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Soft brush, cotton swab, and foam sponge used to reduce surface grime

The goal of cleaning was to reduce surface grime, which will promote preservation and improve the overall appearance of the painting. Dust, dirt, and stains accumulated over many decades. This complex surface grime required multiple, complementary cleaning methods. Each method was evaluated through preliminary testing on discrete areas of the painting. Soft brushes, a low-suction vacuum with HEPA filter, tiny cotton swabs, and soft closed-cell foam sponges were used to lift grime. 

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Cleaning solution gelled in Agarose to form blocks

Specifically-formulated cleaning solutions were gelled in Agarose, a polymer derived from seaweed, to minimize wetting and swelling of the paint or cloth substrate. Applied with care, this method enabled a gentle and controlled reduction of surface grime. Cleaning was focused on areas of the painting where there is no design. Cleaning did not address the thick yellow-brown stains because their origin and composition are not yet determined.