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fabric cratch cover cleaning

Just buying a 40footer with front and rear black cratch covers. The covers are clearly good quality and condition apart from the surface 'greening'. As it looks like its been sometime since these were last cleaned I'm thinking of powerwashing initially to get this off. Is this the right thing to do or should I use muc-off type cleaner?
thanks for any tips

Asked by: John Naylor  | 10.46am, Tuesday 5 November

WW says:

A soft-brush and detergent will be better for the longevity of the material- although a pressure washer is generally ok around most fabrics, it can cause some delamination of the fabric, and place undue stress on the stitching and fittings such as eyelets.
Use a biodegradable cleaner- as you suggest Muc-Off, or Eat-My-Dirt type cleaners are usually the best. Doing it on a damp day, when the algae and dirt is already soft is better than a nice dry sunny day (though nowhere near as pleasant to work with!).
Ensure that you thoroughly rinse the canopies after treatment, as long-term exposure to most detergents can cause weakening of many fabrics. Also, avoid washing up liquids and general domestic cleaners, as these invariably are both harsh and contain silicone compounds, which can lead to future problems (especially on nearby metalwork, when it comes to repainting).
After cleaning, you may find that using a waterproofing/preserving cleaner that helps keep the material supple, reduces UV degredation and increases waterproofness, is very useful. Most chandleries stock suitable products, as to caravan shops and some auto shops. Just make sure they are suitable for your fabric (especially if you have clear plastic window in the front cover).

Mark Langley  | 11.22AM, Tuesday 5 November

Assuming that the covers are PVC, using a pressure washer with plain water should be a good way to get any ingrained dirt and green slime off; but care should be used to avoid too high a pressure being applied to seams and similar areas. Take the covers off the boat and lay them out flat so they are evenly supported for cleaning, with less chance of overstressing the fasteners and it is easier to get into all the crannies. It would as well to keep away from the windows as these are the most vulnerable to damage from scratches.
Wilsons (who are probably the experts in boat covers) recommends that their covers are cleaned with soap suds, not detergent as this will harden the PVC. The clear windows and these should be cleaned with just a soft brush and plain water. To ensure that the green slime does not return too quickly; mix up a solution of Milton or similar steriliser and brush thoroughly into all the crevices to kill any remaining plant life.

Rupert Smedley  | 11.38AM, Tuesday 5 November

Readers say:

Cracking and complete advice there thanks, I will avoid the pressure wash idea now and follow your recommendations.
Thank you again for taking your time to respond

John Naylor  | 11.29AM, Tuesday 5 November

Appreciate your thoughts too

John Naylor  | 1.14PM, Tuesday 5 November

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