Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Nanaimo, B.C., Canada
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No Bleach for Spinnaker
I posted the following on another thread a couple of weeks ago. Hope it helps.
I followed the advise below that I received from a PNW sailmaker:
Cleaning Dacron Sails:
- Clean sails on a smooth surface. Avoid pavement and gravel or you will find yourself sanding the back of your sail as you clean the front.
- Use a mild soap solution and fresh water.
- Use a soft bristle brush to remove dirt and salt.
- Rinse thoroughly with fresh water. Keep rinsing until all soap residue is removed.
- To remove oil or tar stains use a very small amount of lighter fluid.
- To remove mildew sailcloth manufacturers recommend a highly diluted solution of Sodium Hypochlorite (3-5%). Because it is toxic to you and the environment, we (Port Townsend Sails) object to the use of bleach except as a last resort. We have also heard and common sense leads us to concur that bleach strips the coating from thread and leaves stitching vulnerable to UV damage. NEVER USE BLEACH ON NYLON OR LAMINATED SAILS.
- A hot tip for cleaning sails from PT Sails staff: Dilute 2 Tbs Woolite and 1-2 cups of vinegar in 1 gallon of water. Some of our customers have had great luck with this solution. (I used it and it did a decent job).
Cleaning Nylon Sails
- Clean spinnakers and other light air sails made of Nylon by rinsing with fresh water.
- Do not use bleach or other solvents; they will damage the fabric!
- Dry the sails by hanging in a well ventilated area.
- Avoid flogging.
- When you are sure no moisture remains on the sails, fold or roll sails loosely.
- Store sails in a dry, well ventilated area away from direct heat.
Note: Keeping sails clean and dry is an essential part of sail maintenance. Storing sails out of the elements when not in use can prolong their life by years.
Also, the best way to clean mildew is to clean it early. If it has set up well, (and if you have a tub or container big enough) soak the sail for a few hours in the above mentioned cleaning solution and just scrub it once with the soft brush, but that is it. Over doing it will only damage the sail cloth and stitching and will not remove the mildew any way!! Mildew is ugly, but isn't that hard on the sail.
Hope this helps,
Point Roberts, Wash. Marina
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