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Old 09-01-2014, 05:52 PM   #1
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Mildew on Phifertex Mesh

Like many other trawler owners (I presume) I use Phifertex mesh screens to keep the sun out and provide some privacy from dock strollers.

The hot, humid North Florida environment has put a lot of mildew on them, and I am contemplating spraying them good with a bleach/water mixture to bring back the pristine white color. But not sure what that might do to the material. Anyone have any appropriate knowledge that they might be willing to share?
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Old 09-01-2014, 06:54 PM   #2
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Me too, looking for answers...out em in the washer...no cigar...
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:01 PM   #3
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From the Sailrite website..........

Phifertex Cleaning Instructions:
Prepare cleaning solution using 1 tbsp. liquid dish detergent and 2 tbsp. household bleach in one gallon of water.
Clean fabric with sponge or soft cloth dipped in solution.
Rinse thoroughly with clear water and air dry.
Avoid direct contact with oil-based products which may cause accelerated aging of fabric. If direct contact occurs, clean promptly.
Regular maintenance of your Phifertex fabric will help extend the life of the fabric. Clean Phifertex 1–2 times a year when in moderate use (more frequently when used heavily).
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwnall View Post
Like many other trawler owners (I presume) I use Phifertex mesh screens to keep the sun out and provide some privacy from dock strollers.

The hot, humid North Florida environment has put a lot of mildew on them, and I am contemplating spraying them good with a bleach/water mixture to bring back the pristine white color. But not sure what that might do to the material. Anyone have any appropriate knowledge that they might be willing to share?
'

John, I use the 50/50 bleach water mixture with a ShurHold soft bristle brush. I does not do it alone. I wait for a sunshiny day, and lay the covers on the dock to dry. Both sides. The combination of bleach and sun working together does the trick. YMMV.

Try not to store the covers wet. That is when the mildew gets bad.
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by rochepoint View Post
From the Sailrite website..........

Phifertex Cleaning Instructions:
Prepare cleaning solution using 1 tbsp. liquid dish detergent and 2 tbsp. household bleach in one gallon of water.
Clean fabric with sponge or soft cloth dipped in solution.
Rinse thoroughly with clear water and air dry.
Avoid direct contact with oil-based products which may cause accelerated aging of fabric. If direct contact occurs, clean promptly.
Regular maintenance of your Phifertex fabric will help extend the life of the fabric. Clean Phifertex 12 times a year when in moderate use (more frequently when used heavily).
Missed that, although I did go to the website. Many thanks. I did send Sailrite an email asking for advice, so undoubtedly will get that again from them. Most of the time I am happy to be single, but every now and then do wish that I had a First Mate (sorry, cannot deal with the "Admiral" stuff) to cope with this sort of thing. :-)
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:10 PM   #6
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When you lay them on the dock to dry be sure to secure them if it is windy. don't ask
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:25 PM   #7
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every now and then do wish that I had a First Mate (sorry, cannot deal with the "Admiral" stuff) to cope with this sort of thing. :-)
Many Admirals/First Mates likely rate this as a Captain`s job. I cleaned mine, carefully, with a water blaster, using washing up detergent in an initial soak phase,spot cleaned remaining dirty mildewy areas with bleach, neutralizing with more water. If some stitching dies in the process it needed resewing anyway. My covers guy says resewing covers every couple of years when the stitching gets tired extends their life, it does, it probably enhances his life too.
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:30 PM   #8
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When you lay them on the dock to dry be sure to secure them if it is windy. don't ask
I think there is probably a tale worth telling there! :-) Come on, Steve.
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:38 PM   #9
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.... I cleaned mine, carefully, with a water blaster, using washing up detergent in an initial soak phase,spot cleaned remaining dirty mildewy areas with bleach, neutralizing with more water. ...
When properly used, a pressure washer can be a time- and labor-saving device on the boat. I've used it to clean everything from shade screens to decks to fire hose rail covers.

I wouldn't recommend using it on the boat unless you're very familiar with your pressure washer. That could lead to more damage than help.
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:23 PM   #10
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When you lay them on the dock to dry be sure to secure them if it is windy. don't ask
Been there
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:48 PM   #11
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Old 09-02-2014, 07:42 AM   #12
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Yes a couple flew off in a gust and sank like rocks but, the water was shallow and I was able to fish them out. They fared better than a cell phone that dove off of my belt clip once, before the $$ smartphone era fortunately.
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Old 09-02-2014, 08:46 AM   #13
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I had also sent an email to Sailrite, asking them the same question. Here is the response:

Hi John,
Excellent question! The Phifertex is made from a vinyl and mold and mildew cannot grow to it, but if dirt gets imbedded in the mesh weave or surface of the vinyl mold and mildew will grow on the dirt stuck on the vinyl. Clean it as soon as you see the mold or mildew appear for best results. Yes, a solution of bleach and water may be used on the Phifertex fabric (I would suggest a cup of bleach with a gallon of warm water). The fabric will not be damaged by this, however if you used a Polyester thread to sew the Phifertex the bleach solution will take away some of the life of the thread by about 1 year. If you used a PTFE thread (Tenara or Helios) brand thread it is also not damaged by the bleach.

Best Regards,
Eric Grant
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Old 09-02-2014, 12:02 PM   #14
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My pilothouse settee upholstery is done in the same stuff. From old leaks before I re-skinned the roof, this stuff was throw away filthy. I had nothing to loose, so I used about every product I had including rust and black streak remover, then dawn detergent and bleach, then power wash! I can hardly believe that it withstood this torture and stayed intact. This year, I had a local outfit sew me up a couple of corner cushions from the same material, and they still match perfectly. Amazing product!
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Old 09-02-2014, 01:24 PM   #15
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John, for anything that lives south of Woodville bleach is your friend. I would follow Don's 50/50 advice. I'm on my way to the Ace in a few hours to buy some pool chlorine (it's stronger than household bleach) to spray on the mildew on the screens around our back porch. It laughs at regular bleach.

The mold and mildew down here is astounding. It grows on everything.
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