Groom/Stick® is a novel form of natural rubber with specific properties combining to create a surface dry-cleaner of high efficiency. Groom/Stick is also called a “molecular trap”. The rubber's natural structure has been modified to make it permanently soft, kneadable and strongly tacky. Moisture, solvents and chemical additives have been excluded.
As a non-abrasive, non-staining cleaner of paper and other materials, Groom/stick gently but positively picks up a wide range of foreign matter. Graphite, carbon, charcoal, chalk, crayon, dry powder colors, mold spores, dust, dirt and grease are cleanly lifted off the surface and held in a 'molecular trap' from which there is no escape.
The process is fast and smear-free. It is demonstrated rolling a Groom/stick “cigar” across a freshly-printed newspaper. Excess print ink is removed instantly—without blurring the print or soiling adjacent clean areas.
Ordinary solid or granular rubber-resin erasers abrade, smudge, crumble or produce clinging debris. Groom/Stick sacrifices nothing of itself, leaves no dirty fragments to brush away (or mold spores to regenerate in concealed areas) and is always ready and clean to use.
This product is made from natural rubber which is often blended from different crops and sources. The intensive milling to soften the original mass can sometimes contribute to the normal odor of this natural material. A more intensive odor does not mean that this product is spoiled in any way. Intensive odor becomes much less of a problem if the material is left uncovered before use. Refrigerating the Groom/Stick for a short while also helps.
How to Use
Groom/Stick continues actively collecting and holding foreign matter almost endlessly—until the rubber is several times its original weight.
When surface soil clogs its tackiness, the rubber needs only a little stretching, twisting and folding to enclose the dirt, immediately renewing its cleaning efficiency. If, in hot weather, the rubber becomes too sticky for comfortable working, twisting and folding its absorbs excess tackiness. Its tenacious hold of extraneous matter in large quantity makes the rubber a useful store for precious metal dust or fragments that can be reclaimed by incineration in a smelting furnace.
Since Groom/Stick ‘flows’ under its own weight or light pressure, the rubber is of special value in dry cleaning textured surfaces, e.g., paintings, sculpture, jewelry. Pressed gently into surface, the rubber conforms to any profile, ‘fuses’ with trapped dirt and peels away cleanly.
Many other applications will occur with regular use of the cleaner. For example, Groom/Stick degreases surfaces to ensure sufficient bond with adhesives and coatings.
Groom/Stick readily adheres to most solids. The bond, though good, is cleanly broken by rolling back the rubber. It is not suitable for long term bonds on vertical surfaces, where it responds to the pull of gravity.
When not in use, Groom/Stick should be stored in its original package or between sheets of thick polyethylene of sufficient area to contain it’s tendency to flow.
Groom/Stick should be stored at normal room temperature. If it is stored at high temperatures or exposed to outside pressure it can change its appearance. To restore the original appearance and consistency, please place the pack into a refrigerator or deep freeze for about an hour. This will make it easy to peel the protective plastic off the rubber. Small pieces of the rubber should be stretched and folded on itself for a few minutes to bring the rubber back to a more normal working consistency. Care should be taken in working with the product not to press it against a document with more than light pressure and very short dwell time.
Dry Surface Cleaning
Mechanical and dry-surface cleaning materials are indispensable in the removal of minute soot or dirt particles. Depending on the surface to be cleaned, appropriate materials might include the use of erasers: eraser powder such as Skum-X, block erasers, particularly Art Gum and vinyl and mechanical erasers (Selick 1996).
Elizabeth Moffat (1992) points out that many of the dry-surface-cleaning materials that are particularly suited to soot and dirt removal are composed of vulcanized rubber: Skum-X eraser powder, Groom/Stick, and soot sponges. Where bulk cleaning procedures are appropriate, an object can be cleaned in a tray of eraser powder. Fine glass beads (e.g., B.T. 13) can be used to lift and hold soot from a surface. Groom/Stick has a particular ability to pick up and hold soot and dirt and is useful for surfaces that are porous or textured or have tiny recesses. Groom/Stick can be used by hand or applied on the end of an applicator stick or other tool. Soot sponges are very useful for cleaning many surfaces and can be used full size or cut into smaller blocks. Cotton batting and soft wipes, such as the brand Webril Wipe, can be used in a gentle lifting motion; broad rubbing motions should be avoided unless a surface is not porous or textured. Dry-surface-cleaning materials are also useful when testing for the presence of a light soot layer on an object. A small block of soot sponge or Groom/Stick rubbed onto a lightly sooty surface will pick up some soot, where a stab dampened with a cleaning solvent will not.
References and Selected Bibliography
Estabrook, Elizabeth (1989) “Considerations of the Effect of Erasers on Cotton Fabric”, JAIC 1989, Volume 28, Number 2, Article 3, pp. 79–96. Link: https://cool.conservation-us.org/jaic/articles/jaic28-02-003.html
Moffatt, Elizabeth and Marilyn Laver (1981) “Erasers and Related Dry Cleaning Materials” Canadian Conservation Institute, CCI Analytical Report ARS No. 1738, 1981.
Moffat, Elizabeth (1992) “Analysis of “chemical sponges” used by the commercial fire cleanup industry to remove soot from various surfaces.” IIC-CG Bulletin 17(3), pp. 9–10.
Moffatt, Elizabeth, M.C. Corbeil, S. Guild and C. Emond (1994) “Analysis and Assessment of a 1994 Test Formulation of Skum-X,” Canadian Conservation Institute, CCI Analytical Report, ARS No. 3288, 1994
Selick, Marsha. (1996) Soot. Conservation Ddistribution List message, posted August 1, 1996. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Link: https://cool.conservation-us.org/byform/mailing-lists/cdl/1996/0680.html