Cleaning Tips

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Hints and Ideas from Sailors

WARNING: The best advice is to use bleach for mildew, soaps and detergents for other cleaning, but don't mix them together! Remember, bleach is a very powerful chemical, capable of all kinds of reactions. For example, never, ever, ever mix bleach (contains a "hypochlorite") and "ammoniated" cleansers. Bleach plus ammonia yields free chlorine gas, a very nasty way to die.

Please add your own successful cleaning and restoration ideas to this list.

  • Soft Scrub w/ Bleach - cleaning lifelines, cleaning inflatables
  • Rub Rail: Acetone and a Scotch Brite pad to clean the vinyl insert of the rub rail. Plus 2 coats of penetrol to preserve it, also puts a nice shine on the rubber. You can use the same rubbing compound, gel-coat restorer, etc., that you use on the boat. Cleans the rub rail great and is very easy to use. Then coat it with the same wax that you put on the boat. Looks great.
  • Use Rubbing Alcohol to clean up minor diesel spills and to eliminate the smell.
  • Lime-Away - Removes rust from fiberglass
  • Vanish Toilet Bowl Cleaner - Cleans scummy bootstripes and hulls
  • Future (floor polish) - Returns shine to old fiberglass non-skid areas
  • Varnish/Paint Touchup - Fill empty nail polish bottle for easy touchup, anytime. The nail polish bottle idea is great. Rather than clean an old one, buy new ones at a beauty parlor supply shop. Fill them using a small plastic syringe. For small touch ups, shaking the nail polish bottle beats opening a can of paint, mixing it, cleaning the mixer, cleaning a paint brush, and recovering the paint can.
  • Pledge furniture polish - for clear vinyl windows as a preservative (the plain stuff not Lemon Pledge).
  • Engine Staring fluid (Either) to clean the butyl rubber sealant from window frames when you remove them.
  • Wesley's whitewall cleaner is great for bird poo removal.
  • TSP and a dollop of dishsoap detergent in a bucket of warm water cleans a deck incredibly well. Use this a few times a season, and for the normal deck scrubbing, try Soft Scrub.
  • Axle grease on the prop to keep the Barnacles from sticking.
  • Pressure wash before waxing or using future to see the true bright white color of your deck. (1000 psi) Also great on lifelines, fenders, stainless, shroud covers, and to remove old Armada finish. Watch the high PSI from a pressure washer. because it can be like using a belt sander. Keep it moving.
  • Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner - works great on fiberglass surfaces and leaves a nice shine. It also works well on Lifelines and the vinyl trim on the dodger canvas. If you are going to try another bathroom cleaner be sure it is OK for use on fiberglass.
  • Brush Cleaner - (not to be confused with turpentine or mineral spirits), removes exhaust stains from fiberglass/gel coat. Also cleans up uncured fiberglass resin and unhardened epoxy. Good for cleaning Vinyl and gelcoat stains. Great for removing adhesive left from labels and price stickers. Restores brushes, too. Removes wax prior to paint or epoxy jobs. Best of all it rinses away with water.
  • Clean fenders with GOOF-OFF latex paint remover then coat with Armorall
  • Keep a box of BAKING SODA (Sodium Bicarbonate) on board. A weak solution (a handful in a quart of water) will remove the smell of Vomit, Toilet smells ( human or pet) or any similar odors. Store Soda in a moisture proof container.
  • Leftover silicone prevents paint from wetting a surface properly and therefore reduces adhesion and causes fish eyes (small paint free areas)