Shurhold Buffing Pad Cleaner

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Shurhold buffing pad cleaner

Photos courtesy of Shurhold Inc.

During our April 2014 performance test of rubbing compounds, we sullied a dozen brand-new wool buffing pads, all of which were Shurhold brand. Since quality buffing pads are reusable (and not cheap), we thought the rubbing compound test was a great opportunity to also check out Shurholds new, professional-grade Serious Pad Cleaner (No. 30803). Mixed with water, this powdered concentrate is formulated to dissolve compounds and waxes from wool, polyester, cotton, microfiber, and foam buffing pads or cloths.

To test the cleaner, we followed maker instructions: Simply mix 1 tablespoon of Serious Pad Cleaner powder in a gallon of warm water; let the pads/cloths soak in the solution for 15 minutes; agitate the water and squeeze the pads/cloths a few times; rinse with fresh water. Testers found it helped to rinse with a high-pressure garden hose. The citrus-based powder is marketed as an environmentally friendly, biodegradable cleaner, but makers do recommend wearing rubber gloves during use. The mixed solution, which can be used for up to a week, can also be used to clean dock lines and microfiber or cotton bonnets.

Using the cleaner at home was certainly much easier than our usual pad-cleaning ritual, which entails hauling the lot (along with used boat rags) down to the local laundromat and washing them in quarter-eating washing machines.

The degree to which the pads came clean using the Shurhold powder depended on the chemical makeup of the rubbing compound that was used with the pad. The pads used with oily compounds and those that removed more oxidized blue gelcoat were more difficult to get clean. But in general, it did a good job of dissolving the compound from the wool.

Bottom line: The Serious Pad Cleaner costs about $14 for 12 ounces, which is enough to clean 10 to 12 batches of pads/cloths-thats roughly $1.17 per batch. If you plan to reuse your buffing pads for years to come, and will be laundering them at home or on the boat, the cleaner is worth investing in.

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Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.

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