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12 TIPS ON HOW TO CLEAN FIBREGLASS

fibreglass

Fibreglass is a synthetic fiber that consists of a plastic resin formed together with glass fibres. A wide variety of items found in homes and workplaces are made from fibreglass, including sinks, showers, bathtubs, lighting fixtures, and boats. There are specific ways to keep fibreglass items in your premises clean and free from stains. Work safely, because fibreglass can be hazardous to your skin and lungs.

1. Start with a mild cleaner, like dishwashing liquid.

Dishwashing liquid will cut through most grease and oil stains. Don’t use an automatic dishwasher detergent, since it can be too abrasive for fibreglass.

  • Your detergent or cleaner should not have any bleach in it. Bleach can also damage fibreglass, so verify that it’s not an active ingredient in your mild cleaner.
  • You can also make a homemade cleaner easily by combining vinegar with regular dish detergent. This cleaner may work particularly well in showers.

2. Use baking soda to tackle caked-on dirt.

Mix baking soda with water to form a paste that can be used to remove dirt on surfaces like a shower door or sink. Apply it to the soiled area and leave it in place for at least 12 hours. Follow up by cleaning the area with soapy water.

  • The paste may turn a brownish color when it sits on the dirtier areas of fibreglass.
  • You can use vinegar to activate the baking soda after it sits on a fibreglass surface for deeper cleaning power. It should bubble a little, after which you can wipe down the fibreglass to get rid of the baking soda and dirty stains.
fibreglass cleaning

3. Remove paint stains with acetone or paint thinner.

Both of these substances can be dangerous, so be careful when you are using them. Acetone and paint thinner should only be used for stains such as oil or paint.

  • Since these materials can harm the fibreglass, only use them to tackle especially bad stains. Spot clean using acetone and paint thinner, so you don’t damage any areas not heavily stained.
  • Wear thick gloves when cleaning using acetone or paint thinner. It may be good to wear goggles as well, so you don’t get either substance in your eyes.

4. Try phosphoric acid (rust remover) for hard water stains.

It can be dangerous, so be careful when handling rust remover. Mix it with water so the rust remover is not strong enough to damage your fibreglass.

  • Dilute rust remover with water by about 10% to make it less dangerous to handle. Mix carefully before applying to any fiberglass surfaces.
  • Since this can be a dangerous cleaner, make sure to wear rubber gloves. Rinse the fiberglass surfaces immediately with water when applying the rust remover; don’t let it sit on the fiberglass for long.
  • As a safer alternative, try cleaning water stains with a paste made of white vinegar and baking soda. Let the mixture sit on the stain for an hour before gently scrubbing the surface and rinsing it with clean water. Add a drop of liquid soap or hydrogen peroxide for extra cleaning power.

5. Try wax, silicone, or detergent for fibreglass boat surfaces (but note that silicone will make any subsequent repairs very difficult).

If you have a fibreglass boat, you’ll likely want it to shine when in the marina or on the water. You can find these cleaners at marine stores, and the employees can usually suggest the best kind for your particular boat.

fibreglass cleaning
  • A good boat wax polish will create a protective shield on the gel-coat fibreglass surface, protecting the boat from the elements. This will stave off any damage from the water and keep your boat looking nice.
  • Older boats with fibreglass surfaces that have seen a lot of use might do better with a silicone polish, which sinks into the surface better. If your boat is older or used, you may also want to clean it on a more regular basis.
  • If you remove your fibreglass boat from the water after each use, wash it down thoroughly with a mild detergent and rinse thoroughly after each outing. This is especially important if your boat is in saltwater. Saltwater can really damage a boat’s fibreglass surfaces.
  • If there’s any mildew on the boat, add 1 cup (240 mL) of bleach per 3.8 L of your cleaning solution to kill it.

6. Avoid using scouring brushes or wire brushes when regularly cleaning Fibreglass.

These will scratch and ruin the gel-coat surface of the fiberglass. Even though your stains may be deep, harsh brushes are not the best solution to get rid of the stains

  • Don’t use steel wool, scrapers, or scouring pads, either. These cleaning tools are also too harsh for fibreglass surfaces.

7. Gently rub your fibreglass cleaner on with a cloth or soft nylon brush.

Make sure the brush has plenty of giving against the fibreglass surface. Fibreglass can be scratched easily, so be especially gentle even with tough stains.

  • Try using a circular motion when scrubbing fibreglass surfaces. This will ensure you don’t damage the fibreglass underneath.
  • For tougher stains, you can use a heavier cloth. However, it should still be soft enough to prevent damage.

8. Use a sponge for especially difficult stains.

Sponges may be good if you need to let your cleaner sit for a while. Use a soft sponge without any abrasive surfaces.

  • It may be especially useful to use a sponge when using baking soda paste. When using baking powder paste, the cleaner needs to sit a while before you mix it with vinegar.
  • The sponge can soak up the cleaner from the fibreglass surface. It can also wipe stains from the fibreglass surface.
fibreglass cleaning

9. Apply white polishing compound to your boat with a soft cloth.

Use a clean cloth and be especially gentle when applying the polish. Ideally, the polish should leave your fiberglass surface with a clean, white sheen.

  • Only apply the white polish compound with a soft cloth after cleaning the fiberglass. The polish should be the final step in your cleaning procedure.
  • Use the white polishing compound a few times a year to keep the fiberglass sparkling. The polish should be applied when the boat has been out a few times or has sat for a while.

10. Wear a mask when cleaning Fibreglass.

Inhaling fibreglass dust, which is produced whenever fibreglass is damaged, cut, broken, or sanded, can be dangerous. Though the irritation from fibreglass dust is temporary, it is also very unpleasant.

fibreglass cleaning
  • Exposure to the fibres and the dust in fibreglass can produce skin, eye, or respiratory tract irritation. It does not cause long-term problems in most cases but can lead to painful irritation.
  • This exposure could become serious depending on the length of exposure and the size of the fibres that you come into contact with. Fibreglass dust can cause internal damage, though this is extremely rare when only cleaning fibreglass.

11. Use protective clothing when cleaning Fibreglass.

Fibreglass can also cause skin irritation. It can even leave a rash on your skin in the case of long-term exposure. Wear long sleeves each time you work with fibreglass and change into clean clothes afterward. The long sleeves should prevent your arms from being exposed while changing your clothes will ensure you don’t retain any fibreglass dust on your person.

  • Minimize the amount of bare skin that can be exposed to fibreglass. Gloves, long sleeves, and pants are necessary when working intensively with fibreglass.
  • Launder the clothes you wear when cleaning fibreglass separately from your other clothes. Fibreglass dust can get into your other clothes if you’re not careful.

12. Wear protective goggles when working with Fibreglass

Eye irritation and damage are also serious problems with fibreglass. Eye irritation can be much more serious than inhaling fibreglass dust since it is more likely to cause permanent damage.

  • Particles from fibreglass can get into your eyes and irritate them. Wearing goggles should minimize the contact with fiberglass and keep your eyes safe.
  • Sharper fibreglass fragments can also severely damage your eyes if you do not protect them. They can cut your eyes and even lead to long-term damage. 
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