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Old 20-09-2011, 16:05   #16
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Re: 'Spotless Stainless Steel' Reviews ?

I started using Spotless Stainless this spring after meeting the owners at the Baltimore Cruisers University Show. I was very skeptical of the claims but thought I'd give it a try. Most of my lifeline stanchion bases have significant surface rust which have also stained the surrounding fiberglass in a couple of places. I had actually given up trying to polish them with traditional polishes. So following Spotless Stainless directions to remove all wax and polish I washed down the areas with white vinegar and water before brushing the Spotless Stainless on. I worked from the port bow back. Once done I went forward and repeated the application but this time just dabbing the brush to keep the area moist. I could already see the rust being dissolved. I did the same to the starboard side. By the time I was done on the starboard side twenty minutes had past and I began to wash down the port side stainless with fresh water and a large sponge (I'm on a mooring in salt water so couldn't hose it off). The results were better than expected. The surface rust/stain was gone. The finish was bright and shiny. No rubbing. No black polish residue. I hadn't been very careful about getting it on my gelcoat or painted toe rail or bright work, I had just slopped it on. Its fast, its easy and I think it works great.
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Old 20-09-2011, 18:46   #17
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Re: 'Spotless Stainless Steel' Reviews ?

I have not used Spotless Stainless but have used a product called OSPHO quite a bit and it works very well on anything stainless and also on Awlgrip -to remove stubborn stains and rust creep. I have not seen any mention of OSPHO as compared to Spotless Stainless, perhaps because it is of a different formulation – mainly phosphoric acid? OSPHO worked well for me and my previous steel boat for many years. I don't mean to hijack the thread, but anyone out there know about OSPHO and how it compares to Spotless Stainless?
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Old 20-09-2011, 20:03   #18
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Re: 'Spotless Stainless Steel' Reviews ?

Hi Skip, Hope your projects are going well. We have used everything on the stainless. Remember that it (SS) is mostly steel and needs to have the surface cleaned in order for the chome and nickle to come to the surface. Like a long term sluffing action. We like any rubbing compound on the long easy parts. Quick and easy. The welds and corners are more difficult. I use cheap lemon juice from the dollar store and a stiff brush. Or just let it stay a while. Works great on the ICW "Mustache" also.

SS that gets wet but not air will rust bad. Like a stansion pad. This is known as Stagnent corrision and is the reason fasteners fail in wood etc. Stainless needs air and esp. oxygen to help sluff the surface or it will corrode badly if wet.
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Old 21-09-2011, 12:36   #19
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Re: 'Spotless Stainless Steel' Reviews ?

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Originally Posted by S/V Antares View Post
Hi Skip, Hope your projects are going well. We have used everything on the stainless. Remember that it (SS) is mostly steel and needs to have the surface cleaned in order for the chome and nickle to come to the surface. Like a long term sluffing action. We like any rubbing compound on the long easy parts. Quick and easy. The welds and corners are more difficult. I use cheap lemon juice from the dollar store and a stiff brush. Or just let it stay a while. Works great on the ICW "Mustache" also.

SS that gets wet but not air will rust bad. Like a stansion pad. This is known as Stagnent corrision and is the reason fasteners fail in wood etc. Stainless needs air and esp. oxygen to help sluff the surface or it will corrode badly if wet.
Projects are going nicely if slowly.


We finally gave up on the bow roller cage/system. Pix can be seen in my gallery link (2011 refit folder, Anchor system gallery) of how it worked out.

The rest of the stainless we've reverted to Collinite metal wax, buff off and put on their insulator wax, both very easy by hand.

To prep the steel for the anchor cage, prior to 3 grades of rouge, I sanded 80/120/220/320/400 first to get out the minor gouges on what was left, or to bring the new material from mill finish to brilliant. I then followed the new assembly with another round of rouge and then did the polish described above.

Absolutely brilliant. Whether it will stay that way for long remains to be seen, but, before the two Collinite applications, tiny dings that I'd not sanded down to completely remove had slight weeps of rust (we're on the hard at the moment).

Those came off readily with the polish and haven't returned.

I very much wish that we'd had better luck with the SSS, but also have noted that since we started the Collinite routine, very little rust occurs and that which does is effortless to remove. Applying the wax and buffing it off are neither taxing nor much in the way of time consuming. For areas of size-to-size, I dare say this takes less time and attention than the keep-it-moist routine with SSS.

YMMV and I've not had any seriously long-term experience with my method (1+ year, but not "many")...

