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Old 17-11-2012, 01:36   #16
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Re: Cleaning Sails

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Originally Posted by islandplanet View Post
I'm not looking into getting into a pissing match either but I have no clue how this "miracle cleaner" would be able to penetrate the outer lamination. I think you may be confusing removing surface mildew with mildew inside the sail.

Mildew is generally only a cosmetic concern. Fortunately the newer laminates are less susceptible than the older ones due to improvements in manufacturing and more effective mildecides.

Good luck with your business venture peddling the stuff. I'll look forward to reading a review of it in Practical Sailor. And if some sails get ruined in the process of cleaning, those of us in the business of selling new sails will owe you a debt of gratitude.
I'm not sure where your hostility comes from, you don't know anything about the product yet you are slamming it. Don't doubt something without giving it a chance.
This is not something I'm brewing up in my bathtub, it was developed by some one with much more knowledge of the subject than me-and probably you as well. It's already been in use by commercial sail cleaners with great results-and no ruined sails. It's never been offered to the public. It's designed to get at mildew under the taffeta.
PS will be getting a sample to try, I value their testing and opinions and have nothing to worry about as for sail safety, etc.
Once again I make the offer-find some old, moldy p-o-s sail ( in case if melts or something...) and try it, what have you got to lose ? Actually it's safe for all sail materials-dacron, nylon, laminates- so find your worst sail and give it a chance, post your results for all to see.
My sail maker has used it and is very impressed with it.
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Old 17-11-2012, 03:29   #17
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Re: Cleaning Sails

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Originally Posted by sailronin View Post
DO NOT EVER PUT ANY SAILS IN A WASHING MACHINE
Even with cold water and gentle cycle the machine will take the calendaring out of the cloth and leave you with a dish rag instead of a sail.
If you need to wash a sail spread it out on a lawn or clean concrete surface and use a gentle soap and scrub brush.

(I spent 12 years as a sailmaker so this is not armchair advise)
Well this is arm chair advice and there is no way I would clean sails by putting them on concrete and then using water and a brush. The dust/dirt will go straight into the sail cloth. They would be better off in a washing machine. We are talking about old dinghy sails btw, not yacht sails.

Even laying sails out on an indoor squash court is enough to pick up dirt and mark them, and grass what with soap and a brush, hmm no thanks.

The other choice of course is a large bin and a brush to agitate it.

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Old 17-11-2012, 04:59   #18
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Sorry Pete, I didn't catch how long you worked as a sailmaker...
I had customers whose wives had put small sails in a washing machine. After they came out they were soft as a dish rag, only shape they held was a bag. Totally useless for sailing but good for a boat cover or awning.

One of my close friends owned Sail Laundry Services in San Diego. We used to send customer sails to him for cleaning. Guess what, his shop had a large concrete floor (kept very clean) and they used soap, cold water and brushes along with some mild acids for specific stain removal. They never damaged a sail, unlike machines.
A lawn is Ok for rinsing but you wouldn't scrub a whole sail there or you would get grass stains. Just keep even small sails out of washing machines!
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Old 17-11-2012, 10:12   #19
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Re: Cleaning Sails

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I'm not sure where your hostility comes from,
It's not hostility. It's skepticism and the fact I know there's more to sail maintenance and cleaning than just having a detergent.

You totally miss some facts that make DIY sail cleaning a challenging proposition for many of your prospective customers.

First off you need a place to dry those sails. A loft or cleaning facility will have drying spars. Most people don't have a suitable place to dry sails properly. This is especially critical for people who put their boats up for the winter season.

If the sail needs maintenance or repairs it sill needs to be packed up and taken to the sail loft.

Most of all this business is a solution in search of a problem. What hurts sails are salt crystals, UV exposure, and being over-stressed. Most sailboat owners are better served by not getting carried away with cleaning. A stain or even some mildew is not going to shorten the life or detract from performance of the sail. Some cleaning efforts will shorten not extend the life of the sail. Often the sails people are trying to clean are worn out and lack any sort of usable shape. They should be retired and covering a wood pile.

