Sunbrella fabric and 303 retreatment - SailNet Community

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Old 12-29-2008
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Sunbrella fabric and 303 retreatment

I am attempting to renew my sailcover, bimini dodger etc sunbrella fabric with 303 protectant. Sunbrella recommends two lighter coats of 303 to renew and UV protection but reading the fine print on the bottle of 303 says
" Not for use on.... fabrics(canvas)" So I tryed 303 on winch cover and it did not stain the fabric but did not improve it's ability to shed water (waterproof) with out becoming wet itself. Of course, because the sunbrella is 6 or 7 years old, I may be asking to much of old fabric. We all feel a little poorer these last months so for now I have to make do with the old canvas. Any comments on 303 or other ways to "renew" sunbrella out there? Thanks!

Last edited by argofred; 12-29-2008 at 10:32 AM.
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There are two 303's out there. One is meant to re-waterproof acrylic canvas and other cloth-like materials, the other is meant to protect and condition plastics... You probably have the wrong one. See this website.

BTW, a simple google search for 303 waterproofing would have brought the two products up...
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Old 12-29-2008
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My Sunbrella bimini is also 6-7 years old. I 've tried 303, Starbrite PFTE and Scotchgard. I find best results from Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Repellent (Outdoor Fabrics) and the newer release Scotchgard Ultra Water Repellent with Mildew Block.
You should have the bimini machine washed first before applying the water repellent. Its good for 6 month. BTW, Scotchgard is alot cheaper than the other two. Unforunately for me, its getting harder to find these Scotchgard repellent in my neck of wood nowadays.
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Please do not machine wash Sunbrella unless it is the furniture grade. While the web site says it's okay we've found significantly shorter life when machine washing "top" grade Sunbrella. If it's "cushion grade" we've seen no problems with machine washing but ALWAYS use a front loader. The "top" grade or the stuff used for dodgers, bimini's etc. is impregnated with a component that gives it it's waterprrof and stiffness. Machine washing can destroy this. If you need to wash it do it in a kiddy pool with luke warm water and Ivory Snow or Dreft non-detergent laundry soap. Let it soak for a couple of days and the fabric will release the dirt into the bottom of the pool..

You want this - 303 Fabric Guard



NOT THIS - 303 Aerospace Protectant



Glen Raven Mills (Sunbrella) has tested a slew of products including Scotchbrite, and many others, and ONLY recommends 303 Fabric Guard for use on Sunbrella. They do not own or have any stake in 303 the company and Glen Raven makes zero money off this recommendation except to keep customers happy and the Sunbrella product lasting...
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 12-29-2008 at 08:55 PM.
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MaineSail, I was considering washing one of my covers in my front loader using the super delicate cycle and woolite. Do you think that would be OK?
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I still don't

Unless you are a year or two away from replacement I would not. If you still feel the need, pre-soak in luke warm for up to two days to fully "wet out" the fabric first.

Sunbrella has a unique way of coming out of a washing machine having never actually gotten wet and thus not clean. It takes a long time to fully wet out Sunbrealla if it's even the slightest bit in good condition..
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QS-

You're probably far better off washing it by hand in the bathtub.
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As for mine, I figure is my Sunbrella is leaking like a sieve, machine washing it is not going harm anything since the original coatings are all gone. I once did hand wash and coat it with 303, that didn't last long or did much good. I reckon there're still alot of dirt on the fabric. When I machine wash it (front loader) I find lots of speckles of black dirt came off with the washed water. Thereafter, recoating with the repellent really works great.
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Keep in mind that machine washing also takes a toll on stitching, particularly if it's polyester and not Goretex. Usually, UV weakened stitching breaks before the Sunbrella fabric needs replacing.

Maine Sail's recommendation of soaking in a kiddies pool sounds like a good idea.

Ronbo
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Home-made waterproofing agent

Has anyone at all experience with the home-made remedy I came across; mixing soy bean oil with 50% turpentine and spraying on? 2 parts oil to 1 part turpentine... There seems to be a general understanding to avoid silicone-based waterproofing with Sunbrella and this would, at least, qualify in that department...

In these recessionary times I am happy to save quite a few $$ by making something, but not entirely sure how destructive this mix may be. I am asking a chemist friend and hope to figure out the science behind the mix and would love to hear if anyone have tried it before.
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