Maintenance
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Maintenance

  • Protect textiles from direct sunlight. Position them out of direct light, or consider using curtains in front of the object. Rare items on display can have a time-limited light which is activated only for viewing.
  • Maintain cool, dry conditions as far as possible.
  • For textiles in good condition, you can remove dust using a vacuum cleaner on a low suction setting with a small square of net or gauze held over the nozzle with an elastic band. Never use a brush fitting.
  • Only vacuum when necessary. This may only be about once a year. Test a small area to see if a visible greyish-brown fluffy layer of dust is removed. If there is none there is no need to vacuum yet.
  • Consider protecting precious textile items from dust and dirt behind glass. Take specialist advice on the design and siting of the case.
  • Regularly inspect walls behind hanging items and display cases for damp and signs of damage.
  • Vestments in good condition may be hung up, but ensure the hangers are well padded and the right shape to support the whole length of the shoulders.
  • Where possible, keep other textiles flat in a drawer or box. Wrap and pad them with acid-free tissue paper. Use separate boxes or shelves for each object; do not stack them.
  • Store copes in a cope chest or hung by the centre back over a padded roller. Remove stiffened hoods and store separately.
  • Use a natural felt underlay for carpets to allow damp to evaporate.
  • Store carpets rolled with the right side out, horizontally but not directly on the floor.
  • Consult an accredited conservator for advice on cleaning and repairing multicoloured or embroidered pieces and old and fragile items. Do not use water, modern cleaning products or dry cleaning.
  • Avoid handling old and fragile textiles where possible. Where they have to be moved, support their weight when moving them.

You can find out more information by following the link to the Institute of Conservation (ICON) web page Care and Conservation of Costume and Textiles website.