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Bull City

Cleaning Sails

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This thread was archived, so I'm starting a new one.

I'm cleaning my dacron jib, and there are some dark gray streaks that seem to be from air pollution. I've tried dish soap with bleach, Shout, and Goo Gone. The stains are better, but not gone.

Any suggestions on what to try?

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Oxy bleach - oxalic acid, NOT chlorine.

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1 hour ago, SloopJonB said:

Oxy bleach - oxalic acid, NOT chlorine.

Oxy bleach or Oxalic acid?

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Like "Oxy-Clean" has in it.  Chlorine bleach will damage the dacron...

Have you asked your sailmaker what he/she recommends?

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Just tried some Barman's Friend that I had on hand. It has oxalic acid. I wiped it on, scrubbed a bit, and then rinsed it off. It didn't do very much.

24 minutes ago, Crash said:

Have you asked your sailmaker what he/she recommends?

Haven't called him. He's Oriental, NC, likely dealing with Florence aftermath.

The sail is drying in the sun right now. It looks better than it did, and I'll probably stop at this point and put it back on the furler.

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I hope you rinsed the shit out of it after applying Barkeeper's Friend. It's got some pretty aggressive abrasive.

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47 minutes ago, IStream said:

I hope you rinsed the shit out of it after applying Barkeeper's Friend. It's got some pretty aggressive abrasive.

I did.

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5 hours ago, Bull City said:

This thread was archived, so I'm starting a new one.

I'm cleaning my dacron jib, and there are some dark gray streaks that seem to be from air pollution. I've tried dish soap with bleach, Shout, and Goo Gone. The stains are better, but not gone.

Any suggestions on what to try?

Do you have anything else with that same stain you can test aggressively to at least see what type of soil it is?  Also can you tell if the stain is on the surface or in the material now?   I have never cleaned a sail, so proceed with caution if you try any of the following, but we clean dozens of filthy boats RVs and cars every year including rentals, and the following cleaning strategies have worked well.   Scrubbing/agitating works for surface stains, but soaking and pressurized spray works best for penetrating ones(air powered cleaning gun, not pressure washer).   I have had excellent results with Spot Shot or CRC glass cleaner(both contain 2-butoxyethanol) and magic erasers on light coloured canvas and vinyl cushions for surface stains.  

Aersol can upholstery cleaners can often have good results too, and often contain ingredients not available in other cleaners.   I've been testing Aktiv-Clean(from Wurth) followed up with a cleaning gun rinse with a mild fabric cleaner to remove tobacco smoke, grease and some mold staining from fabric headliners in a couple disgusting vehicles, once the runoff was vacuumed up they looked nearly new.  You might try looking for something with the same active ingredients, I have been amazed at what it removes. 

I've never found goo gone to be much good, if it's improving with degreaser type products, try looking for higher concentrations of D-limonene PH neutral products.   I would stay away from anything scrubbing or polishing(barkeepers friend for example) to avoid the abrasives.   Hydrogen peroxide is great on organic stains where you don't want to use bleach to lighten a stain.   Acidic cleaners work well on some as well, but I'd stay away from abrasive ones, use the magic eraser if you need a mild abrasive action. 

 

All else failing, I would try Isopropyl alcohol(non-polar solvent) and xylene(polar solvent) on a sample material with the same staining, one should be much faster than the other.  NOT on your sails though.  If one works better than the other, you now have a direction to work in.  Start from the mildest of whichever solvent type is more effective and work up from there until you are happy with the result, or hit the point at which further strength of chemicals will damage the surface. 

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I've found the key to cleaning dacron sails of general dirt is to soak them in a quite dilute bleach solution (so-called oxy bleaches work well - they generally contain sodium hypochlorite) for a long time. I get the largest tarp I can find, lay the sail on it and wet it, lightly scrub them with the bleach solution (both sides), roll up the tarp and leave it for a couple of days, maybe re-wetting it once or twice. Rinse thoroughly and dry. Generally works well.

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5 hours ago, Bull City said:

Just tried some Barman's Friend that I had on hand. It has oxalic acid. I wiped it on, scrubbed a bit, and then rinsed it off. It didn't do very much.

Barkeeps Friend is designed for scrubbing stainless sinks, pots & pans and the like - it does a good job of that but it's not the right product for fabrics.

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4 hours ago, Fleetwood said:

I've found the key to cleaning dacron sails of general dirt is to soak them in a quite dilute bleach solution (so-called oxy bleaches work well - they generally contain sodium hypochlorite) for a long time. I get the largest tarp I can find, lay the sail on it and wet it, lightly scrub them with the bleach solution (both sides), roll up the tarp and leave it for a couple of days, maybe re-wetting it once or twice. Rinse thoroughly and dry. Generally works well.

Sodium hypochlorite is the active ingredient on standard household bleach. It will attack Dacron. Oxy bleaches contain percarbonates that react in water to produce hydrogen peroxide and won't hurt Dacron.

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Correct! I've generally used percarbonates but have also successfully used chlorine bleaches - the key seems to be keeping them dilute then there is very little damage.

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46 minutes ago, IStream said:

Sodium hypochlorite is the active ingredient on standard household bleach. It will attack Dacron. Oxy bleaches contain percarbonates that react in water to produce hydrogen peroxide and won't hurt Dacron.

Finally, someone who paid attention in chemistry class.

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Threads a bit old but fwiw I had great success in getting 30 year old sails and cushion covers clean by buying a large plastic rubbish bin , liberally sprinkling aldi nappy wash on sail as loading into bin , filling with water and leaving for 24 hours.every few hours  I agitated  the bin contents with a broom. The warmer the water the better.I then hosed down the sail and left to dry in sun. One sail required a second go unfortunately this did not totally removed rust stains.

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On 9/26/2018 at 4:32 AM, Ozmex said:

Threads a bit old but fwiw I had great success in getting 30 year old sails and cushion covers clean by buying a large plastic rubbish bin , liberally sprinkling aldi nappy wash on sail as loading into bin , filling with water and leaving for 24 hours.every few hours  I agitated  the bin contents with a broom. The warmer the water the better.I then hosed down the sail and left to dry in sun. One sail required a second go unfortunately this did not totally removed rust stains.

30 year old sails? Seriously?

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Of course doesn’t everybody have a spare set. Actually 1989 boat bought last year with original sails .Used them till new ones arrived. Should have waited till off the drugs before I bought boat .Everything was original. 

 

 

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On 11/1/2018 at 11:19 PM, Herreshoff said:

I’ve heard Tidy Bowl works well.

That probably explains the light blue sails I noticed out on the lake this year

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