A challenging treatment of an 18th century embroidered textile using gel cleaning in combination with decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5) silicone solvent barriers


  • Anja Smets Freelance textile conservator, Antwerp, Belgium
  • Kristel De Vis University of Antwerp, Faculty of Design Sciences, Conservation Studies, Blindestraat 9, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
  • Natalie Ortega-Saez University of Antwerp, Faculty of Design Sciences, Conservation Studies, Blindestraat 9, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1715-6880




Textile conservation, Bleeding dyes, Gel cleaning, Agarose, D4 and D5 silicone solvents


Bleeding dyes are a major concern to textile conservators; they can cause extensive damage to textile objects and usually preclude a wet cleaning treatment. Since gel cleaning methods were introduced to the conservation field, new opportunities are available for such complex treatments. This paper describes the cleaning of an embroidered textile that is damaged by dye bleeding of the embroidery threads on an undyed silk ground. It was examined whether further bleeding of the dyes during wet cleaning can be avoided by the use of an agarose gel to deliver an aqueous solution, prepared with pH buffers and chelators, to the silk ground. Additionally, the siloxanes octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4) and decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5) were tested for their potential to act as barrier liquids for the embroidered areas. The cleaning method was successful in preventing further bleeding of the dyes, but the coloured stains could not be removed completely by the compound cleaning solution. Further research is required to optimize the cleaning method.


Received: 2018-6-17
Revised: 2018-10-31
Accepted: 2018-11-6
Online: 2019-1-25
Publication: 2019-4-30


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How to Cite

Smets, A., De Vis, K., & Ortega-Saez, N. (2019). A challenging treatment of an 18th century embroidered textile using gel cleaning in combination with decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5) silicone solvent barriers. Conservar Património, 31, 41–52. https://doi.org/10.14568/cp2018023