Should I clean my sails? - SailNet Community

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Old 10-17-2013
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Should I clean my sails?

First, I would like to thank everyone who responded to my question about whether to remove my halyards or not. I purchased my 1984 Catalina 30 this past summer. Not sure how old the sails are but not original and in pretty good shape. Lets say for argument sake, main(approx 10-12yrs) headsail(8yrs). Should I clean my sails annually before storing for winter? What kind of detergent should I use? Should I use a deck brush? Any reccomendations as to folding? Would it be better to store in my basement rather than back in the boat considering the winter temperatures here the northeast or doesn't it matter. Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-17-2013
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Re: Should I clean my sails?

Clean them if you like, but rinsing the salt off of them is more important than cleaning.

Sails don't mind cold, but keep them dry. Mold and mildew are the real enemies.
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Old 10-18-2013
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Re: Should I clean my sails?

My sails go here every year. Their vacuum system will clean inside places you can't reach manually, such as seams. The other great advantage is they will keep the sails until you need them back in the Spring. Many sail lofts use these guys too. I believe they pick up and deliver all around New England. They charge by the pound.

Sail Washing, Vacu-Wash, Remove Sail Mildew | Sailmaking Support Systems

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Old 10-18-2013
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Re: Should I clean my sails?

I think the question is do you want or need to clean them. One would assume that every time your sails get soaked and scrubbed there is a little wear and tear. If their not "dirty" then I would just rinse them really good with some clean fresh water, Dry them thoroughly, fold them up, and store them in the house somewhere dry. Putting them in a box and out of the sunlight will help too. This is assuming that you have a place that you can do all of this without damaging them. If there is a little staining that you want to get rid of they can be soaked in oxyclean. Just follow the soaking instructions on the back of the container. Mine were really stained and dirty so they took 3 hours of soaking. I also ran a soft scrub brush over them but I don't think it did anything. They turned out very clean and there was no visible damage done. I think it is important to note that my sails are made of darcon and I don't know what the results would be for other materials. I did this last year. This year I just made sure they were dry and I threw the bags in a closet that doesn't get used.
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Old 10-18-2013
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Re: Should I clean my sails?

I rinse/clean mine when necessary(once a year). I do nothing special. This year they are off to Sailcare for inspection/stitching and cleaning. It will be the first time. I've seen their work; looks fantastic. My sails are about 5 years old.
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Old 10-18-2013
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Re: Should I clean my sails?

Make sure they are fully dry before storing them even if you do not wash them. So if you remove them in the early morning they are likely damp so open them up in the sun if possible. And it is by far best to store them off the boat, unless you do not have any storage, like a small apartment. In this case fold them and keep them in a dry place on the boat, but don't leave them on the boom. Mold seems to be the enemy on sails. So it might not hurt to throw in a few descant packs as you fold the sail up.
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Old 10-18-2013
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Re: Should I clean my sails?

I usually just spot clean them with mild soap & water, maybe a little oxyclean for the stains . The main field usually doesn't get dirty it is usually the ends & edges where the bugs & spiders get that gets dirty. Then a good rinse overall & dry thoroughly.
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