L8R

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Old 21-09-2011, 15:38   #20
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Re: 'Spotless Stainless Steel' Reviews ?

We still use the SS - especially in tight spots. It DOES need to be rinsed completely, and something applied to keep the rust at bay.
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Old 21-09-2011, 15:58   #21
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Re: 'Spotless Stainless Steel' Reviews ?

I do not know what Spotless stainless is, but I would not be surprised if it is a Passivation acid of some kind. We bought some citrus based passivation chemical, and it worked wonderfully at removing stains from our rigging, pushpit, etc.

Passivation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Old 21-09-2011, 17:15   #22
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Re: 'Spotless Stainless Steel' Reviews ?

A couple of years ago I bought a sample of a similar product, forget the name but the active ingredient is citric acid. Citric acid is now being used industrially as a passivator instead of highly caustic nitric acid. Nitric acid can be bought as pickling paste for stainless welds but is hard to find. I ended up making a soak tank from 3" plastic pipe for my stanchions. I bought a package of food grade citric acid online through Ebay. It is very cheap and has no hazardous shipping charges. I made my own solution and seemed to work well although I had no "control" for the experiment. There actually doesn't seem to be that many products available for stainless that use citric acid, I am not sure why. I am sure that this product has "proprietary" ingredients as well, probably some type of surfactant and water. There is no "cure all" product for stainless steel and anybody that has ever owned a boat in the tropics knows that stainless rusts (even the good stuff). Here's what else I've learned: Ospho (phosphoric acid) works great for removing rust on stainless but don't get it on your paint, It will dull the finish on Awlgrip for sure. Most rust stain removal products are oxalic acid which is milder and a better choice for rust stains on paint. The best defense for stainless is polishing. The stainless manufactured these days is not nearly is good as it was. The 316 from before is more like 317, the new stuff has less nickel content. The new rigging wire that I bought has rust on it and is less than a year old. This is going to manifest as a real problem for sailboat owners in the near future. In the tropics, rigging is only expected to last ten years. This comes as a real shocker to a lot of people with 25 year old boats in northern climates that have the original rigging in good shape. The best boat hardware seems to be chrome plated bronze so think twice before replacing your old bronze with stainless. If you can't get good stainless to rig your boat with you will have to take a step forward and use synthetic rigging or take a step back and go with galvanized steel. Galvanized steel is actually stronger and more reliable than stainless. There are different types of corrosion that can attack stainless and sometimes a little rust on stainless can mean that it is at it's breaking point so on critical hardware be sure to inspect those rust stains closely with a magnifier before destroying the evidence with ospho. A true rigging inspection would require spraying each and every fitting with magnaflux which is actually a three part process, a dye, a developer, and a cleaner which costs almost fifty bucks and even then you have no way of detecting faulty fasteners through the mast etc.. If your chainplates penetrate your deck there is no way to inspect them without removal, they always fail right where the sealant is, they might look great above and below but don't count on it. The bottom line is that owning a sailboat is a risky endeavor and you can't take your rig for granted, rig failures happen all the time and are no joke and just because you have a rigging inspection every year or so doesn't mean you are safe either, how would the rigger detect a corroded through bolt in the mast? Sorry to scare everyone but such is the nature of "stainless steel"
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Old 21-09-2011, 18:54   #23
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Re: 'Spotless Stainless Steel' Reviews ?

Here is the citrus based stuff we used - we have no commercial interest:

The Rust Store - CitriSurf

Chris
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Old 22-09-2011, 06:02   #24
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Re: 'Spotless Stainless Steel' Reviews ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by witzgall View Post
Here is the citrus based stuff we used - we have no commercial interest:

The Rust Store - CitriSurf

Chris
I looked through this site with great interest. A place which does NOTHING other than address rust, in myriad ways and products, seems like it should be well versed and based on the issues.

One gotcha which we were told by SSS would be ok is that rinsing with salt water doesn't get it. Being full time - undocked! - cruisers (this abomination of a boatyard's extended stay excepted - you can see some of the 17 current or finished projects, including our cutting away all the rot and replacing with new in the anchor assembly, by going to the 2011 refit in the gallery in the sig line), using copious fresh water to rinse is a non-starter.

Whether the difficulties we encountered were a product of rinsing with salt water, or just the massively challenging rust on the anchor system due not only to the original issues of age but the repair which was done in St. Augustine to address some serious failures, is unknown, but it makes sense that it couldn't have helped.

