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Thread: Cleaning Stained Glass Window

  1. #1

    Cleaning Stained Glass Window

    We are utilizing distilled water, cotton swabs and cotton diapers to clean a stained glass window screen. We are running into some major grim and buildup. Any suggestions for a deeper cleaning agent than distilled water? vinegar and water? Sparkle ammonia free glass cleaner? Can the cleaner make contact with the lead?

  2. #2
    PACCIN Advisory Committee Member T. Ashley McGrew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    San Francisco, CA
    I would be very reluctant to use any form of acid (vinegar) on the glass given that lead can be severely effected by acidic compounds. You could try a dilution of alcohol and water - used to clean glass and plex - applied with a cotton swab to control its dispersal but really I think you should consult a conservator. The code of ethics for AIC says that conservators are supposed to consult specialists in areas that they are not trained in (things like packing and crating) it follows that we should do the same. The scariest people I encounter in collections care are the folks who don't know what they don't know (this includes folks with many different job titles in my experience). I have learned over time that the characteristics of glass can vary tremendously depending on composition and age.
    If I were you I would consider posting the same question on the PACCIN list serve. The posts there go directly to the inboxes of a whole bunch of really knowledgeable folks including a lot of conservators. To post on the list serve you can join by clicking on "ListServ" tab at the top of the front page or try to click HERE.
    Good luck!
    T. Ashley McGrew
    PACCIN Advisory Committee member

  3. #3
    I heartily concur with Ashley that a conservator should be consulted. Although it may seem expensive to do so, the cost of correcting a mistake and repairing damage will be far greater. Determining what the composition of the grime is will have a strong bearing on how you continue the work. With that piece of knowledge, an appropriate plan of attack can be formulated and the actual work will be far easier and more successful.

    Good luck,

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