Clean Air Page 2

Sealed Tightly - Maintenance Q & A — March 2003 - Part 2
Maintenance Q & A — March 2003
By Capt. Ken Kreisler

Clean Air
Part 2: Keeping Sunbrella material clean.
 More of this Feature
• Servicing Airseps
• Keeping Sunbrellas Clean
• PMY Tries... Darby Suction Cleat

 Related Resources
• Maintenance Q&A Index

How do I keep my Sunbrella fabric clean? B.R., via e-mail
Washing it down with fresh water on a regular basis will prevent dirt from becoming embedded in the fabric. While the fabric can be cleaned right on the boat, you can, if it's practical, remove it and put it in your washing machine. If you do this, use only mild natural soap like Ivory and wash and rinse in cold water. Do not place the fabric in the dryer. Instead, let it air dry.

If you are cleaning the fabric aboard your boat, first brush off any loose dirt. Then scrub it gently with a soft-bristle brush using a mixture of Ivory soap and water, and allow the mixture to soak for at least 20 minutes. Rinse the fabric thoroughly, and let it air-dry. Repeat these steps if necessary.

Treat stubborn stains with a mixture of diluted chlorine bleach and soap. Sunbrella recommends mixing four ounces of chlorine bleach with two ounces of mild soap (again, Ivory works well) in one gallon of water. Scrub the stain with a soft bristle brush and again allow the mixture to soak in for at least 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly, allow to air-dry, and repeat if necessary.

Sunbrella is treated with a fluorocarbon mixture, and vigorous cleaning can remove this coating and reduce the fabric's water resistance. Therefore, it is recommended that you re-treat the fabric using 303's High Tech Fabric Guard after such cleanings or after five years of use. Depending on the weight of the fabric, a 15-ounce aerosol can should cover up to 50 square feet. Apply the product in two coats, allowing drying time between coats.

If you have questions about specific stains, contact Sunbrella at (336) 221-2211 or visit

Need help with a maintenance problem? Write to Maintenance Q & A, Power & Motoryacht, 260 Madison Ave., 8th Fl., New York, NY 10016. Fax: (917) 256-2282. e-mail: No phone calls, please.

Next page > PMY Tries... > Page 1, 2, 3

This article originally appeared in the February 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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