Best way to strip wax? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 16 Old 10-22-2010 Thread Starter
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Best way to strip wax?

Even after a thorough washing, my deck still has some grayish areas. When I look closely there is a swirly pattern to it. Scrubbing with a 3M plastic pad and detergent water does not take it off. Solvents of various types (gasoline, acetone) take it off, but I don't want to do solvent over the whole boat for various reasons, including the risk of damaging the finish.

I am virtually positive that the discoloration is caused by old wax that a previous owner put on the boat, and it has discolored with UV exposure and general weathering. I would like to find a mild waterbased solution that will strip it off without a whole lot of hard scrubbing. A friend suggested adding ammonia to detergent water to cut through the wax. Do you guys have any other suggestions for what will work?


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1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1994 Mason 44 Firefly on loan from my BFF (West River, Galesville, MD)
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post #2 of 16 Old 10-22-2010
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To remove wax from gelcoat use a caustic detergent (TSP - TriSodiiumPhosphate or SodiumSilicate base), apply HOT and let soak/scrub then rinse with LOTS of water. Caution - do not allow TSP, or other caustics to come in contact with teak. TSP can be found in dry format in paint and hardware stores - to mix, pour into hot water until no more TSP crystals will dissolve.
To remove 'shadow staining', iron or tannin staining after TSP treatment --- rinse thoroughly then apply Oxalic acid. Oxalic can be obtained in mosts paint/hardware stores. Mixing is the same as for TSP.

If the discoloration was due to degrading 'acrylic coating' such as Polyglow, Island Girl, etc. then you need to extract using those mfg. recommended strippers .... or LOTS of acetone.
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post #3 of 16 Old 04-20-2011
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Removing acrylic wax which had been applied annually for about 10 years.

Ammonia is just about able to remove old acrylic wax. Scratched or damaged areas respond best. Application with a spray bottle, ensuring the area remains wetted for about 10 minutes, prior to "vigorous" rubbing with an ammonia soaked cloth. It's very hard work. Use protective eye glasses and gloves and don't go sniffing the bottle or cloth!!!!!

ONLY FOR THE BRAVE, IMPATIENT OR FOOLHARDY:
A faster (and very risky) alternative is to use Nitromors paint remover. EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION . THIS STUFF DAMAGES GELCOAT IF LEFT FOR TOO LONG. Select an area about 2' square, apply nitromors with a 2" paintbrush and agitate the area with the same brush until the wax begins to soften (less than 1 minute proved to be long enough). At this point use a sharp plastic scraper and quickly remove the softened wax. Use a sponge wetted with a solution of water and washing up liquid to remove all traces of Nitromors. Select another square and repeat the process
Experimenting with a scrap GRP hatch cover, the Nitromors started disolving the gelcoat after 6 minutes. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!
READ THE NITROMORS INSTRUCTIONS. IT IS A DANGEROUS SUBSTANCE. USE CORRECT PPE'S

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post #4 of 16 Old 04-20-2011
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TSP or On/Off

My recommendation is a TSP solution or Mary Kate On/Off gel. Mix up a concentrated solution of TSP, apply it to the areas and allow it to sit for a few minutes. You may have to scrub a little to break up the waxy film. Rinse off thoroughly with water. On/off gel works the same. Apply it over the area, allow it to sit, rinse off.

For problem areas, use a little odorless mineral spirits with a cloth rag. Make sure that you wear dishwashing/rubber gloves with any of these techniques.

If the "wax" is a polymer coating, the above techniques may not work.

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post #5 of 16 Old 04-21-2011
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Wax off!!!

Many thanks for the response, DrB
I'll give it a try as soon as I get back to the boat.
(unfortunately not for a couple of months)
Work is the curse of the sailing class!!!!!!

Dan O'Shaughnessy
S/Y Pau Hana
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Last edited by ChiefDan; 04-21-2011 at 06:52 AM.
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post #6 of 16 Old 04-21-2011 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrB View Post
My recommendation is a TSP solution...Mix up a concentrated solution of TSP, apply it to the areas and allow it to sit for a few minutes...Rinse off thoroughly with water...
Do you have any regard for sea life and water quality?


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1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1994 Mason 44 Firefly on loan from my BFF (West River, Galesville, MD)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)

Last edited by TakeFive; 04-21-2011 at 08:38 AM.
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post #7 of 16 Old 04-21-2011
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@RythmDoctor
One hopes and assumes that we all take adequate control measures when working with oils, chemicals and other nasty substances.
I'm pretty sure that most of us have a high regard for the waters we sail and fish and swim in......

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post #8 of 16 Old 04-21-2011 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiefDan View Post
@RythmDoctor
One hopes and assumes that we all take adequate control measures when working with oils, chemicals and other nasty substances.
I'm pretty sure that most of us have a high regard for the waters we sail and fish and swim in......
We're not talking about a quart of motor oil here. We're talking about somehthing that you sponge or mop over the whole surface of your boat. So you hose it off your boat and it goes directly in the water. If your boat is on the hard, it rinses onto the gravel and the next rainfall washes it directly in the water.

Please describe what other specific "control measures" you have in mind?

I would NEVER use TSP in a marine environment. It may even be illegal in some areas, though I have not looked this up.


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1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
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post #9 of 16 Old 04-21-2011
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Control measures are not too difficult; work on the hard (not the gravel), create a dam of absorbant material (the sausage shaped ones...!) and ensure the waste is disposed of at an appropriate hazardous material collection point.
Your concern for the environment is admirable.

Dan O'Shaughnessy
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post #10 of 16 Old 04-21-2011
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Is this a jab at me?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RhythmDoctor View Post
Do you have any regard for sea life and water quality?
If it is, I don't get it, or appreciate it. You asked for suggestions on how to remove wax, I offered some simple advice. The suggestions I wrote were assuming that a) the boat is on the hard, and b) you are not dosing the boat with gallons and gallons of the stuff. If you follow the TSP instructions, you'll make like a 1 or 2% solution of it. Applying it directly to the problem area(s) and rinsing it off on the hard is not significant impact on the environment if it is rinsed well. The natural filtration of the ground will break it down and neutralize it. The On/Off stuff, the same thing. Others offered the same advice with TSP, yet you didn't chastise them, what gives?

I find it ironic and that you ask for advice, then knock the advice, and then tell me I have no respect for the water or environment. Don't you put bottom paint on your boat which essential kills marine life? Do you not drive a car which puts hydrocarbons into the environment?

Hypocrite.

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