View Full Version : safe chemicals to clean sails

16th April 2007, 12:07 AM
in preparation for this year's racing, i'm in the process of removing old sail numbers and applying new ones.

anyone have tips on what chemicals are safe on sails to remove the gooey residue and/or magic marker left on from the old sail numbers?

thanks in advance for your input. looking forward to seeing you on the water.

thanks, bry

Del Carpenter
26th May 2007, 07:18 AM
I have the same problem, used the search function to look for an answer and found this post. I know the question was asked before, I remember Roger saying WD-40 is not the answer because of the risk of leaving a petroleum based residue that could damage monofilm. Unfortunately, I don't remember what he recommended.

26th May 2007, 12:54 PM
Hi Del,
Roger likes and uses acetone....very carefully!
Bill Hansen does not like acetone, and suggests lacquer thinner, mineral spirits (paint thinner) and Goo Gone.
I'll have to try the lacquer thinner, but I've always used acetone, and it works great, but don't get it anywhere near a seam, as it will melt the glue that holds the sail together.
Also, use it very sparingly, just dampen a cloth or paper towel and wipe the number or gooey area quickly.
DO NOT allow acetone to "pool" on your sail as it will quickly eat through the monofilm or x ply scrim.
Hope this helps,

26th May 2007, 05:47 PM
A while back I took all the advertisers' stickers off of one of Kevin's former sails. It's a tough job which requires considerable elbow grease. I wouldn't do it again. The Bic stickers were worse than the Fiberspar. I figured they would make better sail repair material than the tape sold commercially. Goo Gone sold in the states works best as I remember. The sail is still in good shape. I rigged it a couple of days ago. I tried a number of products, including WD-40, but have cleaned all thoroughly off.

26th May 2007, 11:15 PM
For dirty luff tubes Stardrops is good as is Swarfega. (Non-grit one)
Not sure with residue left from stickers . Mer (car polish) is pretty good and even gets rid of some of the misting.(with enougfh elbow grease)
I have used Acetone but very sparingly. White spirits and meths work on some too.(Again be carefull though)
Left a sail in our hot tub (on hottest setting with stardrops in water) Sail waas marginally cleaner but house was full of soap suds. (Well gaerden was):p

Del Carpenter
28th May 2007, 11:28 AM
Thank you, all.

Just before I started to test some acetone and paint thinner I had to degrease my hands from another project. I used "Goop" to clean my hands, read the label and wondered if it would remove the glue residue. i applied a few drops with a finger in a tiny area and rubbed it in then I quickly wiped it off with a tissue. I noticed that area of the glue wasn't sticky anymore. Then I rubbed the nonsticky residue with a fingernail and it came off.

I'm now testing leaving some "Goop" on the monofilm of a junked sail overnight. The "Goop" ingredients are "isoparafins, water, fatty acid, surfactants, gylcerine, lanolin, fragrance, preservatives. I'm hoping the "Goop" will turn out to be safe for the monofilm, but I'm also guessing it will require more rubbing work and will be slower than the other solutions already mentioned.

29th May 2007, 06:14 PM
Eucalyptus oil will also remove sticker adhesive and is generally non aggressive on plastics

Del Carpenter
31st May 2007, 11:47 AM
"Goop" test results...it doesn't damage monofilm, but it doesn't really cut through sail number adhesive either.