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Bio-enzymatic cleaners find new use: restoring masterpieces
Researchers at the Institute of Heritage Restoration and the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain, are cleaning 17th-century frescos using what the professional cleaning industry knows as bio-enzymatic cleaners, reports Robert Kravitz.
Bio-enzymatic cleaners are formulated with specific enzymes and 'good' bacteria that essentially digest soils. These products, which are available in different formulations, are typically used to clean restrooms, showers, kitchens, as well as to eliminate odour-causing bacteria in grout and urinal drain pipes.
According to IRP's researchers, these bio-enzymatic cleaners are able to clean works of art 'in a fast, specific, and respectful way, as well as being nontoxic for the restorer and the environment.'
This project came about because the IRP was having difficulty restoring several murals damaged in a 1936 fire at the Church of Santos Juanes in Valencia, Spain.
The murals had been improperly restored during the 1960s, so the goal of the cleaning project was actually twofold: removing residue left behind by the prior restoration and restoring the murals to their original condition.
"This is a new and obviously very delicate way to clean works of art," says Mike Sawchuk, Vice President of Enviro-Solutions (manufacturer of Green bio- and bio-enzymatic cleaners). "But it shows the possibilities available using these products."
So far, the bio-enzymatic cleaners have been tested on two interior walls of the church, with promising results. ìWe will continue the process and improve the technique,î says one of the researchers. ìIn nature, we find different species of bacteria that can feed on almost anythingî - including, apparently, the grit and soil that can build up on priceless works of art!
An ISO-9001 certified company, Enviro-Solutions was established in 1994 with very focused goals: to develop and market a superior line of environmentally preferable cleaning products and solutions. Using advanced technology, the company manufactures products that offer proven safety, health, and environment benefits without sacrificing product performance and are competitively in price.
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10th May 2012