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Sail Cleaning and Canvas Cleaning

We provide canvas and sail cleaning services that will safely clean and get rid of almost all stains if not all. The sail cleaning and canvas cleaning process consists of temperature controlled soaking, hand washing and hang drying.  We do not use mechanical brushes, laundry machines or dryers.  For stubborn stains, and severe mildew, extra treatments may have to applied.

We do not believe in the practice of re-conditioning sails by re-resinating.  Sails that are old and have distorted shapes will still be old and distorted after the resin wears away in a few seasons.  The heat process that is employed tends to shrink boltropes and leech lines compounding the problem.  The cost of a new sail is by far a much better value.


  • Sail Cleaning
  • Caution: Solvents can break down the adhesives and finish of sails if used incorrectly. It is important to rinse and dry sails thoroughly after cleaning them.   The following cleaning techniques are to be applied at your own risk.  We cannot be responsible for any damaged caused to your sails by improper cleaning.

    There are several methods of cleaning your sails and getting rid of or at least reducing the amount of stains. 
  • For dirt or caked-on salt - Remove with mild detergent or soap. and a soft bristle brush.  Rinse sails with plenty of fresh water.  Lay your sail out on a soft surface.  Avoid concrete or asphalt. 
    Never place sails in a commercial washing machine or dryer since the creasing and folding necessary to get them in the machine and the abrasion during the washing and spin cycles will significantly reduce the life of the sail.  Heat from the washer and dryer will delaminate and break down the coating as well as shrink bolt ropes and sail cloth.
  • For oil, grease, tar and wax - Remove with warm water and soap. For hard stains, a mix of household bleach and soap can be used on Dacron sails. Do not use bleach on nylon or kevlar sails. Rinse well with fresh water.
  • For blood stains - Soak stained portion in a solution of  ten parts water to one part bleach. Scrub and rinse with lots of fresh water.
  • For rust and metallic stains - Scrub with soap and water, and then apply acetone. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water.
  • For Mildew-    Prevention is the best tactic, but if mildew has attacked the sail, treat it immediately and isolate the area from the rest of the sail to prevent spreading. Do not use bleach on Kevlar or nylon. All other laminates and coatings can take a weak chlorine bleach solution of one percent or less. Most bleach (sodium hypochlorite) solutions off the shelf, like Clorox, are a 5.25 percent solution and will need to be diluted. Some commercial brands of mildew cleaners like Tilex have three percent or less solution of bleach and can be used with dilution and a little extra care.
  •  Lysol is a fungicide that when sprayed on the sail will kill existing spores and inhibit any additional growth. After the organism is killed, most of the stain can be removed by soaking (not scrubbing) in a fungicide for 12 or more hours. Always rinse thoroughly to ensure there is no bleach residue left on the sail.  
  • For paint and varnish - Remove with acetone or alcohol. Use with caution..  Rinse well.
    Caution:  Solvents can break down the adhesives and finish of sails if used incorrectly. It is important to rinse and dry sails thoroughly after cleaning them.


    Once you have cleaned your sails, it is essential to properly stow them away.
  • Store sails dry - Thoroughly drying your sails before stowing them will help to deter mildew. Dampness can also make heavily resinated sails softer over time and can make nylon sails bleed. To dry roller furling sails, roll them up loosely.
  • Fold or roll sails - Especially important for racing sails, it is best to roll or fold your sails: never stuff them into the bag. You want to avoid creasing, which can break down the resin finish and greatly decrease the life of the sail.
  •  Avoid sunlight - Continuous exposure to ultra-violet radiation will decrease the strength of your sails. Always store sails in bags or under covers. Roller furling sails must have a sacrificial UV protection cover applied to the leech and foot.  SunbrellaŽ or other acrylic fabrics will last longer than UV protected Dacron panels . The disadvantage of SunbrellaŽ is that it adds weight that will effect sail shape in light air. Particularly on small boat head sails
  • Avoid heat - When storing your sails, keep them away from heat sources, such as engines, heaters, lights, etc. Also, never store sails in the trunk of your car.
  • Avoid petroleum-based products - These products can break down the adhesives on laminated sails.
  • Avoid storing near boat batteries - Battery acid can degrade the strength of the sails.

Whether you own racing or cruising sails, proper sail maintenance and a little extra effort on your part will increase the life of your sails and help them keep their shape longer


Care and Cleaning Instructions

Some of the most frequently asked questions about SunbrellaŽ fabrics concern care and cleaning. The good news is that SunbrellaŽ is designed to be easy to maintain. By following a few simple care and cleaning steps, the fabric will maintain its good looks for many years.  

Important Background

SunbrellaŽ fabrics are made from 100 percent solution-dyed acrylic yarns. Solution-dying is the process of adding color to acrylic fibers during manufacturing while they are in a liquid state. This characteristic of SunbrellaŽ fabrics is the key to locking in color, easy cleaning and long life.

Because SunbrellaŽ fabrics are woven, they are also highly breathable, which is why they dry quickly with only air exposure. It's also important to know that SunbrellaŽ fabrics are treated with a fluorocarbon finish, which enhances water repellency. This finish requires replenishment after vigorous cleaning.

SunbrellaŽ fabrics will not support the growth of mildew, but dirt on the fabric can lead to mildew growth, which makes regular cleanings important. No set timetable exists for when fabric should be cleaned, and the local environment has a great deal to do with determining cleaning frequency. Cleaning is required less frequently in a dry environment than in a humid one with heavy foliage.

SunbrellaŽ awning and marine fabrics carry a five-year limited warranty and SunbrellaŽ furniture fabrics are warranted for three years. With proper care and cleaning, you can expect excellent service from SunbrellaŽ fabrics far beyond warranty periods.


