Abrasives to clean gelcoat and fiberglass - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 05-10-2007
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Abrasives to clean gelcoat and fiberglass

We have cetol and other stains on our gelcoat and fiberglass from prior owners. The wife was using Comet (heavy cleaning abrasive) and a green abrasive scrubber brush (like you use on pots) to clean it off. I told her I wasn't sure if it was good for the surfaces to use it, but I'm not sure. Anyone have thoughts? If it's bad, what's good?
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Old 05-10-2007
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The green scotch brite is about a like 200 grit sand paper and comet is just as bad. If you want to fix what she did wet sand, rubbing compound then finesse it II... Never use abrasives for cleaning gelcoat it will make it oxidize more rapidly from all the micro abrasions..
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Old 05-10-2007
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NOT COMET ! The reason is that it is too coarse an abrasive and will gouge the hull. You need to wash it off really well and then get some rubbing compound, and an electric buffer. You can use a buffing pad on an electric drill if you don't want to buy the buffer but make sure you hold it fairly flat against the hull and don't use the edge or you will create little ridges that will look terrible in the sunshine.
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If you need to clean something with an abrasive...use BonAmi scouring powder with is much more gentle than Ajax. Another thing to try is a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
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We used the Mr. Clean Erasers - they're great !
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I first used the Magic Erasers when I was getting my house ready for sale... and they're amazing... just don't forget to buy them at Home Depot or Wal-Mart...rather than the marine store...
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Old 05-11-2007
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Try Soft Scrub - cheaper, better

I've been around pros who use it regularly to bring back tired gelcoat and it works well -- it can be found in any grocery store in the cleaning section.
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clabber girl (dollar general) works well too. Abrasive is Sodium Bicarb, aka baking soda. It keeps the fish-kissers happy and doesn't damage the gelcoat. Soft scrub works well too.
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"Easy off oven cleaner" will lift most 'paints and varnishes' off of gelcoat. Just apply and wait a bit for the cetol, etc. to 'lift'. You can enhance the effect by covering the EazyOff with saran wrap.

For that which still adheres, a single edge razor blade held at a very low angle of incidence to the gel will remove most of the remaining.

Cleansers are much too abrasive, including "soft Scrub".

After scraping, etc., you can simply compound out any inadvertant scratches by using either coarse fiberglass compound or 2000 grit wet&dry paper followed by fine and very fine compound grits such as 3M Finese-It and 3M Perfect-It.
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Dryed Cetol

MEK, Methyl Ethol Keytone, will remove dryed on Celtol and not harm or scratch your gel coat. It will almost all, including dryed varnish with a bit of rubbing, it will also remove all wax, so you should recoat areas cleaned.

Careful about the fumes this stuff is not healthy item to breathe.
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