in reverse order. i.e. the last image that you post appears immediately under your text. So, chose the file on your computer and add it; then choose the next image and add it and so on. Finally submit your post including all the images. I think that there is a maximum of 5 images which can be added to a single post. I say 'think' as it was set at that on the previous version of the forum. There is so much under the bonnet/hood that of the Admin Board on the upgrade that I have not yet checked the current limitation of images but will get to it.

Best,

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