Any ideas on what to use to clean mildew off vinyl seats? I don't want to use the bathroom mildew cleaner as it's made for tiles.
Also, any suggestions for cleaning really dirty carpeting on the floor if the boat?
This is gonna be a long post, but that's because it's about cleaning,
which is something I do a lot of and like to think it's something I know
a lot about.
As a general rule, the best thing I've ever found to remove dirt from
microscopically rough surfaces (like painted walls) is the Mr. Clean
"Magic Eraser" or generic equivalents. This stuff actually started off
as a synthetic foam made by BASF called "Basotect Foam". It was
originally used for the seat cushions in aeroplanes because of it's very
low weight. Basotect foam looks like a tightly grown hedge bush under a
microscope, and it's excellent cleaning ability arises entirely as a
result of the extremely fine structure of the hedge. That is, the tiny
branches of a tight hedge can get into smaller crevices than the
comparitively large telephone poles which are the bristles of a scrub
brush. You can use a Magic Eraser on anything, but keep in mind that
the foam the Eraser is made of is actually a fairly hard substance, and
so scrubbing with a Magic Eraser can leave abrasion damage on softer
surfaces like plastics, plastic laminates and paint. Also, because of
the way the foam works, you get better results by scrubbing off the dirt
gently in different directions than by scrubbing harder in one
direction. And, that prevents the abrasion damage I warned you about,
If it's alive, bleach will kill it. But, bleach works by spontaneously
breaking down to form oxygen atoms, and lone oxygen atoms will react
with large organic molecules to break them down into pieces. This is
why when you leave a cotton rag or a cellulose sponge soaking in bleach,
it turns into mush. Most of the cellulose molecules are in smaller
pieces so the sponge doesn't return to it's former shape if you squeeze
it like it would do if the cellulose molecules were undamaged. When you
"bleach" a red t-shirt white, the old red dye molecules are still there,
but in pieces and those pieces don't absorb the same wavelengths the
original dye molecules did (or any wavelengths of light for that
matter). And that makes the pieces invisible (because they're so small)
that if not for their collective red colour, you wouldn't see them.
That's also why oxidizing bleaches like Ozone will remove smells from
rooms, and why hydrogen peroxide removes the colour from hair. The
smells and colour are both caused by large organic molecules.
So, you have to be careful what you use bleach on. Always apply it in a
small inconspicuous spot to see if it does any damage before applying it
Commonly occuring elements like copper, zinc, arsenic and boron are
natural fungicides. The fungicide in copper naphthenate wood end cut
preservative is the copper atoms themselves. Boron is on that list, and
borax is a wide spectrum general fungicide used in Impel and Cobra rods
that are used in both telephone poles and log homes to protect the wood
from rotting. Best of all borax is cheap and safe for mammals. In some
countries, borax is used as a food additive. And, every supermarket on
the continent sells 20 Mule Team Borax as a laundry detergent additive
in their laundry detergent aisle for about $6 per box. Just dissolve
some in water, and have at her on anything that you think might be
alive, but don't want to use bleach on for fear of discolouring it.
I'm the only landlord I now that has his own carpet cleaning equipment
and cleans his own carpets. I've actually found the best cleaner for
really cruddy carpets in high traffic areas is a mild acid. I mostly
use CLR mixed with about 5 or 6 parts water, but I've used phosphoric
and hydrochloric acid based bathroom cleaners dissolved in water with
equally good results. That's because most of the "dirt" in a high
traffic carpet is actually road grit that people have tracked in, and
that has become embedded in the soft plastic fibers of the carpet pile.
The acid dissolves the road grit, thereby removing it from the carpet.
I think as long as you stick with CLR, or another mild acid like
Limeaway, you should be OK because the procedure does not involve
pouring acid into the rental machine.
Instead, you spray the acid solution down with a spray bottle, agitate
with your fingers to work the acid solution into the carpet and then
shampoo the soiled acid solution out of the carpet normally using clean
water from the rented machine.
I like to think I know a little bit about carpeting too. Almost
certainly, the carpet in your boat will be made of a plastic called
"Olefin", which is very similar to polypropylene. Thats because both
Olefin and polypropylene have excellent water resistance, excellent
resistance to UV light from the Sun, and both Olefin and polypropylene
float in water. These are the reason the yellow rope you see so common
in boating activities are made of polypropylene; it's perfectly suited
to boating and marine activities.
Olefin fiber, again like polypropylene, cannot be dyed by conventional
means. The only way to give it colour is by something called "solution
dying" which is where tiny solid coloured particles are mixed in with
the plastic before drawing it into a fiber. The result is a fiber that
gets it's colour from pigments suspended in the plastic very much like
raisins in raisin bread. As a direct result of that construction, you
can use bleach straight out of the jug on an Olefin carpet to remove
otherwise impossible stains. That's because the bleach comes into
contact with the molecules causing the stains, but not the original
colour of the carpet because the pigments are encased in Olefin plastic
and are never actually in contact with bleach.
