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Removing soiling from fabric.

- 27 Oct 2012 -
28 posts / 0 new

Hi everyone,

I was curious about the best way to remove typical soiling from the armrests of some Girard "Miller stripe" covered shells.

The soiling is not that bad, but if there is a safe way to try, I would love to hear about it.

Thanks in advance



- 27 Oct 2012

Don't rub it!
Make a weak solution of mild detergent/surfactant and distilled or filtered lukewarm water. I like Orvus W.A. if you can find some. A dog-groomer might give you a tablespoon or two. That's more than you need.

Rinse out and wring a new cellulose sponge repeatedly until it stops making suds.

Use the sponge to agitate and make foamy suds in the detergent solution.

Dab at the stained area with the suds, pressing and releasing gently. Again, avoid the urge to rub it!

Blot area with a clean, dry cotton towel using the same gentle but firm dabbing technique. Try to use an old loop-napped towel that's not too linty.

Repeat process as necessary.

Rinse the area a few times with as little clean water as possible using the same technique.

Allow to air-dry.

- 27 Oct 2012

On that chair, I might not...
On that chair, I might not even bother. One great solution I've found for heavily soiled chairs, particularly hopsack aluminum group chairs is to take them to the do-it-yourself carwash, soak the hell out of them with simple green, and powerwash them. It sounds like a caveman approach, but works beautifuuly, and in no way damages the chair. Got a pic of the whole chair you're cleaning? It looks pretty cool.

- 27 Oct 2012

That might work just as well or better, Zoo!
Thanks for the chuckles!

- 27 Oct 2012

Thanks guys. I think I am going with the first solution ;-)

Here is a pick of the chair btw. It is a later chair from 72' but I love the colors.

There is more than one, and they all have the slight soiling to the arms, which is to be expected, but I will try this on one of them, an see how it works, I am in no rush, so taking my time with it. But these will eventually be my "dining room" chairs. ( live in a loft, so no real rooms to speak of ;-) )

- 27 Oct 2012

thanks for the tip
I will do that. I have some other Aluminum group bases I can try that on too, as I have that Kelly Green armshell I restored not long ago.

Yeah I fell in love with these as soon as I saw them. Now all I need is this jacket to sit in them.


- 27 Oct 2012

I would trade my youngest sister, and my refrigerator for that jacket.
Oh my god!

ps I like clothes much better than MCM furniture...shhhhhhhh.

- 28 Oct 2012

Yeah it is a pretty great jacket. Only 5 made for some architects who custom ordered them in 1976.

But It gives me an idea to have one made at some point. I travel to Vietnam every 3 months for work, and if i got the right fabric, this could be done ;-)

- 28 Oct 2012

I'll empty the refrigerator and gift wrap my sister.



- 28 Oct 2012

@tktoo I bought a small...
@tktoo I bought a small bottle of Orvus paste from a pet supply place on Amazon for 22 bucks. I will probably have use for it in the future so it seemed like a no brainer.

Thanks for the tip! I will let you guys know how it works out.

@Mark, if I do get a jacket made, I will let you know. ;-)

- 28 Oct 2012

I like
Dawn dishwashing detergent, the stuff they use for stripping oil off sea birds that were caught in oil spills. It's actually quite mild, just be sure to get the version that is clear as the blue one has a dye that can stain. It's the only thing I've found that can get oily stains out of laundry, even after they have been baked in the dryer. Not that your chair has been in a dryer, but the stains have had some time to set. Try it with tktoo's method, though I get the suds worked up by shaking some detergent in a little bit of water in a closed plastic container. I think you can also use a clean white washcloth rather than a sponge. Some cellulose sponges can shed tiny bits that you don't want to work into your fabric.

- 28 Oct 2012

Joshua, I bought a gallon in 1982
for about the same price and have used maybe a cupful since.

I tend to go all museum conservation-y with these things, but that's my nature and training. I'd rather try the safest methods first and escalate from there if necessary.

Truth be told, zoo's caveman method, extreme as it sounds, would probably work just fine and spanky's suggestion of Dawn dishwashing detergent is a good one, too, if you need to take things up a notch... or ten!

Great chairs, BTW. They look to be in fantastic condition. Keep 'em out of the sun!

Bon Chance!

- 28 Oct 2012

Does anyone know if any...
Does anyone know if any companies make "daytime" slip covers for shell chairs? I know it sounds silly but with having cats and sunlight it almost seems smart to have something to protect them snugly. I would think there would be a niche market for those neurotic collectors while away at work or on vacation. :-).

If not I can just make them .

- 28 Oct 2012

oh my goodness....
Joshua, darling...I'm trying to be diplomatic, as always. But only grandmother's of a certain age use slipcovers over their Eames chairs.. Perhaps investing in some window treatment's(ie blinds, shudders, window film, etc) would solve half of the problem. As far as the kitties (do they have claws in front??),if not, just have your housekeeper come twice per week....or something. I wouldn't begin to suggest on this forum having your cat's front claws removed. Thankfully, Mr. Chopper arrived sans-claws. Work it out gracefully.

Just an afternoon thought. Drinks are on me.



(edited to add a picture of my boy...I'm so proud)!!!

- 28 Oct 2012

Haha, you don't have to be...
Haha, you don't have to be diplomatic. I know how absurd and tacky it sounded. We have two cats, and one is a Siamese who has claws and loves to ruin rugs, and to be honest I have been hesitant to get fabric covered shells for this reason.

We also have 15 foot windows in our loft, and try as we might, light does get in. I know it is a grandmother thing to do, but I did not mean as an all the time thing, just while I am away during the day ( an no one is there to see them) , as I cannot watch the cats or control the sun. I am possibly willing to forego my pride ( I am a shoe designer by trade, so I promise the idea even mad me shudder at first with visions of my Italian grandmother covering couches with plastic ) to ensure my Girards stay cat claw free.

