Sun block on fiberglass - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-19-2016 Thread Starter
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Sun block on fiberglass

I'm sure it's been discussed to death but search engines and I are not compatible.
Our current charter guests have lathered themselves in sun block and every bit of fiberglass they have touched has gone yellowish. It's not like we can ask them not to protect themselves, but really.
Anybody found an EASY way to get our cockpit back to her blinding white (cough, cough) color?

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post #2 of 8 Old 04-20-2016
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Re: Sun block on fiberglass

UV exposure seems to do it for me, which is indeed ironic. Scrubbing doesn't. Course I wash my boat ever 6 months or so whether it needs it or not.

We've found some sunblock, particularly the spray kind really yellow the gelcoat. Some others don't affect it at all. Spray is now banned - or go spray on the dock.
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post #3 of 8 Old 04-20-2016
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Re: Sun block on fiberglass

We have found the spray on sunblock to be the worst in this regard. My suggestion would be to forbid these on board completely - there are lots of other reasonable choices.

We find that there is no issues with our favorite No-Ad and (i forget the name) gel-based blocks. Perhaps keep lots of these, or others you find don't stain, around and make guest use them instead?

But you only asked about removing stains. If your cockpit is well-waxed, the stain may be in the wax and you need to strip that area and reapply wax. Other than that, we've found strong sunlight to work over a longish time, or oxalic acid to work quickly.

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post #4 of 8 Old 04-20-2016
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Re: Sun block on fiberglass

Bar Keepers Friend, Oxalic acid and then Woody wax on the non skid helps keep it from staining

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post #5 of 8 Old 04-20-2016
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Re: Sun block on fiberglass

Give "Totally Awesome" from Dollar General a try. It's cheap, doesn't seem to hurt fiberglass, but readily dissolves spider and bird droppings, and removed yellowing on my motorboat hatches. Do test it on a small area first just in case, but did not hurt my Catalina's fiberglass.
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-20-2016
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Re: Sun block on fiberglass

I did find that "Banana Boat" brand doesn't stain so I keep lots of that around, there's at least one other non-staining brand, but the names escapes me.

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post #7 of 8 Old 04-22-2016
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Re: Sun block on fiberglass

Capta - here's my 'supposition' of what caused the 'yellowing' and what to do about it, at least you can 'trial' the remedy to see if my suspicions are correct.

Suntan lotions today probably use nanoparticles of a form of soluble iron as their UV blocker - nanoparticles of ferrous oxide, the same as used as UV blockers in 'varnishes', etc.
Secondly the 'carrier' in most cosmetics are simple botanic oils.
The combo would require a 2-part extraction process.

First you probably have to extract the 'oils' - apply a wet 'paste' of simple laundry detergent, cover with clear plastic wrap and tape the edges with masking tape (during the trial). Let sit for a day for the oils to become emulsified. This will 'emulsify' the oils, leaving the UV blocker - the probable 'yellow'. The progression in increasing 'strengths' would be: dishwashing detergent, paste of laundry powder, TriSodiumPhosphate - TSP, an undiluted SodiumSilicate based detergent, lye (dangerous).

Then....
Most acids will dissolve 'iron'. from fairly weak to strong: 'lemon juice', vinegar, citric acid (from powder), oxalic acid (from powder), muriatic/hydrochloric acid (dangerous) .... and then if needed clorox. The acid treatment results should be almost instantaneous, if the oils are first removed.

All the above is chemically compatible with the polyester and vinyl ester used for gelcoat.



Choose which of the 'trials' seems to be the 'best', then ....
If any of the increasing strength 'trials' is sufficient, then apply broad scale of the 'selected agent' to the areas .... no need to cover; but, just keep 'wetted/spritzed' with a 'mist' from a dock hose to prevent drying, but not so much as to rinse off. Soak time or 'wetted-time' will be important.

hope this helps.

Last edited by RichH; 04-22-2016 at 10:00 AM.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-01-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Sun block on fiberglass

Just an update for those who might be interested in this subject.
It's been 3 months and our charter season has finally come to an end. Amazingly enough the problem has fixed itself; the discoloration in the cockpit fiberglass has all but faded away. If anything, it looks as though it has been polished more recently than the other areas.
Thanks for the input, but for once this problem will not require any remedy from us.
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