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Wash That Bunk Off Everything - Yes, Everything!


Vintage postcard I guess there is not too much I can say about my topic of interest, so this will be a fairly short column.
It's about drycleaning something you never thought you could clean - paper. Yes, I said paper!
I'm a long term cleaner, and I clean that bunk out of, literally, everything!! So, when I realized that collecting antique or vintage graphic print would be alarmingly dangerous, I devised a type of salt shake that "washes" and preps your papers, of all kinds.
I do love vintage prints - for instance, I have a 1923 clip from an old Eatons' catalogue. This is one of the earlier colour prints, and it shows a most interesting incident in which Benjamin Franklin was involved. Very esoteric!
I had gone to auction in Almonte, which is a small and picturesque town in eastern Ontario.

We love our Civitan club auction, because everyone gets a good deal.

1934 Virginia (US) souvenir postcard

I think I was bidding on some Victorian cards (very, very pretty) and on a coveted album from 1934, full of postcards. The Victorian cards went beyond my range, but I bid on the scrapbook lot. With the scrapbook I received two china lamps, a framed picture of Ben Franklin, and some bells(?) I dunno- we get so much in our country auction boxes!
Anyway, we are both used to bidding on more than we bargained for, and the Ben Franklin framed was a prize in itself. I had written it down as an acquisition to bid for, on my auction card list.
Well, I was delighted to receive all of these things (and much more).
The next day, I started picking the rusted, early finishing nails out of the back of the chintzy frame. I felt it- like a gust of malevolence - a feeling of a cold, cough, flu and weeks of bone pain ensued, as an inherently poor disease , which had lasted within the dime store case for some 75 years, flew out and hit me with some esoteric history that it had long guarded.
Old men just keep things. When they were dashing around at age 23 they just bunged everything for the excitement of the next project, forgetting that they had carefully stowed mens rea evidence in every nook and cranny of their exhuberant existence. "I have it around somewhere", they would muse, but then- a date with she-angel was just around the corner, and zoom- they were off on another creative tangent.
At this auction, works that exhibited great taste and some daring saga were all over the tables. I had blundered into a sorrowful time for the person whose estate was being disseminated in shameful higgledy piggledy boxes (or poxes) into the greedily overstuffed hippy hovels that dot the mystic land of Lanark.

Enough - the flu of antiquity had seized me, and I got sick immediately, as if injected with it. I decided that there was no time like immediately to save my interesting print.
I got a large popcorn can and grabbed several essences I thought would be helpful for the "drycleaning" of my paper.
The result was really so good that I have recently improved the formulation, and I use it for many reasons- cleaning old photos with food dots and fingerprints, shaking around iffy antique store graphics, etc.
I first sprayed the inside of my can with Bactine. I quickly added about a 1/4 cup of Epsom salts, and an eighth of a cup of baking soda. My first remedy worked really well- I shook for a minute or so, left the lot of paper and salts overnight, and then shook again, vigourously. It took me twenty four hours until I was sure that I had killed anything there was to kill on that paper, but I have done this to my satisfaction.

I've recently updated the recipe, and it works really well! Here it is, below:

Paper Drycleaning Recipe(Updated)

Lightly spray the Bactine all over the tin, and spray about a four inch circle of garden insecticide onto the lid only of the tin.
rockwell graphic Quickly place the paper to be cleaned into the tin, and pour in the mixture of dry salts.

If you have a shallow tin, layer some of the salts one page at a time.

Shake very briskly, for at least a minute, turning the tin in all directions as you shake.

I have added insecticide and the Arm and Hammer carpet sprinkle for a strong reason. Do you ever handle paper that makes you itch or sneeze? It is probably a common dust mite tribe, and the Allergy sprinkle kills all of them in one cloud. calender graphicBoom.* Basically, paper comes from trees and can evolve ticks or other insects, for instance, I just found a ton of Norman Rockwell prints in a free box that were framed, but veiled a bit with moths' silk.They had to be cleaned, pronto, and I threw out the fairly modern frames.
My Rockwell calendar prints are safe and clean, now.

Even if you think it's going to be a bit scabid, wash your paper and photos- you will find a delightful, airy difference in handling them. Of course, use rubber, vinyl or white cotton paper gloves anyway. Your health is so important.
* Addendum: you had better open that tin out of doors the next day, so that you don't inhale any bad air.

Bye for now!



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