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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 05-17-2010
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Washing Sails

Just returned from the laundromat after washing a sail in one of their 6 load washers. I used 1 cup of TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) and 1 cup of bleach.

Yes it got all of the dirt out, but am a bit disappointed in that it seems to have taken on a tinge of yellow?

Do you think that it was a mistake to use bleach, and perhaps I should have used some other type of whitening?

Dick
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Old 05-17-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flybyknight View Post
Just returned from the laundromat after washing a sail in one of their 6 load washers. I used 1 cup of TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) and 1 cup of bleach.

Yes it got all of the dirt out, but am a bit disappointed in that it seems to have taken on a tinge of yellow?

Do you think that it was a mistake to use bleach, and perhaps I should have used some other type of whitening?

Dick
Why not just take a box cutter to the sail instead? Seems cheaper and less time consuming!

I wouldn't really suggest washing in the future - hanging them up on a very calm day and hosing them down with fresh water maybe... then go sailing (calm day) to dry everything out but I'd stay away from a washing machine

Last edited by ste27; 05-17-2010 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 05-17-2010
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Bleach is probably the culprit. It yellows nylon.
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Old 05-17-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flybyknight View Post
STE27,
If you are who I think you are, I would appreciate the return of my large blue sail bag, which went missing after you left.
Sounds like there's a bit of a story there - I don't think I'm who you think I am though... mostly 'cause I don't have any bags - where ya from?
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Old 05-17-2010
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I took a soft brush, lightly soaped up water and washed my sail by hand on the lawn, being very careful how much and where I was stepping. I can't imagine putting it in a washing machine, I can only imagine a lot of damage getting done.. but I'm no expert and perhaps just overly cautious.

To get them white I would think just some good old elbow grease. Mine came out nice and clean when done and I just hung it up in the backyard to hose off in the end and dry. Takes more work and longer I suppose but you know you've got a job well done there.
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Old 05-17-2010
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Washed my entire sail locker compliment in the kid's bathroom tub with some Oxyclean and arm powered agitation. Amazing the dirt that came out. Took each to the back yard pool for a rinse and then hung them over the fence to dry. Sails look like new..and smell nice too!
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Old 05-17-2010
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It's really not worth the effort, time, and damage you are going to do to your sails. Next time just send them to SailCare and be done with it.
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Old 05-17-2010
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Bleach and aggressive washing/folding is very bad for the sailcloth. The best way to DIY wash is to lay the sail out on a clean lawn and wash with a mixture of woolite and non-chlorine bleach (oxyclean or chlorox-2). Use a soft bristle pole brush and try not to walk on the sail too much. Rinse thoroughly to remove all of the soap and let dry in the sun by turning the sail multiple times.

Personally I don't understand why it makes sense to send a sail to SailCare and spend 1/2 the cost of the sail in shipping and service when you can wash the sail carefully yourself. Maybe if the sail is very tired and you want to restore some life via resin application; but if your sail still has some crispness you might want to just wash it yourself and take it to a local loft for service.
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Old 05-17-2010
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Last year when I sent my mainsail to Sailcare it cost considerably less than half of a new replacement and that included the LaMauney reconditioning process, new bolt rope, and various other minor repairs. It came back in almost new condition. I wouldn't expect a old blown out sail to come back in that condition.

from their website:

Below are some average costs of the LeMauney Process compared to the average price of a new sail.
Boat
New Main
LaMauney
New 150%
LaMauney
Catalina 22$719.00$99.00$695.00$142.00
Catalina 25$1,179.00$117.00$939.00$220.00
Catalina 27$1,295.00$152.00$1,395.00$276.00
Catalina 30$1,795$200.00$1,490.00$333.00
MacGregor 25$995.00$123.00$895.00$179.00
Newport 30$1,695.00$173.00$1,695.00$340.00
Islander 36$2,195.00$257.00$2,325.00$510.00
Harpoon 5.2$829.00$108.00$449.00$81.00
Com-Pac 19$595.00$75.00$645.00$112.00
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Old 05-17-2010
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I had luck washing a couple sails last year by soaking them in a childrens pool full of water and a pail of oxyclean.
They soaked for a couple hours, then I hung them and rinsed them.
Took a long time to rinse clean, otherwise they came out very nice.
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