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Sunfish Sail Cleaning

Drew Kobasa

New Member
Yesterday I went sailing and when I got back I hung up my sail for it to dry. When I came out to take it down a bird crapped all over it. It's an all white sail so what should I do to clean it? I've tried just water and a washcloth, but I can't get the stains out. Any Suggestions? Bleach? Thanks for the help.


New Member
I had similar event with my Hobie 16 sail. Involved purple berries (Birds seemed to love them) . The first thing I would try would be diluted liquid dish soap with water. Due to bright purple stains that was insufficient for me. I used water and oxy-clean mixture with good results. I laid it out on a tarp so I wouldn't pick up anything from underneath. Give it a few minutes to work and maybe a gentle rub with soft cloth. Rinse well. Abrasion is not a friend to sails so work gently.


Well-Known Member
how old is the sail? If it's an oldie, I've gently used a bleach mixture...gently... but I wouldn't do that on a newer sail....especially if the resin in the cloth is still pretty decent. Old timer jibs and sails on other boats...mud dabbers, birds nest in sail covers, etc... it "kinda works". Gets rid of 75% of the stain. Typical start at the least aggressive and work up. Gently soaking in water?


Well-Known Member
When I came out to take it down a bird crapped all over it.
That bird is comin' for ya! :D

Seriously, I looked all over Google for an answer. Most answers for sails didn't want chemicals (like bleach or acetone) touching dacron. :confused: Laminated sails (such as Hobie's) were especially damaged by chemicals. :eek:

The one answer that made sense was to make a paste of a mild detergent, and let it sit a while. Another suggestion was to use sunlight to "UV it out".

If your berry stain removal is unsuccessful, hydrogen peroxide @ 3% concentration is a mild chemical which I've used very successfully for pet stains on wood floors. Although I'm in the UV school of thought, try a small spot, and let us know how it works out. :)