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Below decks, we have butyl tape at the seams of our deck hull joint, and it has collected mildew and grime that may never have been cleaned in 45+ years. We are cleaning and painting all the lockers, bunks, and storage areas of the boat, and this has been, forgive the pun, a sticking point for us. The butyl is sticky, necessarily, and we're stuck on how to get rid of the grime.

I'm desperate for suggestions: What can we use to clean butyl tape that will not remove it or change its efficacy? Alternately, can you treat and coat it with anything so we don't have to look at this black, mildewy mess?

138800
 

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I’d just scrape off all I could with a razor blade or putty knife and supposedly mineral spirits will help clean up any residue. If it’s visible that means it’s not between 2 structures making a seal, so no harm in removing it. Solvent based paints will dissolve it but you could use an acrylic paint in this area to neaten it up afterwards. I’ve never used acrylic paint in a boat but I don’t know why it wouldn’t work, especially in an area like in your picture that will have no abrasion.
 

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In that pic, it looks like mold growing in the porous end grain of the fiberglass and the butyl looks grey and clean. I'd just clean it up with any commercial or DIY mold cleaner, often bleach based, not always. I don't think it would get inside to where the butyl is actually doing it's job (but no promises).
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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I would use denatured alcohol and lots of paper towels. Wear gloves when you do this.
 
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x2 for denatured alcohol. I use the same on bits that squeeze out on the camper.
 
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