Winter cleaning at Greenway

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Once the doors to Greenway close to the public at the beginning of November, our house team get stuck in to their busiest time: the winter clean. This gives them a chance not only to clean and conserve all of the invaluable items in Greenway's collection but also to check their condition and repair any damage.

What needs to be done?

The team go through their winter cleaning record, in which they keep tabs on everything that they've ever done. This useful tool makes sure that they don't clean some of the more fragile items too frequently - for example the tapestries only need to be cleaned every three to five years. Dust samples are also taken too see how much dust has settled on each item, which helps the team to know whether something needs cleaning yet.

It's dirty work, but someone has to do it...

It's a chance for the conservation team to really get up close and personal with the collection and do the detailed work that's needed. The tower scaffolding comes out as the ceilings are very high (and our conservation assistants are not very tall) and the whole house gets some TLC, working from the top to the bottom. Agatha's bedroom was the starting place this year.

Once dusted, polished or deliberately left alone, each item is carefully covered, or 'capped' - furniture in cambric, and ornaments in acid-free tissue paper. This keeps them clean and pristine until they're uncovered when the house opens again to the public in March 2014.