Caring for Marine Fabrics


Caring for Marine Fabrics

To keep your Biminis, dodgers, and sail covers clean and in service for the long haul, regular maintenance is a must. Here are some best practices and care tips weve picked up over the years:
Use a soft cloth or brush to knock off loose dirt and then, hose down and clean with a mild solution of natural soap in lukewarm water. Rinse with fresh, cold water.
These faux-canvas fabrics should never be dry cleaned or put in a washing machine.
Never roll up wet enclosures or sail covers for storage; this will lead to mold and mildew stains. Store them in an area thats dry and well-ventilated to prevent mold growth.
If you plan to trailer your boat for a long trip, remove dodgers and Biminis to prevent damage and chafe.

Fabric-specific cleaning

Wash with lukewarm water using a mild detergent
Thoroughly rinse to remove all soap residue
Air dry
To remove mildew stains: Mix 1 cup bleach with a half-cup detergent per gallon of water
Apply, soak, and flush clean with fresh water
Do not use heat in the drying process
Dry dusting and brush off
Pre-soak in lukewarm fresh water (less than 100 degrees)
Wash with mild soap or Woolite, allowing cleaning solution to soak into fabric.
Rinse thoroughly and air dry; never apply heat.
May use 1 cup chlorine bleach per gallon of water to clean stains, mold, and mildew
After major washing or several years use, treat with 303 High Tech Fabric Guard (after complete cleaning and drying)

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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