Canvas Cleaning

One of the best ways to keep SunbrellaŽ fabrics looking good and to delay the need for deep or vigorous cleanings is to hose fabrics off on a monthly basis with clear water. This practice will help prevent dirt from becoming deeply imbedded in the fabric and eliminate the need for more frequent vigorous cleanings. In most environments, a thorough cleaning will be needed every two to three years.

When it's time for a thorough cleaning, SunbrellaŽ fabrics can be cleaned while still on an awning frame or a boat or, size permitting, they can be removed for cleaning in a washing machine.

When cleaning SunbrellaŽ fabrics, it is important to observe the following:

ˇ        Always use a natural soap. Never detergent.

ˇ        Water should be cold to lukewarm. Never more than 100 degrees.

ˇ        Air dry only. Never apply heat to SunbrellaŽ fabrics.


If you are cleaning SunbrellaŽ while still on a frame or on a boat, follow these simple steps:

ˇ        Brush off loose dirt.

ˇ        Hose down.

ˇ        Prepare a cleaning mixture of water and mild, natural soap (no detergents).

ˇ        Use a soft bristle brush to clean.

ˇ        Allow soap to soak in.

ˇ        Rinse thoroughly.

ˇ        Air dry.


If stubborn stains persist, you can use a diluted chlorine bleach/soap mixture for spot cleaning of mildew, roof run-off and other similar stains.


Prepare a special cleaning mixture:

ˇ        Four ounces (half cup) of chlorine bleach.

ˇ        Two ounces (one-fourth cup) of natural soap.

ˇ        One gallon of water.

ˇ        Clean with soft bristle brush.

ˇ        Allow mixture to soak for up to 20 minutes.

ˇ        Rinse thoroughly.

ˇ        Air dry.

ˇ        Repeat if necessary.


If an awning or boat cover is suitable in size for a washing machine (gentle cycle only) , these steps should be followed:

ˇ        Use only natural soaps. No detergent.

ˇ        Wash and rinse in cold water.

ˇ        Air dry. Never put SunbrellaŽ fabrics in your dryer



For those occasions when stains may occur below are the recommended cleaning methods for SunbrellaŽ
for some of the most common and toughest stains. 
Caution: You must rinse thoroughly with fresh water to remove all solvents, soaps, etc

STAIN Recommended Cleaning Solutions
BEER liquid detergent, white vinegar        
BERRY liquid detergent / ammonia (3-6% water)      
BLOOD (DRIED) detergent / ammonia (3-6% water)        
BUTTER volatile solvent (acetone) use with extreme caution, rinse well        
CHARCOAL, PENCIL MARKS vacuum, then liquid detergent        
CATSUP OR MUSTARD liquid detergent        
CHEWING GUM volatile solvent (acetone) use with extreme caution, rinse well        
CHOCOLATE liquid detergent, ammonia water        
COFFEE detergent, white vinegar, volatile solvent (acetone)  use with extreme caution, rinse well      
COLA liquid detergent        
CRAYON paint, oil or grease remover        
EGG (RAW) liquid detergent        
GRAPE JUICE liquid detergent        
GRAVY liquid detergent        
GREASE (CAR) volatile solvent (acetone) use with extreme caution, rinse well        
INK (Permanent, India, Ballpoint)   paint remover, volatile solvent (acetone), detergent      
IRON RUST oxalic or citrus acids, water        
LIPSTICK paint, oil or grease remover        
MASCARA paint remover, volatile solvent (acetone), detergent, water    
MILDEW 1/2 cup of bleach and 1/4 cup natural soap per gallon of water  
MILK liquid detergent        
NAIL POLISH volatile solvent (acetone) use with extreme caution, rinse well        
OIL volatile solvent (acetone) use with extreme caution, rinse well        
ORANGE DRINK liquid detergent, water        
PAINT (LATEX) WET liquid detergent, water        
PAINT (LATEX) DRIED paint, oil or grease remover        
PAINT (OIL OR LACQUER) paint, oil or grease remover        
SHOE POLISH (LIQUID) volatile solvent (acetone) use with extreme caution, rinse well        
SHOE POLISH (WAX) apply heated iron over towel, volatile solvent (acetone) use with extreme caution, rinse well    
SUNTAN LOTION Pine PowerŽ or pine oil detergent        
TEA liquid detergent        
TOMATO JUICE liquid detergent        
TREE SAP turpentine, liquid detergent        
URINE liquid detergent, white vinegar        
VOMIT detergent, water, white vinegar        
WATER COLOR liquid detergent, water, white vinegar        
WAX (CANDLE) apply heated iron over towel, volatile solvent (acetone) use with extreme caution, rinse well    
WINE Liquid detergent / ammonia (3-6% water), white vinegar use with extreme caution, rinse well    


Re-treating the Fabric

  As part of the finishing process, SunbrellaŽ fabrics are treated with a fluorocarbon finish, which enhances water repellency. This finish is designed to last for several years, but must be replenished

after a thorough cleaning. Based on test results, Glen Raven recommends 303 High Tech Fabric Guard™ as the preferred re-treatment product for SunbrellaŽ fabrics. Fabrics should be retreated

after thorough cleaning or after five years of use.

Applying 303 High Tech Fabric Guard™

303 should be applied to SunbrellaŽ fabrics after each thorough cleaning, which typically removes the original fluorocarbon finish and reduces the fabric's water resistance. After cleaning the fabric, allow it to air dry completely and then apply 303 in a thin, even coat. After allowing the first coat of 303 to air dry, apply a second thin, even coating of 303. Two light coatings are more effective in restoring fabric water resistance than a single


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