cleaning mylar sails? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 11 Old 01-08-2007 Thread Starter
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Wink cleaning mylar sails?

does anyone know how to get mildew off mylar sails? I sent my roller furled jib out to Sailcare in Pa., they sent it back and told me it can't be cleaned. was wondering if anyone has any ideas or experience. the sail is part mylar and part dacron I believe.

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post #2 of 11 Old 01-08-2007
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hate to say it..but as i understand...they are the best..and if they can't clean em...nobody can...

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post #3 of 11 Old 01-09-2007
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No, the problem is that the mildew grows between the layers of laminate....and trying to clean between the layers is almost impossible.

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post #4 of 11 Old 01-09-2007
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SD, your right I also sent my sails to Sailcare and if you can clean between the laminations it causes the sail to delaminate which would be a lot worse than dirty sails. The guy at Sailcare told me they have spent a lot of time and money trying to come up with a method to clean Mylar sails and so far have been unsuccessful. He said they could add thousands to their bottom line if they could come up with a way. The answer right now is there is no way.
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post #5 of 11 Old 01-09-2007 Thread Starter
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thanks, that what I suspected. will just have to sail with dirty sails!!
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post #6 of 11 Old 01-09-2007
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Lou,

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post #7 of 11 Old 01-12-2007
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You may want to contact a contractor that does clean up and restoration in buildings. They have equipment that use UV-C light equipment that kills mold and just about everything by changing the DNA chain in the organizm so it can no longer grow. It won't clean the sail, but could stop the molds from growing. In the HVAC industry, we use the UV-C bulbs to sterilize the air and to kill growth on filters, cooling coils and condensate pans. Before and after tests actually show cooling coils becoming bright and clean again after the organizms are killed. It has a wide range of uses.

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post #8 of 11 Old 01-13-2007
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Wayne25-

You seem to forget that UV is damaging to many of the materials used in sails... so using a strong UV source could cause more problems than the unsightly but essentially harmless mildew does in this case. And given a marine environment, where high humidity, salt and water are ever present, the chance of the treatment actually stopping the growth of the mildew is slim to none. It would kill and stop what is currently there, but it is unlikely that it would prevent future recurrences of the problem.

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post #9 of 11 Old 01-13-2007
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SD - This is not the full spectum of all UV light. Just UV-C and for a short duration. I would certainly ask the contractor if the sail material would be damaged before doing it. But it doesn't seem to damage the wide range of plastics used in my industry.
Yes, it would be a one time kill. But does everyone with mylar sails have this problem. Purhaps the sails were put away wet for a long period. Thought it worth a try.

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post #10 of 11 Old 01-13-2007
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Wayne-

Also, just killing the mildew doesn't clean up the ugly stains it will leave behind AFAIK.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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