Nylon makes for the most durable carpets, so a top quality boat might
have solution dyed nylon fiber carpet instead of Olefin. But, in that
case the pigments are encased in nylon plastic instead of Olefin, and
you can still use bleach to remove stains without affecting the colour
of the nylon carpet. I don't know about nylon's UV resistance, tho, and
I know it doesn't float.
Warning: Hydrochloric acid will dissolve chrome metal and chrome plating
at any concentration, so don't clean any shiney part of your boat with
hydrochloric acid. Phosphoric acid is the active ingredient in most
general purpose bathroom cleaners because it dissolves soap scum like
crazy, but won't attack chrome plating at even very high concentrations,
so I wouldn't hesitate to use it on your boat.
The best thing to dissolve soap scum is oven cleaner, but the reason why
is too long to add to this post. I can explain it if you want tho.
Warning: Oven cleaner will dissolve aluminum. Don't use oven cleaner
on anything you suspect is made of aluminum.
And, if there's no good reason for anything to be infested with fungii
or road grit, then the dirt is probably just loose on the surface (like
the boat's steering wheel) and just any good quality detergent will do.
Mr. Clean is actually one of the best surfactants out there, along with
Fantastik, and for any crude oil related dirt, use Simple Green. All of
these detergents work by encapsulating the dirt in an envelope of soap
molecules that are all highly soluble in water. Generally, the more
similar the soap molecule is to the dirt molecule, the better that
encapsulation and removal will be. So, to clean greasy finger marks
from french fries off a seat (for example), use a detergent meant for
cooking oils like dish washing detergent.
Also, the ONLY way the dirt molecules can become encapsulated in the
cleaning solution is through scrubbing them off the surface. That gets
the dirt molecules suspended inside the cleaning solution so that the
detergent molecules can surround and suspend them in the water. And,
once suspended in the water these "colloids" of dirt and soap molecules
remain suspended in the water because all the soap molecules are soluble
in water and want to stay in it. That prevents the dirt molecules from
being redeposited on the surface that's being cleaned in the scrubbing
process. So, just remember gentle scrubbing is essential to the
And, if you know what you're cleaning off of what, combining cleaners
also works very well. If you're cleaning french fry greasy finger marks
off of a painted wall, use a dish washing detergent on a Magic Eraser to
do it (as an example), scrubbing gently in all directions.
You can learn a lot about cleaning at the American Cleaning Institute's
'The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) | For Better Living'
It used to be called the "Soap and Detergent Manufacturer's Association"
but they changed it because so many of the cleaning products people were
making weren't soaps or detergents. They were acids, strong bases,
naturally occuring elements like boron or synthetic foams.
Also, for anyone that cares:
Our word "soap" almost certainly comes from Mount Sopa on which much of
ancient Rome was built. In Roman time, Mount Sopa is where you went to
ask a favour from a God. You would buy a small animal from the
merchants there, climb as high up onto the mountain as you could, build
a small fire, kill the animal and sacrifice it's body to the God of your
choice. You would call out what you wanted the God to do for you as the
smoke rose so that your message would be carried to the heavens by
But, what was actually happening was that the fat from the burning
animal carcass would drip off it's body and combine with the ash from
the fires to produce a crude form of soap that would just lay on the
ground at the fire sites until the rain came. Then it would be washed
into streams by the falling rain. Roman women noticed that washing
their clothes in the streams that flowed off Mount Sopa immediately
after a rain got them cleaner than washing them anywhere or anywhen
else. It's not know what if anything the Roman women attributed the
better cleaning to, but the fact that they noticed it and the similarity
between "soap" and "Sopa" makes it hard to deny a link exists.
On Monday, June 16, 2014 11:08:47 PM UTC-4, email@example.com wrote:
I'd use one of the kitchen type cleaning products that has
bleach or antibacterial in it. Fantastik type is probably
fine too, and after it's wiped off, you could follow it
with a diluted bleach solution, to kill the mildew.
Rent a carpet cleaning machine, that would probably give the
best results. Could possibly just use one of the spray
products that comes in a can, followed by hosing it off, if
the carpet can be removed, as most boat carpet can.
On Monday, June 16, 2014 11:08:47 PM UTC-4, firstname.lastname@example.org wrot
o use the bathroom mildew cleaner as it's made for tiles.
I have a boat and I've tried a lot of things. For really bad I us ethe clo
rox cleanup with bleach. But I've had the best general results with the cl
orox disinfecting bathroom cleaner. For some reason it really brightens my
vinyl. But it dries it out so after cleaning I use the 303 aerospace prot
ectant. But if you really want to keep your boat nice, garage it.
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