How to Clean & Care for Your Clear Vinyl
Making a full boat enclosure, dodger or other project that uses a large amount of clear vinyl requires an investment of both time and money. The best way to protect your investment is to take good care of your canvas and vinyl to ensure that they stay looking nice for years to come. Good clear vinyl care doesn’t take a lot of work. We’re going to share how to clean and store your vinyl goods to keep them looking shiny and new.
Be diligent about cleaning and protecting your clear vinyl. It’s easier to keep it looking nice than it is to try to reverse clouding and spots. When out in saltwater, it’s a good idea to frequently give your clear vinyl a freshwater rinse to remove salt residue. As a general rule, you should rinse your vinyl with clean fresh water every 1-2 weeks. When it comes time to clean your clear vinyl, our favorite method is the triple punch of the IMAR™ system for clear vinyl. These gentle soaps and protectants will clean, polish and protect your windows and are not harmful to vinyls with a manufacturer’s protective coating like Strataglass™ and O’Sea®. For Strataglass vinyl, you should only use IMAR™ Strataglass labeled products. Using any other products on Strataglass will void the warranty and could potentially damage the vinyl.
Start by washing your clear vinyl thoroughly with a mild, non-abrasive soap like IMAR Yacht Soap Concentrate (this product is a bonus, because you can also use it to clean other hard surfaces on your boat) and follow up with IMAR Protective Polish. We recommend fully cleaning your clear vinyl every 3-4 months. In between cleaning, about once a week, protect the polish by spraying on a protectant like IMAR Protective Cleaner or 303® Aerospace Protectant. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the steps involved.
How to Clean & Protect Clear Vinyl
- Cool off your clear vinyl by rinsing it with fresh water before cleaning.
- Mix 3 oz. of IMAR Yacht Soap Concentrate per 1 gallon of fresh water.
- Gently scrub the clear vinyl using a clean, soft cotton cloth.
- Spray with a hose to rinse clean and gently dry with another soft cloth.
- After rinsing and drying your vinyl, apply IMAR Protective Polish directly to a clean, soft cotton cloth and buff the clear vinyl in a circular motion. Do this every 1-2 months.
- Allow the polish to dry completely.
- Using a new, clean cloth, buff out the polish until the clear vinyl shines.
- Lightly spray IMAR Protective Cleaner on a soft cloth any time you need to spot clean the vinyl. A little goes a long way.
- Briskly wipe into the vinyl.
- Use a separate, clean cloth to buff the vinyl dry.
To help keep your vinyl looking its best between cleanings, be careful to keep it away from unnecessary contaminants like sunscreen and bug spray with DEET. Also, when restoring water resistance to your surrounding canvas, be sure to keep 303 Fabric Guard off your clear vinyl.
Another quick tip is if there is stray basting tape on your clear vinyl from fabrication of your enclosure or dodger, you can clean it off using 3M™ Adhesive Remover.
If you need to store your clear vinyl when not in use, roll up the vinyl with a soft fabric. This extra layer will keep the vinyl from resting against itself and possibly causing abrasion.
What have you found to be the best method of care for your clear vinyl windows? Share your options and experiences with us in the comments!