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Old 24-05-2010, 02:38   #1
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Cleaning / Washing Sails - Washing Machine ? Bleach ?

I just set up a spinnaker for my 25 foot trailer yacht. It has a lot of dirt and mold on it. Is there any reason why I cant throw it into the washing machine?

My nice new main has some rust spots on it. How do I remove them?

Also my friends 36 foot spray has a really crappy looking main. All sorts of crap on there like, algae, bird crap, rust, mud and general garbage. How would we clean such a larch sail? Bathtub with bleach or some other chemical?
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Old 24-05-2010, 04:20   #2
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Do NOT use bleach! It will rot the fabric.

As Mum used to say: Elboe Grease is the best way.
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Old 24-05-2010, 04:57   #3
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Elbow grease and what cleaner? I would sooner buy a new sail then spend 38 hours scrubbing that huge sail for the spray. It would be more economical!
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Old 24-05-2010, 08:56   #4
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big grassy lawn arrea with a slight slope to it and a BIG soft shop broom. Water hose and a nice cool day. Spray with water, sprinkly liberally with Simple Green cleaner a least 50% solution and scrub. Rinse and flip over, ditto side 2. It will get clean as it will get. Rust stains are just there. Let it soak a half hour or so will help but keep wet.
Rinse good from top down and ttry to get up so the wind will dry it on all sides. The biggest I've ever helped wash was off a 26' Columbia Challenger. It took 3 of us the better part of 5 hours! Of course we had several breaks for a brew but I don't think that impacted our scheduled work time much. LoL
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Old 24-05-2010, 10:10   #5
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Originally Posted by dennisail View Post
I would sooner buy a new sail
When was the last time you priced sails?

I'd be delighted to trade 38 hours work for a new genny


Have fun scrubbin'
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Old 24-05-2010, 10:53   #6
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Agree with the sail price v labour cost.
But actually when was the last time you ever saw bleach rot dacron, Mark? It has nevber been an issue for me in practice.
We've used on various boats either bleach, liquid soap, oxalic acid, even branded products and all worked to some extent - sometimes even mixed in a blow it all off cocktail.
In my experience just as long as you always use a brush - sometimes on your knees - and copious water to rise after - they all gave the result we wanted.
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Old 24-05-2010, 11:48   #7
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when was the last time you ever saw bleach rot dacron, Mark?
John,

I don't wear dacron but someone on this boat often bleaches my clothes to try desperate attempts to clean them.... then she wonders off and forgets they are soaking in it. I get back clean clothes... that fall apart!


I thought it would be the same with dacron?

I must get Dacron shirts and shorts
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Old 24-05-2010, 13:10   #8
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Cloths are cotton right? A natural fabric. Dacron is synthetic? Like the bottle the bleach comes in? Not sure, thats what I was thinking.

http://www.mothboat.com/CMBA/Building/sailclean.htm
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Old 24-05-2010, 13:34   #9
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I have cleaned the main and jib from my forty footer. Bathtub and weak soap solution. And lots of scrubbing. They look great now with and I haven't noticed any rot. I will not repair dirty sails- it get my little loft looking dirty.
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Old 24-05-2010, 13:49   #10
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Mildew can be a problem here in sunny Florida, so every year I shock (temporary high chlorine level) my pool, toss the sails in and let them soak for about an hour. Spread them out on the lawn, scrub with a soft brush and Simple Green or mild laundry soap, rinse well with a garden hose and let dry on the lawn. Sails are 1992 still look good and I have never had to restitch them. When I bought the boat in 1999, the PO had done this annually since new, so I kept it up. I figure as old as they are, I had nothing to lose and so far so good.
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Old 24-05-2010, 15:42   #11
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heh.. I am bundling up my sails and heading to my folks house out in the valley! the pool is an excellent idea... did the pool survive?
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Old 24-05-2010, 16:55   #12
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Cool idea with the pool. Too bad I don't have a pool So can I put my spinnaker in the washing machine? I know it sounds bad, but I put my cheaply made in china clothes in there and they aren't strong enough to pull a yacht along so a washing machine couldn't damage a spinnaker right?
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Old 24-05-2010, 17:51   #13
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i have bought several old boats and tried simple green and a small amount of bleach... I think you are safe with bleach if you rinse well... the bathtub works well...


I have often wondered about rinsing the last step in warm water and adding liquid stach to make them stiff


then I hank them from the 50 ' flag pole in my front yard on a hot sunny day with light wind... (under my SC FLAG!!!)


maybe not the best method... but I'm open to Ideas for better...
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Old 24-05-2010, 18:12   #14
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When you say you used bleach in a bathtub, how long did you soak it and at what concentration?
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Old 24-05-2010, 18:21   #15
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use your head... .. alot of the stains are mold...some rust ..some dirt... elbow grease helps but soaking 30 min to an hour does too... bleach will kill the mold detergent like simple green or "greased lightning" ( a SC product) for the dirt... you can not rinse too much... and a soak in the dry sun will do a lot also!

I still wonder about using starch????
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