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Old 18-07-2008, 13:03   #1
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Rust Stains on Fiberglass - Mildew on Cushions

This problem doesn't necessarily pertain to just women- really to whichever crew member is responsible for cleaning.

We have numerous rust stains, both on deck and on the cabin sole. Does anyone have experience getting rust off finished fiberglass? I tried Barkeeper's Friend, but it does not seem very effective.

We also had a "rain event" inside our cabin, due to certain crew members leaving for work with EVERY port open. The cushions were put out to dry, but still smell like a musty barn. Any suggestions? I tried antimicrobial Fabreeze, but I think "antimicrobial" really means "anitbacterial". Apparently fungal spores don't count as microbes...
Simlalrly, has anyone found products to prevent fungal growth on fabric?

Thanks!
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Old 18-07-2008, 13:16   #2
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As to rust stains, you need powerful stuff:

Oxalic Acid, or a product found at West Marine, containing Hydrochloric Acid: "On & Off
Hull and Bottom Cleaner"

Both types of products turn a scrubbing job into a "painting job" as you just apply the On & Off to the stain with a rag or brush, wait a few minutes, then rinse the stain off. A little bit of scrubbing could be required, but I find that these types of products help a whole lot.

Use gloves and eye protection and be careful. This is real acid.
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Old 18-07-2008, 13:33   #3
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hmmm... may work for the deck but seems a little intense for our cabin interior. I may have to just apply some elbow grease in there? Or live with the stains?
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Old 18-07-2008, 13:50   #4
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hmmm... may work for the deck but seems a little intense for our cabin interior. I may have to just apply some elbow grease in there? Or live with the stains?
Right. Could be a *tad* rough on a teak and holly cabin sole..

But... if your cabin sole is fiberglass where the stain is, pour it right on (and use a mask)
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Old 18-07-2008, 13:59   #5
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What we use .......

Some (but not all) Home Depots sell a product called RustAid in gallon jugs. Cost is about $10.00 or $12.00 a gallon. put some in a spray bottle then spary it on the hull or stainless or cockpit cushions or whatever else has misdew or rust .... let it sit five minute or so then hose it, and the rust, away. Also great for doing away with those tanic stains on the hull. Really bad rust on stainless might require some brushing with a scrub brush. We always rinse it off, really well, after a few minutes and it has never damaged paint, uphostery, etc.
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Old 18-07-2008, 16:19   #6
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Try toilet bowl cleaner. It is amazing stuff or tough stains.
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Old 18-07-2008, 17:04   #7
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On the deck you can compound it and perhaps try some softscrub with bleach. I cut a shackle and got a constellation of rust spots near the anchor. Softscrub removed them. There's also a product called Ospho,

Mildew I dunno. We have a few pillow covers which have that icky smelll. I am going to try dry cleaning. and if that doesn't work. Toss them out.
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Old 18-07-2008, 17:33   #8
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For the fiberglass on deck, I use FSR (Fiberglass Stain Remover) by Davis. Just don't leave it on too long, because it really bleaches.
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Old 20-07-2008, 22:18   #9
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After living in the boatyard for a month, noticed crews used soft scrub with bleach and the FSR that HUD3 mentioned. They use them TOGETHER...squirt the deck with the SS, scrub, sprinkel the foamy area with the FSR, use it...let it soak a BIT (trial and error to reduce bleaching) --- works incredibly well. Spot treat tough rust with the stuff and scrub.

Mildew/Mold -- bleach in some form works well, but when it is covers and cushions, we had to remove the covers and wash in laundry with bleach, then soak the foam with bleachy water, let it sautee for awhile, then rinse then get them fully dry. Also, too heavyon the bleach and you damage the foam.

Someone in here came up with a gosh-awful concoction involving bleach and borax that is the absolute industrial cleaner/preventer that works, but as they say, use a respirator and allow good airing out!
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Old 21-07-2008, 05:21   #10
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Thanks so much! Having a group of sailors around the world ready, willing and able to help with issues and concerns aboard makes the transition to this new-to-me lifestyle much easier.
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Old 21-07-2008, 05:39   #11
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Someone in here came up with a gosh-awful concoction involving bleach and borax that is the absolute industrial cleaner/preventer that works, but as they say, use a respirator and allow good airing out!
That would be Capt. Sully . Here it is :

Mold Killer
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Old 21-07-2008, 06:04   #12
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Someone in here came up with a gosh-awful concoction involving bleach and borax that is the absolute industrial cleaner/preventer that works, but as they say, use a respirator and allow good airing out!

That's me. If you actually want to remove the mold (and if you are allergic to it) there is no other way to remove it and keep it gone.

There is another way, but not everyone has the ability. You have to lower the humidity in the boat, allow lots of natural light in and stop any and all leaks on ports, plumbing, etc... You also have to keep a clean boat with no food residue/dust the boat can grow on.

Cleaning with bleach alone just temporarily bleaches out the mold. Mold will then easily grow back in a matter of weeks/months if the conditions are right for it (humid, dark & cool).

I didn't "come up" with the concoction...

I consulted a microbiologist and took their advice into account.

Bleach is used first, primarily as a cleaning agent. The borax is the real mold stopper. It changes the pH of the area, making it more basic. The mold can't grow if the pH is off.

If the area is dry enough (no water entering from a leaky boat), the Borax keeps mold away for a year at a time, even in a badly wet, full time liveaboard boat with cooking going on, closed up in winter.

But... I didn't go into this method because you had mentioned it was cushion mold. Cushion mold is, unfortunately, not easy to get rid of. If it's just on some vinyl on the cushion cover, you can clean it off. If it's in a fabric cushion, deep into the foam, you need new cushions to get rid of it completely. If you're just looking to clean, you may try a carpet steamer machine, but you *must* dry out the cushions outside the boat for several days in the blazing sun so as not to have even more moisture for the mold.

Remember, there are 3 things mold needs to grow:

Damp conditions (condensation is one of its favorites!)
Darkness (direct sunlight will keep it in check)
Cool temps
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Old 21-07-2008, 06:31   #13
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Side benefit: Borax is also toxic to roaches! Sprinkle a little bit in cabinet and storage area recesses.
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Old 21-07-2008, 06:45   #14
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The cushions were put out to dry, but still smell like a musty barn. Any suggestions?
I would try sprinkling the powdered Borax directly on the cushions. Let it sit and then vacuum it off or take the cushions outside and beat the hell out of them to remove some of the loose powder. It can't do any harm.
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Old 21-07-2008, 07:20   #15
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I would try sprinkling the powdered Borax directly on the cushions. Let it sit and then vacuum it off or take the cushions outside and beat the hell out of them to remove some of the loose powder. It can't do any harm.
That's a good idea, Paul.

Maybe she can open up the cushion covers and sprinkle it inside there too...
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