As much as I love our cat Yohji .... I mean look at him, you know he is up to something.

- 28 Oct 2012

I thought
of Mark immediately when that jacket was posted . . . !

I wouldn't object at all to "down-time" slipcovers. Seems like an excellent solution to day-time sun and/or pet activity. When you're home, off they come -- or at least when visitors/photo crews are expected !

Lovely chairs. I'm green (or orange/magenta/purple) with envy.

Mark, I want your cat -- at least temporarily, for a serious belly-rub/vicious-clawfight session. I'll forward my postal address . . .

Johji's next in the rota !

- 28 Oct 2012

Oh Yohji is gorgeous!
and my dear SDR, You are most welcome to borrow Mr. Chopper anytime. He is extremely people friendly, but not real smart. I'd be quite surprised if he could learn how to rub your belly. But who knows?

As always,

- 31 Oct 2012

Of course I have another...
Of course I have another annoying question.

So it appears one of the threaded mounts (on the 3rd generation mounts they only used the hand cut rubber washer with bolts into the shell) is missing from one of my chairs.

Obviously I don't want to sit in it if there are only 3 mounts intact , as I get nervous they will crack the shell as it is... never a fan of this way of attaching the base as it is.

Short of buying and parting out a beat late gen padded shell, are there any places that sell replacements for this part? I know it is a long shot as most of the stuff I see is earlier parts, but thought it could not hurt to ask.

Thanks as always.

- 31 Oct 2012

Josh, there are many different
styles of metal threaded inserts available. Since you have access only to the underside, you'll probably need to redrill the hole in the shell and epoxy in the most appropriate replacement.

Can you post close-ups of the bottom of the chair showing both the damaged and original inserts?

- 12 Nov 2012

Sorry for not responding sooner
I have been traveling for work and just got all the chairs this past weekend.

The formula suggested has been working. I have done it 3 times on each chair and so far so good. There a some seat stains that seem to be more than the oil from sitting, so that might be a bit harder.

The main issue is still the missing screw threading, and it seems there are 3 more that need to be secured as they are able to be pushed in and are loose.

Is this common to the 3rd generation mounts? I honestly prefer the shock mounts. But despite that the shells themselves are in excellent shape. Bases need a nice polish. I will keep the original bases on them but La Fonda bases would look really great on these.

I will post pics tonight of the shells in progress and the parts in question. Thanks for all the help so far ;-)

Thanks again.

- 13 Nov 2012

Glad to hear that you've had some success
with the stains and that I've not led you completely astray. I'm not sure what to do about the stubborn stains beyond trying the same technique with a stronger detergent like "Dawn". There's always taking them to the car wash, dousing them with "Simple Green", and blasting them with the 3200psi stream from a pressure washer, too.

Of course, this is an anonymous online forum and the advice offered here is worth exactly what it cost. That also means that apologies are totally unnecessary!

Those stripped-out and loose threaded inserts are going to be near impossible to fix satisfactorily from the underside. This may sound a bit daunting, but I'd think about just leaving them in place and gluing on proper shock mounts instead.

- 13 Nov 2012

So here are the four I have,...
So here are the four I have, and it is hard to photograph at night but the majority of the arm oils is gone. ;-) Now as to the other issues.

The threads are not stripped, it is just that the brasses are loose in some of the openings in the base. When you push on them slightly they push inward, leading me to think they are a bit loose in the shell openings. I don't think it is more of an issue than glue but I could be wrong. They fit and are steady on the bases when put together but I am neurotic and worry about fiberglass cracking from uneven pressure.

Now the final issue is this very small cut in the seat on one of the there any fabric adhesive that wont discolor or melt the foam if I try to glue it down? I would shudder to think someone would get caught on this and tear a hole in the seat. I am sure this is not an uncommon issue.

The cut is like someone had an uncapped xacto blade in their pocket ( which I have done myself in the past ;-) )

Slow going, but getting there. Now I need to sell my Burke set and get a nice Knoll Tulip to put these around. I ended up buying a 5th one as a side chair which I may consider putting on a rocker base. Would have been nice to get all 6. ;-(

- 13 Nov 2012

Here is the missing brass
As you can see, the right one is missing. the others are there but like I said some are able to be pushed in leading me to think they might need gluing at the contact point between metal insert and fiberglass.

- 13 Nov 2012

I think the inserts were friction-fit
originally and that they have a flange on the top side similar to what I would call a "T-nut". If you look closely, I think you'll notice that the outside diameters of the visible portion of the nuts have raised ribs designed to keep them from turning in the holes through the shells. I'm not aware of any epoxy capable of fixing this condition beyond temporarily and, obviously, there is no way to remove the nuts without first removing the upholstery.

As I wrote above, attaching new shock mounts to the chairs seems like it might be the best approach for long-term use.

*spanky* or others may be able to address the fabric repair. I draw the line at needles and thread.

- 13 Nov 2012

Actually as i look at it, it...
Actually as I look at it, it does not seem to matter that much that the threads are loose in the shell, as once you put the screws in they pull downward through the hole all the way and the flanges prevent it from coming out of the shell. as long as you don't tighten too hard to put stress on the shell, seems to be ok.

So maybe short of the missing one there is no issue using them. I have one bolted up and it is pretty stable and sturdy. ;-)

Fingers crossed.

- 13 Nov 2012

I did buy a 5th one as a...
I did buy a 5th one as a back up, just in case.

As it would look odd to have 5 chairs around a table this one might get a rocker base and be an accent chair to the others.

- 16 Nov 2012

I have
a couple of nice pics of Mrs. GA modeling that jacket prior to the auction. And even one of her seated on a compact sofa done in the same fabric. If she were less shy, I would post them.

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