Thursday, August 31, 2017

Another Window Cleaning Answer

After.. and Before
While at anchor, small things that might otherwise just be irritants grow in importance.  Case in point:  the vinyl windows in our dodger.  Last time we were out I tried upping the ante a little and attacked the stubborn stuff on the inside with Windex because I was coming to the conclusion that what was on there was not a water-soluble deposit.  I think it helped.  A little.
Aside:  So what is this deposit?   I think there are two possibilities.
  • Grease from the galley cooking, conveyed up there by the mushroom vent, and
  • Plasticizer sweating out of the vinyl ("Plasticizer?? What's that?  Remember the old vinyl records? That's what vinyl is like without plasticizer.  Plasticizer is a low volatility oily substance, blended in with the vinyl - are they still using dioctal pthalate?  I don't know.  Low volatility doesn't mean no volatility tho.  If you live in the South, you will find plasticizer baked out of your car's vinyl interior components condensed on the inside of the windshield.)
In either case tho, the substance is apparently  organic-soluble.  So, what the hey, I tried paint thinner.

It worked!  Wonderfully in fact.  Look at the crud on that rag! But the proof is in the seeing...  That first picture shows the left panel cleaned and the right panel still in "as is" condition.  I'm betting that even in the photograph you can see the difference.  In person, it is stunning.

One more substance in the quiver of boat maintenance tools...


Drew Frye said...

Cooking grease is certainly one of the big problems with dodgers.

I would be careful with Windex. Anything containing ammonia can be very bad for clear vinyl, causing internal hazing that won't go away. What does work (and I've tested a bunch)? Liquid waxes with zero abrasives (no cleaner waxes), like Imar Polish (the only products approved by Strataglass, and no, there is no financial connection) is very good. A good buffing with Imar has proven to be the safest way to tackle minor restorations. Sailmakers swear by Armanda 210, which is very good at removing grease and plastisizers. For regular use, Starbrite View Guard is my favorite. It seems to be the best at getting the water to sheet of, improving visibility in the rain. So NOT use Rainex--it will ruin your windows.

There are a few that include mineral spirits (Starbrite Clear), Sudbury). In its pure form, it is safe, but I would be VERY careful with solvents (always test a corner), because it aint' necessarily what it says on the label. Who can be certain what was blended?

And just so everyone remembers, DEET (bug spray) will melt vinyl windows on contact. Any hand print of finger print is forever and cannot be buffed out. ALWAYS wash your hands after applying, for this reason.

Robert Salnick said...

Thanks Drew - I had forgotten about the DEET problem...

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