Oxalic acid for topsides stains? - SailNet Community

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Old 07-14-2008
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Oxalic acid for topsides stains?

Will oxalic acid clean up deep and sometimes almost black tannic acid and carbon stains from leaves and seedling pods? The '83 Hunter 20 sailboat I just bought was stored poorly away under a tree... and if so ..how is oxalic acid usually sold..hardware store? Thanks,
Morgan
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It should work fairly well on those. Look at the hardware for cleaning supplies, they usually come in crystals, specifically in the TSP section and the deck cleaner areas. Most deck cleaners (wooden housed-hold decks) contain oxalic acid as their primary ingredient.
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Bleach

I use neat bleach with a blue deck brush on a telescoping handle for all organic stains. Just pour , work it in, and rinse with a hose. Works like magic and is dirt cheap.
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I have always used bleach (Chlorox, pool chlorine, sodium hypochlorite solution) for cleaning stains, including crushed spiders, tree sap, bird droppings and Mississippi mud. Inexpensive, works well. Best to dilute it to 1% or less. Laundry bleach is usually 6% (dilute 5 parts water to one of Chlorox,) pool chlorine is usually 20% (dilute 19 to one with water,) and if you are familiar with the term "sodium hypochlorite" you probably know enough chemistry that I don't need to tell you how to dilute!
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Bleach should be diluted and is a pretty strong oxidizer. Don't let it sit on your decks, etc... for prolonged periods of time. And, under no circumstances mix oxalic acid, or any other acid, with bleach.
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Oxalic acid is the best thing for this job. Rather than getting the crystals get "Barkeepers Friend" at WalMart or Publix. It's amazing for removing rust stains from stainless and fiberglass.
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Chlorox has an outdoor version you can spray on direct and it works great. It has a green label (green in color and green as in environmental safe)and can be found in stores such as Home depot and Lowes. I spray the deck with water first, then spray the "outdoor chlorox", let it set for 4-5 min. and rinse it off.
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Oxalic acid is often found at the hardware store as "wood bleach", usually in the paint department.
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On & Off sold in all marine stores for cleaning stains from the waterline is basically an acid mixture. I use it every fall after hauling. Works great. It should work well for the stains you have also. My only reservation would be if you topsides are colored, not while. Acid may change the color.
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