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Sail stains

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: General
Forum Name: Repair & maintenance
Forum Discription: Questions & tips on the subject
Printed Date: 06 Oct 22 at 7:55am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y -

Topic: Sail stains
Posted By: Wetabix
Subject: Sail stains
Date Posted: 18 Nov 20 at 12:24pm
Does anyone know how to get rid of the small rust coloured stains that sometimes appear on sails, sailbags and the like during storage? 

Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 18 Nov 20 at 2:04pm
Oxalic acid.


Posted By: Wetabix
Date Posted: 18 Nov 20 at 9:21pm
er... just remind me where I can find oxalic acid. (Oh - and thanks for the tip)

Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 18 Nov 20 at 9:47pm
Ebay, amazon, I got mine from Wilko, years ago though.


Posted By: Wetabix
Date Posted: 18 Nov 20 at 11:11pm
I believe there's quite a lot of it in rhubarb stems!

Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 18 Nov 20 at 11:26pm
Yes, plants contain a lot, red colour might cause an issue thoe lemon supposed to be good.


Posted By: ColPrice2002
Date Posted: 19 Nov 20 at 9:51am
If these are rust stains (eg from the luff wire), then either oxalic acid or citric acid will complex with the iron and you can then wash it out with plenty of fresh water.
I'd prefer citric acid - oxalic acid is toxic (which is why you don't eat rhubarb leaves!).

If it's a mold type stain, then use diluted bleach and a little scrub. In all cases rinse well.
There are more effective chemical treatments, but the sailcloth may not like the !

Posted By: Wetabix
Date Posted: 19 Nov 20 at 10:16am
Thanks for that - the stain is tiny but it is right in my field of view (close to the mast by the third batten. I believe it to be fungal in origin caused by putting the sail away while damp. It is my storm sail and I haven't used it since the beginning of the season. I was going to try bleach but my wife says it will dissolve the sail. A tiny drop perhaps.


George Morris
Weta 117

Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 19 Nov 20 at 12:19pm
This article refers to mildew but does refer to using household bleach on sails so might be useful." rel="nofollow -

Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"

Posted By: Wetabix
Date Posted: 19 Nov 20 at 12:30pm
OK, it looks like I won't be using bleach! Thanks for that. 

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