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Cleaning old collection
Old 12-10-2018, 10:12 AM   #1
Fred Green
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Default Cleaning old collection

Hello,


At the moment I am cleaning and sorting an old collection. Some of it has been uncovered in the same place for 30 years. There is quite an accumulation of dust and some animal hair on the stuff. I am looking for the best way to clean it all. There are tunics, trousers, fieldgear, hats, helmets, and boots. There is some slight mildew on some of the leather and hat brims. A very heavy coat of dust on the helmets that were sitting out.


Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.


Fred
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Old 12-10-2018, 11:48 AM   #2
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How about some pictures so we can get a better idea of what you're dealing with. From what you've posted I would recommend a gentle vacuuming to remove as much of the dust and other material as possible.
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Old 12-10-2018, 11:51 AM   #3
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Hello Jim,


I will have some photos a little later this afternoon.


Fred
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Old 12-10-2018, 12:43 PM   #4
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Hello,


Here are a couple of shots of some service caps. I will get picture of the helmets later. Light mildew on the visors and on the tops. Cat hair on just a couple of pieces. Thanks again. Update: The forum will not let me load up pictures and I get a 403 forbidden message. I will see what I can do about this.


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Old 12-10-2018, 12:45 PM   #5
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Vacuum and gas duster for keyboards.
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:01 AM   #6
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I've always heard to put panty hose over the end of the vaccum when going over a uniform. Its supposed to help preserve the cloth. Not sure if there is any providence to this though.

Sydney
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Old 12-16-2018, 08:49 AM   #7
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Hello Sydney,


I have heard the same thing. Will be getting back into it today so I should be able to post a few pictures later today!!


Fred
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Old 12-16-2018, 10:45 AM   #8
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As long as the material is still intact I've found a good old fashioned lint roller is a useful tool, especially if there is pet hair. The vacuum with the panty hose works as well, the hose helps reduce the suction (in turn, putting less stress on the material). You can also use a small, soft-bristle paint brush to dust the item....I've put the vacuum hose in a clamp and brushed the item so that the vacuum picks up most of the dust. This works good if there are mold spores (only if you have a vacuum with a hepa filter though).
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Old 12-17-2018, 08:32 AM   #9
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Hello,


Thanks for all the help!


Fred
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Old 12-17-2018, 11:12 PM   #10
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Hi Fred, are these WWII era items or older? All materials and fabrics have to be treated differently and it depends on the condition of the fabric etc. This is the wrong time of the year to deal with this in the Midwest as having the mildewed materials out in sunlight and cleaning them outside is easiest. You can email me some pictures and I will try to help. I worked in museums off and on for about 12 years and worked on conserving many different older military items and uniforms.
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Old 12-19-2018, 10:53 AM   #11
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Johnny R. is right. If you are using a vacuum cleaner. Please us extreme caution. The common everyday vacuum has a far to great amount suction it could destroy fabrics especially if the fabrics are frail I've see vacuums shred many types of materials. As a conservator I rarely use a vacuum Some times carefully using a good old fashion clean bore hair brush is best. Also take your time do not rush through the process. I would clean off any mold or mildew outdoors. Also in the future you might want to get a handle on your humidity. Mold and mildew can form under extreme temperature and humidity, and lack of air flow, and darkness.
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Old 03-04-2019, 10:38 PM   #12
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I agree on a couple of things.. Don't use a regular home vacuum cleaner. Much too strong unless your doing a helmet or displayed bayonet,etc.

And the mini 'keyboard' vacs are pretty good.. But like Paul mentions a real soft brush, some patience ...and yeah the outside procedure is a must and your wiping rag. I've seen guys wipe/clean dirty pieces then go and 'wipe clean' their other medals with the same cloth!
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