Fuller's earth

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A naturally absorbent colloidal Clay composed of a mixture of aluminum magnesium silicates, such as Montmorillonite, Kaolinite, Attapulgite, and Palygorskite. Deposits of fuller's earth are located in England, Japan, and the U.S. (Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Texas). Fuller's earth obtained its name because it originally was used for fulling wool; a process where oil and dirt were removed by kneading the wool in a mixture of water and fine earth. It is still used for dry cleaning carpets, fur, textiles and wool because it effectively absorbs oils and greases. Fuller's earth is also used as a filler in talcum powder, paint, paper, rubber, and epoxy resin.

Synonyms and Related Terms

floridin; attapulgite; palygorskite; bentonite; diatomite; montmorillonite; Fuller's earth (sp-no cap); fullers earth; tierra de Fuller (Esp.); Fullererde (Deut.)



  • Noncombustible.
  • ThermoFisher: SDS


Properties of Common Abrasives

Resources and Citations

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  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 346
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 4306
  • A Glossary of Paper Conservation Terms, Margaret Ellis (ed.), Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York City, 1998
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Marie Svoboda, Conservation Survey Index, unpublished, 1997
  • Tom Rowland, Noel Riley, A-Z Guide to Cleaning, Conserving and Repairing Antiques, Constable and Co., Ltd., London, 1981
  • George Savage, Art and Antique Restorer's Handbook, Rockliff Publishing Corp, London, 1954