May 15th, 2015 0 comments

Boat covers and awnings for a home or business can be a considerable investment by your customer. As their service provider, you can help them avoid, prevent and resolve the challenge of dirt, stains and normal wear and tear to help protect their investment and keep it looking like new. This month, the team at Marlen Textiles offers their top tips for general care and cleaning for marine and awning canvas.

These tips focus on unique cleaning methods for two different types of stains: Residual (contact) stains, caused from contact with various substances such as oils, dirt, bird droppings, dust smears, food, grease, etc., and Organic stains, caused from biological sources like Mold and Mildew.

Residual (contact) stains (oils, dirt, bird droppings, dust smears, food, grease, etc.) Cleaning Procedure

Procedure describes hand cleaning methods as well as industrial washing methods for stain removal.

Note: It is very important to use mild soaps. Strong detergents will interfere with post-treatment of water repellency applications, as they are difficult to wash out and fully remove from fabric.

Industrial Washer Method:

  • Select appropriately sized washing equipment to avoid crushing or creasing of the fabric.
  • Load material into washer and select warm cycle, temperature range 100-120°F (do not use high temp or hot cycle). A gentle cycle should be selected to avoid strong spinning or tumbling of the fabric.
  • Dissolve 1 cup of mild soap plus 2 cups baking soda in 1 gallon of warm water and add to washing machine.
  • Before the end of the drain cycle, inspect the fabric for remaining stains. The mild scouring action of baking soda and a mild soap should loosen most stains. If necessary, use a soft bristled brush to scrub in a light circular motion around any remaining stains.

Note: For more stubborn stains use a 10% solution of super strength cleaner & degreaser. Spray the solution onto the stains using a spray bottle application. Use the same scrubbing directions listed above to loosen the stains.

  • After removal of all stains, clean all soap from the fabric by using multiple rinse cycles to thoroughly eliminate soap. Specifically, rinse once with warm water and three times with cold water. Visually inspect to ensure all soap has been removed; if not, continue with a cold rinse cycle until only water remains in tub.
  • To dry material, avoid excessive spinning or tumble drying. Hang material to dry or follow manufacturer’s recommendations. Allow fabric to fully dry before storing or applying a post treatment application of a water repellent. Note: The cycle can be repeated once more if necessary to remove more difficult to remove, ground-in stains.

Alternate to machine-washing method: Hand Cleaning

  • In a large container (20-30 gallons) fill with warm water between 100-120°F. Dissolve 1 cup of mild soap and 2 cups baking soda.
  • Soak the stained material in the cleaning solution for 3-5 hours. Avoid crushing or creasing of the fabric.
  • Gently swirl or agitate the material every half hour.
  • At the end of the soaking period, visually inspect for remaining stains. The mild scouring action of baking soda and a mild soap should loosen most stains. If necessary, use a soft bristled brush to scrub in a light circular motion around any remaining stains.

Note: For more stubborn stains use a 10% solution of super strength cleaner and degreaser. Spray the solution onto the stains using a spray bottle application. Use the same scrubbing directions listed above to loosen the stains.

  • After removal of all stains, use a multiple rinse cycle to thoroughly clean all soap from the fabric. Rinse once with warm water and three times with cold water. Visually inspect to ensure all soap has been removed, if not, continue with a cold rinse cycle until only water remains.
  • Hang material to dry or follow manufacturer’s recommendations. Allow fabric to fully dry before storing or applying a post treatment application of a water repellent.

Note: The cycle can be repeated once more if necessary to remove ground in stains.

Organic Stains (Mold and Mildew) Cleaning Procedure

The following procedure describes a manual cleaning method for mold and mildew stain removal. Do not attempt to address mold or mildew staining issues by cleaning in an industrial washing machine.

  • In a large container with a lid (20-30 gallons), fill with warm water between 100-120°F. Dissolve 1⁄2 cup of mild soap, 1⁄2 cup baking soda, and 1⁄2 gallon of bleach (safety note: wear gloves and eye protection while handling bleach).
  • Soak the fabric for 24 hours under a closed lid. Avoid crushing or creasing of the fabric.
  • Gently swirl or agitate the material every half hour for the first 2 hours and the last 2 hours of the total 24-hour soak.
  • At the end of the soaking period, visually inspect for remaining mold and mildew growth. The mild scouring action of baking soda and a mild soap should remove most mold and mildew growth. If necessary, use a soft bristled brush to scrub in a light circular motion around any remaining spores.

Note: For more stubborn areas use a 10% solution of super strength cleaner and degreaser. Spray the solution onto growth areas using a spray bottle application. Use the same scrubbing directions listed above to remove the mold and mildew.

  • After removal of all mold and mildew growth, use a multiple rinse cycle to thoroughly clean all soap from the fabric. Rinse three times with warm water and three times with cold water. Visually inspect to ensure all soap has been removed, if not, continue with a cold rinse cycle until only water remains.
  • Hang material to dry or follow manufacturer’s recommendations. Allow fabric to fully dry before storing or applying a post treatment application of a silicone-based water repellent.

Note: The cycle can be repeated once more if necessary to remove residual mold and mildew growth.

It is very important to apply a water repellent product after cleaning, preferably a silicone-based product. This should be done at least once a year.

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