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Sail Cleaning

szpatterson

New Member
A few day trips into the sailing season, I've started to get bothered by the rust spots on my sail (I know, just a vanity thing...). The Sunfish KB suggests Star Brite Sail/Canvas Cleaner, or the specialized Rust Remover.

So, my question is, does the Star Brite cleaner also remove rust stains? Or will i have to buy the specialized stuff?

Sam
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
my question is, does the Star Brite cleaner also remove rust stains? Or will i have to buy the specialized stuff?
Different types of stains require different sorts of removers. It's simply a matter of chemistry.

General sail washing detergents may contain small amounts of the chemical or chemicals needed for removing common stains (if all are compatible), but if the stain is heavy it usually requires a higher strength application than an all-around sail wash would contain.

There are two products I've seen advertised. One I know is a pre-mixed commercial version of a household cleaner, Oxalic Acid. This chemical is commonly known as "wood bleach", available as a powder you mix in water and found in most hardware stores. Though it sounds noxious, Oxalic Acid is what gives Rhubarb its tangy flavor.

The commercial product is Whink Rust Stain Remover ...


http://www.whink.com/products.php?cP...0afc7s0pqa1mj1



Recommended by Neil Pryde Sails for use on polyester sails

The other product I've not been able to find the chemical content of ... yet. I don't know if it's actually Sail-Safe.

It is marketed by WashSafe Industries and noted as a "green" product. WashSafe also makes a sail cleaner, for whatever that relationship might be worth...

Here's the homeopathic and the commercial skinny on sail cleaning from the major sail makers ...

Courtesy of the Sunfish_Sailor Support Group
 

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szpatterson

New Member
Thanks, wayne. I'll be sure to stop by Ace Hardware and look for some oxalic acid.

I have no idea what was causing the rust stains, they were there when i bought the boat (and sail). In the time the boat has been in my posession, i haven't had any new stains appear, so it looks like im simply cleaning up the previous owners mess.....
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
Thanks, wayne. I'll be sure to stop by Ace Hardware and look for some oxalic acid.

I have no idea what was causing the rust stains, they were there when i bought the boat (and sail). In the time the boat has been in my posession, i haven't had any new stains appear, so it looks like im simply cleaning up the previous owners mess.....
Wood bleach is what they will most likely refer to it as. Check the label, there's also a variety that uses H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) and I don't believe that one will work to clean off rust stains.

Let us know if that works for you. Sometimes mildew can look rusty brown so another cleaner might be called for.

.
 

szpatterson

New Member
In raiding my dad's store of cleaners and chemicals, i found a nearly full bottle labled as "rust remover", in which the active ingredient is phosporic acid, not oxalic acid. Is this safe for the sails?
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
In raiding my dad's store of cleaners and chemicals, i found a nearly full bottle labled as "rust remover", in which the active ingredient is phosporic acid, not oxalic acid. Is this safe for the sails?
LOL ... YES ! that's the active ingredient in soda pop and what your grandpa used to clean the chrome bumpers of his car with. :p

Be aware ... it turns rust from reddish to black, then you have to wash out the black..., which might be another issue. Unknown to me how much washing and rinsing that might take.

Please do read the instructions on the bottle or find more info on-line. Other ingredients in the mixture might not be sail friendly.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phosphoric_acid#Rust_removal

.
 

szpatterson

New Member
Thanks for the help. I just temporarily 'retired' my 35 year old sail for a slightly used spare I got with my boat, so I'll test it out on that old sail before risking staining the mostly white sail with chemicals.
 

chau8238

67 Sunfish
In raiding my dad's store of cleaners and chemicals, i found a nearly full bottle labled as "rust remover", in which the active ingredient is phosporic acid, not oxalic acid. Is this safe for the sails?

I have some of that at home. I also have chrome cleaner. Good luck and let me know how it turns out.
 

mike4947

Member
Phosphoric acid converts rust (iron oxide) to iron phosphate which is a gray substance. It works by chemical action and forms a hard surface suitable as a primer so IMHO I wouldn't use it on a sail, only hard metals.
 

Fred P

Member
Found this on a sail sellers site for cleaning sails:

Dilute two tablespoons of Woolite and 1-2 cups of vinegar in one gallon of water.

I haven't tried this so I can't say it works. The site said some customers had success with this.

Fred
 

szpatterson

New Member
Found this on a sail sellers site for cleaning sails:

Dilute two tablespoons of Woolite and 1-2 cups of vinegar in one gallon of water.


Fred
Does it say this is for rust stains?

Mike4947... thats why im trying it on my old, battered sail... lets just hope i can scrub out the iron phospate. otherwise, i suppose it will just have a little black spot. Again, its the old one, so im not that concerened.
 

Fred P

Member
Did not say what the mix would do. It was a general sail cleaning suggestion.
My wife has some rust removal stuff for the laundry called Magica which contains oxalic acid.
It says it can be used on MOST surfaces except glass. No mention of any other material.

magica@athenet.net is the email on the bottle.

Fred
 
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