My recommendation to you is to spend some time in a loft that cleans and services sails. You will realize that there is a lot more to the business than you think.
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Old 19-11-2012, 03:59   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sundowner
Is there any way to safely remove mildew stains from a laminate sail?
Yes us the answer, Vacuwash is the process, you can google it.
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Old 19-11-2012, 12:34   #21
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Re: Cleaning Sails

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Originally Posted by sailronin View Post
Sorry Pete, I didn't catch how long you worked as a sailmaker...
Oh come on, I said I was an armchair sailor

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Originally Posted by sailronin View Post
Guess what, his shop had a large concrete floor (kept very clean) and they used soap, cold water and brushes along with some mild acids for specific stain removal. They never damaged a sail, unlike machines.
Huge difference to someone using the back yard or public car park which is going to happen.

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Originally Posted by sailronin View Post
A lawn is Ok for rinsing but you wouldn't scrub a whole sail there or you would get grass stains. Just keep even small sails out of washing machines!
Hang on, people were recommending grass lawns a few posts back now you say don't scrub a whole sail on it. To late there are now hundreds of lawns across the US with triangular shapes etched in and dozens of sail makers shaking their heads wondering how to get their customers sails clean of grass marks.

The OP did say old dinghy sails and in fairness if my white work shirts can stand a weekly wash surely an old dinghy sail can once a year.


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Old 19-11-2012, 16:18   #22
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Re: Cleaning Sails

Actually, a white shirt will hold up much better in a washing machine, most are not intended to be non-porous.
Even an old sail should have enough coating (calendaring) left to hold some shape as well as being (fairly) non-porous. The agitation in a washing machine removes the calendaring and renders the sail as porous as a dishrag.
Be it a brand new sail or a "beater", one wash cycle in a washing machine will render it soft, porous and essentially useless. To suggest to "newbies" that machine washing a sail is a good idea is just propagating bad and possibly damaging information.

Washing sails on a lawn has been done for years, if concerned about grass stains put a cheap blue tarp down under the sail. Personally I spread a sail out on a lawn, hose it off, scrub any dirty areas, re-rinse and then hoist to dry.

On modern sails (dacron, nylon or laminates) you don't need to dry immediately so you can take them back to the boat and then hoist to dry. Now if you happen to have a cotton sail from the '30-'50, it needs to be dried right away.

I'm not trying to be snippy but I've seen many dinghy sails ruined by machine washing. Usually with the poor owner (or more likely the wife thinking she was helping with his boat) coming to the loft asking if we could "re starch" the sail to make it "good" again.
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Old 19-11-2012, 16:29   #23
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Re: Cleaning Sails

Good lord, I can't believe that people are seriously suggesting you wash sails in a washing machine. Fair go I'm speechless.
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Old 20-11-2012, 21:36   #24
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Re: Cleaning Sails

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Originally Posted by islandplanet View Post
It's not hostility. It's skepticism and the fact I know there's more to sail maintenance and cleaning than just having a detergent.

You totally miss some facts that make DIY sail cleaning a challenging proposition for many of your prospective customers.

First off you need a place to dry those sails. A loft or cleaning facility will have drying spars. Most people don't have a suitable place to dry sails properly. This is especially critical for people who put their boats up for the winter season.

If the sail needs maintenance or repairs it sill needs to be packed up and taken to the sail loft.

Most of all this business is a solution in search of a problem. What hurts sails are salt crystals, UV exposure, and being over-stressed. Most sailboat owners are better served by not getting carried away with cleaning. A stain or even some mildew is not going to shorten the life or detract from performance of the sail. Some cleaning efforts will shorten not extend the life of the sail. Often the sails people are trying to clean are worn out and lack any sort of usable shape. They should be retired and covering a wood pile.

My recommendation to you is to spend some time in a loft that cleans and services sails. You will realize that there is a lot more to the business than you think.
You bring up some valid points, home cleaning is not for everyone but-there are some who certainly are able and can do a decent job, and save a fair amount. And I'm sure your loft will be happier repairing a clean sail.
Drying can be an issue, since I'm here in SoCal, we are able to usually hoist the sails to dry them. We regularly rinse and dry the race boat's sails so I'm no stranger to that process.
Once again, the poster asked if there was a way to remove mildew stains from laminate sails, and the answer is yes. I'd rather try it myself and only spend $100-$150-compared to $450 or so ( a quote from a local cleaner on a #1 genoa for a 39' boat). This product was created specifically for laminate sails,however it works well on all sail materials as well as most outdoor fabrics.
I'm sure cleaners earn there money, unfortunately not everyone can pay and would benefit like be able to use something safe and effective in their cleaning efforts. And if your sail is old and tired, at least it will be clean. Maybe the money they save can be put towards purchasing a new sail someday !
The offer still stands-try it on an old laminate sail and tell me-and everyone here on the forum-if it removes the mildew stains or not. You said there was no such cleaner......
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Old 21-11-2012, 00:14   #25
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Re: Cleaning Sails

