TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  Orvus
Author  :  Patrick Weiler mailto:%20theweilers@attbi.com
Date  :  12-09-2001 on 02:48 p.m.

You noted that no treatment detrimental to the wool should be used, and mentioned lauryl sulfate. Orvus is based on sodium lauryl sulfate and is what I use to clean small rugs/bagfaces with. Has it been shown to harm the wool? It takes a long time to use up a gallon of the stuff. I certainly do not want to buy a horse just to shampoo it in order to use up the rest of my Orvus! (the donkey is too small )
There was a lengthy posting about Orvus quite a while ago and the only real concern about sodium lauryl sulfate was that it may leave a microscopic residue on the wool.

One other item in your list of suggestions was to not use imported dyes, but even some of the antique weavers used some imported natural dyes in some instances. I believe insect dyes were traded extensively.

Patrick Weiler

Subject  :  Re:Orvus
Author  :  Bob Alimi mailto:%20aero9k@yahoo.com
Date  :  12-09-2001 on 05:57 p.m.
Geez... I just bought a gallon of Orvus paste too! From all the information that I read prior to choosing Orvus, it seems that sodium lauryl sulfate is absolutely the safest cleaning agent to use for antique textiles. In fact, sodium lauryl sulfate seems like something of a miracle cleaner; a non-allergenic laundry soap, and a pure-as-pure-can-be shampoo for all types of creatures. From what I can gather, it's the basis for many commercial cleaners, and that, in general, people would be better off using this stuff in pure form, without all the extra junk that gets added to create a variety of specialty soaps, from dish detergents to shampoos. Please don't burst my soap bubble! ...oh well, I can always use it to wash the puppy and the car.


Subject  :  Re:Orvus
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  12-09-2001 on 07:37 p.m.
Hi Patrick,

Orvus is perfectly safe on rugs. It doesn't react with dyes or with wool, and is not nearly as alkaline as most detergents. It takes lots of rinsing to get it all out, but it does no damage.


Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:Orvus
Author  :  michael mailto:%20koek@dv-kombinat.de
Date  :  12-10-2001 on 12:52 p.m.
Hi everybody,

laury sulfate has the advantage over soap that it cleans at lower degrees of pH. But its de-fattering activity is too high, in my opinion, especially for being applied to old pieces. Our style of testing has been in the last 20 years: use the material for at least one week as a hair shampoo. If Your skin or hair feels dry after constant application it will not please Your wool. Keratin of wool and keratin+kollagen of skin are quite close to each other in structure.
More soft alternatives:
–alkyl polyglucosides. Natural fatty alcolhols from cocoa nut and natural sugars are combined in the chemical factory using sustainable chemical methods and create a superb soft detergent, non-ionic and totally biodegradable.
–there are natural sources for soft detergents, like saponins. In the Near East a certain plant, „coban otu" had been in use. It works from saponins, a slight alkaline pH and a high content of glycerine.
Whatever: rely on the skin test !
Patrick, my intention was to stress to take care of ecological aspects. It makes no sense to import tons of tropical woods or even roots from trees to carpet producing areas just to save the expense of educating the local people in the proper use of natural dye sources available locally. Insect dyes like Cochineal are, for me, a historically established fact. Ecologically I can find no harm in them, as with Lac Dye – but I would oppose the extensive (!) use of „Ararat Cochineal". Let us look for sustainable solutions.

Yours sincerely

Michael Bischof

Subject  :  Re:Orvus
Author  :  R. John Howe mailto:%20rjhowe@erols.com
Date  :  12-10-2001 on 09:15 p.m.
Dear folks -

My understanding is approximately what Steve's is above.

There was one very loud opponent of the use of Orvus at the last ACOR. She is Emily Sanford, the West Coast restorer, who was vigorous in her criticism of Orvus, claiming that it left a residue and that it tended to turn unacceptably acidic with time.

I think Ms. Sanford recommended a product called "Triton XL-80N Surfactant," made by Union Carbide. Among the features claims for this latter product is that it is 99% biodegradable.

Ms. Sanford and an English gentleman took this same anti-Orvus position in a Hali debate. Utimately, Smithsonian researchers wrote in agreeing that Orvus leaves a residue but said that it acts like "a transparent dye," and disagreed that it becomes unacceptably acidic.


R. John Howe

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