Lifeline Cleaning

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I have noted in past emails and technical notes that some people strongly recommended using whitewall tire cleaner to clean lifelines and powercords but in recent years I have seen more people recommending Softscrub. Is one better than the other? Should both be avoided? I have seen other people suggest acetone, yet most say this causes sticky, gummy surfaces that make things worse. Any consensus on how to clean lifelines and powercords? Would appreciate the insights of owners. Thanks.

Mark Hazlett, Dot.Calm #763, Honolulu

  • Plain softscrub doesn't work near as well as softscrub with bleach. Whitewall tire cleaners I haven't tried yet but I have had some success using products such as Tilex or other mildew removers. It seems to me that the active ingredient that works best is bleach. The only drawback to the softscrub with bleach is that it must be rinsed really well as it has a tendency to leave a slight powdery residue when it dries if it's not all rinsed off. Acetone I would only use on lifelines if you can't clean them with anything else and then I would coat them with Penetrol to protect and seal them. They will be slightly sticky when the acetone is on them until they dry for a while. Steven Schultz, Relaxer C-27 (1974)

  • For weeks now I have been exercising my wallet and the cash register at my local West Marine by purchasing every container that contains something good for cleaning inflatable boats. I must have spent around $50 and nothing worked. Today, I just took a container of SoftScrub and a scrubbing brush to my inflatable and it worked a treat. Took a little bit of elbow grease (in this high humidity, 85 plus degrees we have today) but it was great. So, SoftScrub works for me. I'm going to try some of the vinyl and other cleaners on my lifelines. Perhaps it will work on those - since the lifelines are not textured, unlike the inflatable. Michael Yorke, Certa Cito C42 MkII, #573

  • I have used brush cleaner (Jabso brand) to clean lots of things on and around boats for years. It is less aggressive and volatile than acetone. Works on tar streaked fenders and removes the gum left from labels/pricetags, too. Charlie Pearsall TRWK, D E L I R I O U S #1515 (2000)

  • Try acetone. A piece of old towel, smallish, wet with acetone, and run it over a section of the lifeline. Go on, section after section. I wear rubber gloves to keep my hands away from the acetone. Watch out for plastic ports, etc. I also use the acetone to clean fenders. If the rag starts to drag, move on to another section of rag, as dirt is building up. Regards. Fred Sprigman, Islander Pearson 1991 31', Greenport, N.Y.