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And if your sail is old and tired, at least it will be clean. Maybe the money they save can be put towards purchasing a new sail someday !
The offer still stands-try it on an old laminate sail and tell me-and everyone here on the forum-if it removes the mildew stains or not. You said there was no such cleaner......
If the sail is old and tired, any amount spent is money wasted.
There is no cleaner that I know of that will work for a DIY'er. As a poster above pointed out, there is a machine that uses a vacuum process to remove stains in a laminate, but I have not seen it work personally. Remember the stain is not on the surface. It's between layers of the sail.

You want to be the guy hawking the miracle cleaner, go for it. Time to quit talking about it and just do it. I'll get a good laugh if I see you pushing some cleaner that I can buy for $10 or $20 and you're charging $100-150.
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Old 25-11-2012, 11:13   #26
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Re: Cleaning Sails

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Originally Posted by islandplanet View Post
If the sail is old and tired, any amount spent is money wasted.
There is no cleaner that I know of that will work for a DIY'er. As a poster above pointed out, there is a machine that uses a vacuum process to remove stains in a laminate, but I have not seen it work personally. Remember the stain is not on the surface. It's between layers of the sail.

You want to be the guy hawking the miracle cleaner, go for it. Time to quit talking about it and just do it. I'll get a good laugh if I see you pushing some cleaner that I can buy for $10 or $20 and you're charging $100-150.
no miracle, just a good product that does what it was designed for.
guess then you are afraid to try it and be proved wrong, oh well ......
I'll let other's results speak for the product.
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Old 25-11-2012, 13:46   #27
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Re: Cleaning Sails

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no miracle, just a good product that does what it was designed for.
guess then you are afraid to try it and be proved wrong, oh well ......
I'll let other's results speak for the product.
I have no fear of anything my friend. Especially being proven wrong by someone as clueless as you have demonstrated yourself to be. You've never worked a day in this business and you're talking up a product you know nothing about. Further, you can't even produce a video showing that it works. I think it's time to show something or stop rattling on and wasting bandwidth. Or in more blunt terms, put up or shut up.
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Old 25-11-2012, 19:17   #28
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Re: Cleaning Sails

Any experience or suggestions for washing dacron and Marathon 3DL sails -Vectran threads? - Techniques, products and services?

Sailmaking Support System http://www.sailkote.com/sailwashing.htm
Vacuwash - Jeff Anderson V A C U W A S H ™
Maine Sailing http://news.mesailing.com/msp/files/...20Brochure.pdf
North Sails -

Sailkote Plus Sailkote PLUS: Dry Lubricant and Anti-Mildew Coating for Sails, Canvas and More - McLube - antimildew coating
Sailkote Plus SAILKOTE™ Plus > Application, Combat sail mildew | Sailmaking Support Systems
SailKote Plus by McLube -Mildew coating for sails Sailkote PLUS: Dry Lubricant and Anti-Mildew Coating for Sails, Canvas and More - McLube

CS 530 Mildew stain remover -
Marine Materials Development 781-639-5400 .

Sail Care and Cleaning with CS-530 Sail Mildew and Stain Remover Challenge Sailcloth Product
Works for laminate sails too. (Generally you should not use bleach on laminates).
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Old 25-11-2012, 19:40   #29
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Re: Cleaning Sails

We have a special room in our production loft to apply Sailkote Plus on newly constructed sails. We use it quite often on in-mast furling mainsails. It makes furling easier and results in a tighter roll. It also repels water and prevents stains. It's also helpful with uncoated nylon spinnakers that makes them easier for racers to handle.

If I were applying it outside the loft, I'd probably use a garden sprayer.

It should be noted that this is a preventative treatment and not something that will remove mildew after the fact.
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