Cleaning and care of dodger windows
Any suggestions on what to use to clean and protect the plastic windows on my dodger? I have canvas covers for them that will be used.
Also, the same about the plexiglass hatches on the deck?
I searched and couldn't find anything.
Dodger: To clean and protect...wash with soap and water and on the glass use LEMON PLEDGE. Works great. If you get deep scratches, and you will, there are products that will bring them back somewhat.
Plexi Hatches, Armour All is the best that I have found to maintain them. When they get scratched or hazy over time try Prism Polish. Great stuff for fiberglass renewal and metal as well.
I have to disagree with using Pledge. Most contemporary boats/ dodgers use eisenglass or newer materials which will deteriorate much more rapidly if you use this stuff which obviously isn't made for this application. If your dodger windows are quite old, it probably makes no difference but if you want to preserve the plasticizers and prevent aging/yellowing, use something designed for present day materials.
There are a few from which to choose and everyone has their favorite so I won't bother offending anyone (else) by saying one is preferable, however, some common sense is always good when choosing something to protect a valuable material like the windows.
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Most quality dodger glass these days is Strataglass or similar. PLEASE DO NOT use Pledge or any other product not specifically designed to be safe with optically treated dodger glass. If your windows are Strataglass use ONLY Imar cleaning products. If they are not Strataglass still use Imar it is worth every penny.
#301 IMAR Strataglass Protective Cleaner
#302 IMAR Strataglass Protective Polish
You really need to know what type of windows they are first. Are they a thicker .40 mil type of window or standard, inexpensive type windows. The thicker, high quality, windows are a "coated" glass for optimal optical clarity.
Use of products other than Imar or what is recommended WILL RUIN this thin surface coating! If they are Strataglass, or any of the other low distortion coated glass,DO NOT use any of the products mentioned below as you WILL ruin them. My very good friend owns marine canvas business and I can't even begin to tell you how many windows Seth has replaced due to people using Pledge, 303 Aerospace Protectant, Armorall, Rain X, or "gulp" Brasso, yes one customer insisted a "guy on the dock" said it was the best!
Barr none Imar makes the best treatments, waxes, and polishes specifically for the "high quality" windows. Strataglass used to sell their OWN product they now only recomend Imar because it is far superior to even thier own product that they actually made a profit on.
While Plexus makes some fine products, as does Meguiar's, these products are still NOT recommended for Strataglass and should NOT be used on high quality optically treated dodger windows. Even on the cheap windows the Imar products work far better than any of the other available treatments such as 210.
Please research what you have for glass and then decide what is the appropriate treatment.Strataglass has NO ownership in Imar just like Glen Raven Mills (Sunbrella) has NO stake in 303 Fabric Guard. One of the biggest mistakes we see is that 303 Fabric Guard is not to be confused but often is & with drastic results the 303 Aerospace Protectant! If you get either of these products on Strataglass it WILL ruin it!
These manufacturers have chosen the finest products to give their products a reputation as being LONG Lasting. Taking short cuts on Canvas treatments or glass treatments can cost you big time! Trust me my friend Seth usually has a backlog of about 40 glass replacements to do before spring.
Here are some tips to help you care for dodger glass:
1) Don't touch the glass with your fingers especially with sunscreen!
2) Use only mild soap like Imar's boat soap when washing the baot if you plan to get the windows wet with soap.
3) Do not constantly put your dodger up and down. Nothing destroys a dodger or windows faster than this. If your dodger was designed correctly it should never need to be "folded".
4) Do not let the main sail fall onto the windows when flaking the main as it can scratch the glass.
5) Do not use paper towels to clean the windows they are VERY abrasive!
6) Use only CLEAN microfiber rags (available at an auto parts store) for polishing the glass and treating it or LINT free soft cotton polishing rags.
7) Do not allow anyone to rest their head against the inside of the glass while sitting under the dodger. Hair chemicals, combined with sweat can penetrate the glass and with the sun create serious imperfections in the optical quality.
8) Never use a wash & wax type product to clean your boat or dodger.
9) Learn to live with small scratches. I can't stress this enough. Trying to buff out small scratches will impact a much larger area than the small scratch. Once the optical coating is "buffed away", from polishing out a scratch, it's all down hill from that point forward. Deal with the scratches and learn to minimize them by not folding your dodger or cleaning it with abrasive products. Common sense goes a LONG way here...
Strataglass Cleaning Instructions (LINK)
I've used this stuff for many years. Spray it on and then take a soft cloth and polish it. Always work great for me.
I don't know anything about the new window material that Maine is talking about but I would think that if this product harmed it they would warn you.
Sumner Laboratories Inc
After reading their maintainence instructions I don't feel like using much like using strataglass on my new dodger.
"For the customer: We recommend using IMAR protective Polish every 1 to 2 months. In the interim, use IMAR Strataglass Protective Cleaner frequently."
I have decided not to be a slave to the teak so why would I want to be a slave to the windows?
We have lexan windows in out dodger and have had great luck with a product called Plexus.. recommended by the dodger maker, it's a product used in aviation as well. Simple spray, spread and buff out.
Our new dodger is Makrolon AR2 which is double sided abrasion resistant polycarbonate/Lexan. I still use Imar on it as more abrasive stuff can eat through the abrasion resistant coating. If using Plexus I would use the least aggressive one. Our last dodger was Strataglass and the glass outlasted the Sunbrella, and three re-stitchings and the Strataglass still looked like new when we through it in the dumpster...
We use Davies Klear-To-Sea.
Thanks for all the suggestions. I couldn't find Imar products locally, but was able to find the Plexus cleaner so that is what I used. Worked well, and I was amazed at the amount of dirt that came off.
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