All of the commercial
products are likely to be based upon Chlorine Bleach (Sodium Hyperchlorite - NaOCl)
General Sail Cleaning
Use a soft scrub brush and a mild detergent. Detergents with a neutral ph factor don’t generally “set” certain types of stain. Always scrub in line with seams. After scrubbing, rinse sail with plenty of warm water
to remove all soap before laying flat to dry.
- Take the sails ashore and brush off the mildew. Then apply a detergent to the stain and launder.
- Soak the sail in a solution* of 0.15 to 0.20% bleach and cold water
, for about two to 4 days.
- A 1% solution of sodium thiosolphate (photographer’s hypo) should remove all chlorine traces.
- Rinse and then air dry in direct sunlight.
* “Clorox”, and other household bleach products are usually 5.25% NaOCl, so have to be mixed at about 30 to 1 with water (1 part Clorox + 30 parts
water). A higher ratio may work a little faster, a lower ratio a little slower.
1. Never mix liquid chlorine bleach and ammonia, which will produce toxic fumes
2. Clorox should NEVER be used on:
- Aramids (Kevlar, Twaron). If you aren’t sure, these are of generally yellow or brown color and will always be used in a laminated construction.
- Nylon. This is the lightweight, often colored material used in many spinnakers.
3. Clorox can generally be safely used on:
- polyester (Dacron), Spectra/Dyneema, Pentex, carbon, and Vectran.
Lysol is a fungicide that when sprayed on the sail will kill existing spores and inhibit any additional growth. After the organism is killed, most of the stain can be removed by soaking (not scrubbing) in a fungicide for 12 or more hours. Always rinse thoroughly to ensure there is no bleach residue left on the sail.
The original “Oxygen Bleach” is a mixture of Non-chlorine Bleach (or Baking Soda) and Hydrogen Peroxide solution.
Other Alternates: Instead of bleach or Lysol; you can use salt
and lemon juice, detergent, ammonia, white vinegar, washing
soda (or some combination of these ingredients) and let the fabric
dry in direct sunlight.
Always finish any stain treatment by washing and rinsing the sail with fresh water.