Textile conservation goes green

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A group of Portuguese scientists claim to have developed an environmentally-friendly method of cleaning textiles. Researchers from the New University of Lisbon used liquid and supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) to clean the garments of an eighteenth-century sculpture. Compared with traditional solvents - many of which are highly toxic and damaging to the environment - CO2 is claimed to be relatively inert and non-toxic, and is said to remove dirt equally effectively without damaging the textile fibres.