The inference I get from a brief scan of their material suggests that if it's a spray product, you don't have to keep spraying it for the recommended 15-30 minutes of active time. To his credit, Allen at SSS is VERY responsive personally when you have a question; I've not attempted contacting The Rust Store to see if they have the same availability.

Back to the train of thought, however, it appears that it may be possible to use a sponge or washcloth to remove this spray product, assuming you can actually reasonably get to the area involved.

Also, I'd reference some SS work for our platform which I had done in our original refit, now more than 5 years ago (prolly more like 7 by now) which was passivated after weld-up by the fabricator using nothing other than rags to keep it in contact, and pouring more on to keep it wet, for several days, plain old lemon juice obtained in bulk containers. That material is still shiny/unrusted other than some easily removed surface stains - so, apparently, it worked.

For material which has already had some passivation treatment, but just has surface rust, this spray product(s - one with a bit more rust remover) may well be doing the same sort of thing, but without the need to keep it wet as in SSS.

I'd love to hear from more users of the Rust Store's stuff; there's a comments section in their website which I've not yet read, but I always take the seller's site with a bit of a grain of salt, as there's obviously an ax to grind there - SSS is replete with shining (pardon the expression) testimonials, but then, there's my experience, including a small test in very controlled conditions which led to the not-very-good results (it didn't resolve the problems created earlier) on the shackle for the turning block referenced in the Oxalic portion of this thread.

FWIW, I, too, have new standing rigging (2009 refit) which has surface rust at the top of each of the Stay-Locks - and which appeared very quickly...

L8R

Skip, thrilled with the anchor system project outcome (gallery link), other than the 75#CQR knuckle now frozen, perhaps as a result of my experiments with the Wonder Gel nitric stuff having somehow gotten on it, or, just that it's the secondary and so doesn't move for months at a time...
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Old 22-09-2011, 07:33   #25
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Re: 'Spotless Stainless Steel' Reviews ?

Spotless Stainless (and I bet the other acetic acid product mentioned) is the best new boat maintenance product I've found in the last 10 years. That said, I use it only for the specific tough spots where other metal cleaners struggle. This is:

Welds in tubing
Lifeline turnbuckles
Stanchion bases and screwheads
Bimini/Dodger fittings

The common element is that these things all have grooves or crevices where it's very hard to rub. The SS needs no rubbing.

I use a 1" foam brush and just walk several times around the boat (slowly) with beer and brush dabbing (the SS not the beer) for 20 minutes. I only use it when there is a hose available for rinsing. And only about three times a year at some point when I'm at a dock (again the SS not the beer).

I've also seen that the passivating (or whatever) is making some of the rust come back more slowly. About half my stanchion bolts must have been made of 304 stainless. They rust much less after two years of the above routine.

Carl
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Old 22-09-2011, 08:10   #26
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Vinegar removes rust quite well. Baking soda and mineral oil polish. It may be worth trying to compare ease and cost to other products. Has anyone tried woody wax to protect long term? Thanks! SC
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Old 23-09-2011, 11:19   #27
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Re: 'Spotless Stainless Steel' Reviews ?

Got SS at a recent boatshow. They said that in warmer climates you don't need to wait 30 min, maybe it would work even in 15. Cleaned off bimini supports very easily after 15 min of waiting, rest of exposed stainless next. For me it worked as advertised.
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Old 23-09-2011, 11:34   #28
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Re: 'Spotless Stainless Steel' Reviews ?

I would use anything with Phosphoric, Nitric or other similar acids (other than like citrus) only as a last resort. They are kind of like snake oil.... they work great initially , but they attack the grain boundaries in the metal and promote faster rusting afterwards!
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Old 19-03-2013, 19:26   #29
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Re: 'Spotless Stainless Steel' Reviews ?

I tried Oxalic acid, its OK for Fiberglas and not so hot on Stainless really, but recently used Turtle Wax Chrome Polish, Excellent for Stainless, requires some rubbing but not much.. better than miracle cloth for sure. Toothbrush for hard to get places.. stays clean ..
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Old 20-03-2013, 09:58   #30
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Re: 'Spotless Stainless Steel' Reviews ?

I think this is an old thread, but after using and carrying various things for cleaning stainless and gel coat, I settled on one thing and got rid of allthat crap stored on the boat. 3M Finesse It works great on gel coat and stainless. Takes all the black and light rust of stainless very well. No silicon in it. It aint cheap but works well.
Heavy rust that has started to eat into the stainless may require some sort of acid though.... which as I mentioned above is a double edged sword.
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