Removing rust stains from "Starboard" - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 20 Old 04-29-2010 Thread Starter
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Removing rust stains from "Starboard"

My C250's perch seats have some serious brown stains on them from crevice corrosion at stainless contact points. Now that the boat is out of a salt water environment, I would like to remove the rust stains. I've removed the rust from the stainless parts easily with oxalic acid and steel wool. However, the Starboard has been much tougher to clean. I tried the Whisk Rust Stain Remover (hydrofloric acid based) and it didn't touch it. I tried bleach and it didn't work either. I also tried some Soft Scrub, and it took some out but still a lot left.

Any suggestions of what would help remove it without damaging the plastic?

Once it's gone I plan to bed the seat material onto the stainless frame with non-adhesive caulk to fill the gaps and prevent water intrusion into the crevices. Any suggestions of what kind of caulk would be best. (I'm told not to use silicone caulk on plastic materials.)


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Last edited by TakeFive; 04-29-2010 at 02:24 PM.
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post #2 of 20 Old 04-29-2010
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I really hope you didn't use steel wool on the stainless steel. Doing so pretty much guarantees that you'll have rust problems in the future. It embeds tiny steel particles in the stainless steel that become starting sites for future corrosion.

As for the plastic... did you try using MaryKate On-and-Off Gel? If that doesn't work, you can always try Spotless Stainless, which I reviewed not too long ago, and works pretty well at removing rust stains and cleaning up stainless steel.

If the area you want to bed the stainless is underneath the seats, you could always try butyl tape to seal/fill the space between the steel and the starboard. However, my suggestion would be to passivate the stainless steel and not use any sealant or caulk. Stainless steel corrodes far more readily if deprived of oxygen... Spotless Stainless is a treatment that is designed to passivate the surface of the stainless steel and help reduce future corrosion.

Here is a photo of the stainless steel swim ladder on my boat prior to applying and using Spotless Stainless.



Here is the same swim ladder after using Spotless Stainless once:



'Nuf said.

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post #3 of 20 Old 04-29-2010 Thread Starter
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Well, I did make some limited use of steel wool for a couple of really tough spots. What's done is done, but I can paint on some plastic stuff and peel it off to remove as many of the fragments as possible. I'll be sure to do that before I replace the seats.

I saw your review of spotless stainless but did not see anything about how it works on plastics. Acids work great on metal and ceramics because they dissolve a molecular layer, loosening the rust particles so they remove easily. Ditto for fiberglass - that's why oxalic acid is so good for removing discoloration. But this starboard plastic (which I think is HDPE) seems to be much more resistant to acid, so I am not confident that your Spotless Stainless would be successful. Have you tried it on stained starboard?

We have 80's temperatures coming this weekend, so I really want the seats to be installed by Saturday. No time to order anything online.


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post #4 of 20 Old 04-29-2010
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I'll let you know, as I'll be treating the starboard stern rail seats from my boat later this month.
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Well, I did make some limited use of steel wool for a couple of really tough spots. What's done is done, but I can paint on some plastic stuff and peel it off to remove as many of the fragments as possible. I'll be sure to do that before I replace the seats.

I saw your review of spotless stainless but did not see anything about how it works on plastics. Acids work great on metal and ceramics because they dissolve a molecular layer, loosening the rust particles so they remove easily. Ditto for fiberglass - that's why oxalic acid is so good for removing discoloration. But this starboard plastic (which I think is HDPE) seems to be much more resistant to acid, so I am not confident that your Spotless Stainless would be successful. Have you tried it on stained starboard?

We have 80's temperatures coming this weekend, so I really want the seats to be installed by Saturday. No time to order anything online.

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post #5 of 20 Old 04-29-2010
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I would use the FSR product on plastic...including Dacron sails. Use the GEL, not the liquid Dab some on with a glue brush.
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post #6 of 20 Old 04-29-2010
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I just bought FSR it didnt' work on rust stains around the ladder flanges on the transom of my boat, CLR didn't work either. spotless stainless looks great for the metal ! I must get some.

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post #7 of 20 Old 04-29-2010 Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I just bought FSR it didnt' work on rust stains around the ladder flanges on the transom of my boat, CLR didn't work either...
It sounds like Denise already tried what some of you are suggesting, and it did not work.

So let me ask my question a different way. Who here has actually removed rust stains from starboard plastic, and what did you use?

My purpose of asking here is to get actual experience, not hypotheses of what might work. I have plenty of the latter already.


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post #8 of 20 Old 04-30-2010
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The Mr. Clean Magic Erasers work very well with stains on plastic and vinyl. I've used them for rust on HDPE with good results
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post #9 of 20 Old 04-30-2010
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We have a thick Starboard wear plate in front of our Windlass that the chain runs over as it is taken in or deployed and accordingly develops rust stains. I found that thoroughly saturating a paper towel with Wink Rust Stain Remover--a mild acid solution--and laying it over the stain will get most, but not all of the stain out. It seems that Starboard is more porus than one might expect and it takes a long while for the acid to gobble up the iron oxide. In no case use a bleaching agent--an Oxidizer--which will only exacerbate the staining.

FWIW...

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post #10 of 20 Old 04-30-2010
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For about $4, you can buy a gal of muriatic acid (dilute) at any hardware or pool store which works far better than anything else suggested, doesn't damage anything and is very easy to use.

I've used it on SS, aluminum, gelcoat stains and starboard stains equally well. Just rinse off when you are done and wear latex or neoprene gloves.
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