and thus the preferred uses of each.
Buffered Tissue has an alkaline, or basic, composition (ie pH above neutral; pH 7), which usually is achieved by adding calcium carbonate to these tissues.
Instances when this buffered surface would be preferable are when storing natural fiber based materials (like cotton fabrics, or cotton papers), as well as many synthetic materials. The alkaline properties of the tissue work to neutralize any acidity that come in contact with the material, and thus increase its longevity.
But, beware when using buffered tissue that the paper has not be treated with various other chemicals or processes (like some photographs), as the buffered surface may have long-term negative consequences. For example, if a material is meant to have a slightly acidic composition, it should not be stored with buffered tissue as the neutralization of the material may be detrimental over time.
Unbuffered Tissue is pH neutral, and is preferred when storing materials that by nature have a more acidic composition. These materials are predominately animal (protein) derived ones (like wool, silk, leather, fur…) but also include some color photographs. Using buffered tissue may neutralize these materials to their own detriment.
we usually advise people to go with the Unbuffered Tissue as it is typically a safer bet.So, in answer to the time old question:
“How can I store my mother’s wedding gown & heirloom textiles
to preserve its condition for years to come?”The answer lies in the material:
Natural plant derived fibers & some synthetics –> Buffered Tissue
Animal derived fibers & some color photographs –> Unbuffered TissueAnd of course always store these items with the appropriate tissue in Acid-Free boxes!
I recently purchase a archival binder and slip case set for my color photographs. The binder and slip case passes the photographic activity test but the only problem is that the material is buffered. I have read that color photo can cause damage if stored in a buffered storage Will my color photographs be safe in a binder even though the material is buffered rather than unbuffered?
Hi Jon, Good question. Since buffering agents don’t migrate, a buffered box could be used if an unbuffered layer such as unbuffered tissue or polyester film, such as Mylar Sleeves, surrounds the item.