How to Clean and Restore Sticky Isinglass
Frank Gentile asked:
Well I haven’t used my rear curtain in about 2 yrs. This week I broke it out to hang and noticed it was filthy! To say the least, I keep it hanging in my garage so not to fold or roll it. Today I saw a break in the weather ( 70’s ) so I figured I would use it. All I use is a boat wash, but it didn’t even begin to clean the Isinglass. It’s all greasy, sticky, and soap is not going to wash it off. Any ideas about what to use that’s not going to ruin it?
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From your description, I would say that it is already ruined. If it’s greasy and sticky, that’s and indication that the plasticizers in the plastic have migrated out. This is often caused by the cleaners or chemicals that you used to clean the curtains. Boat soap or wash, window cleaners and household cleaners, especially the corrosive types are notorious for this.
If it’s not too far gone, you may have some luck using Clear View. It’s a two part kit which contains a cleaner / restorer as well as a UV protector. The cleaner / restorer has been used successfully to restore fogged or yellowed clear vinyl as well as for removing the sticky damaged surface. Be aware though that the plastic is damaged and even getting the sticky surface off will leave the surface irregular and you will not restore the clarity that you had originally. If this works then applying the protector will help to seal the surface and protect against further damage, especially from sun exposure now that the plastic is vulnerable. It may be worth a try, because the alternative is replacing the window so you have noting to loose. This may get you some additional life from your existing window and even if it’s not successful, you will use the Clear View to clean and protect your replacement window.
In future do not use any cleaner or protector that is not specifically made for cleaning and protecting marine quality vinyl or polycarbonate side curtains (referred to as Isinglass). Regular maintenance should consist of rinsing the dirt and salt off with clear water and if drying is necessary pat them dry with a synthetic marine chamois or soft clean cotton cloth. Boat Clean Plus can be safely used at a concentration of 1:10 to 1:15 to remove salt, bird droppings and airborne pollutants that will not rinse off with water. If the plastic requires more aggressive cleaning use a recommended cleaner like Clear View No. 1.
I recommend applying Clear View No. 2 every 4 to 8 weeks, even on brand new curtains as this will extend the life of your windows from 2 to 4 times. It will also fill in minor surface scratches.
The best way to store your windows is flat, with a soft cloth or towel between the windows to protect the surface against scratching. The second best way is to roll the windows and if possible protect the surface with a soft cloth or towel. Never fold the windows or damage will result.
Thanks for your question
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