How to Clean and Care for Your Clear Vinyl

2014_July-Window-Cleaning

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. Today 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. When it comes time to clean your clear vinyl, our favorite method is the triple punch of the Imar system for clear vinyl. These soaps and protectants will clean, polish and protect your windows and are not harmful to vinyls with a manufacturer’s protective coating like Strataglass or O’Sea.

Start by washing your clear vinyl thoroughly with Imar’s 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

Clean

  1. Cool off your clear vinyl by rinsing it with fresh water before cleaning.
  2. Mix 3 oz. of Imar Yacht Soap Concentrate per 1 gallon of freshwater.
  3. Gently scrub the clear vinyl using a clean, soft cotton cloth.
  4. Spray with a hose to rinse clean and gently dry with another soft cloth.

Protect

  1. Apply Imar Protective Polish directly to a clean, soft cotton cloth and buff the clear vinyl in a circular motion.
  2. Allow the polish to dry completely.
  3. Using a new, clean cloth, buff out the polish until the clear vinyl shines.

Touch Up

  1. Lightly spray Imar Protective Cleaner on a soft cloth (a little goes a long way!).
  2. Briskly wipe into the vinyl.
  3. 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.

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? Any horror stories of cleaning gone wrong? Share your options and experiences with us in the comments!

6 comments
  1. John Hughes said:

    I don;t know what’s the best method, but I know that what I did — wipe down with a fresh-water damp rag now and then over the years, store the plastic in late autumn when it was cold, without anything between layers, let it sit in my hot car before installing — was all wrong. After 15 years, it had gone from clear to something more like “translucent, with a few small cracks.” The result was that I had to replace all the vinyl in my dodger — a good deal of $$$ in Strataglass, and a lot of hours of sewing work. This time, I’ll be a bit more methodical about caring for it. :)

  2. Mary Smith said:

    Now how about some advice on cleaning the canvas etc covers. Pine sap especially, without removing the color in the fabric. I can not move my boat to another location.

    Thanks, Mary Louise Smith

  3. Brian Hart said:

    I would like a video or discussion on tips for protecting strataglass or any clear vinyl from scratches etc during construction.

    Great site please keep it coming.

    Thank you
    Brian

    • Nikki said:

      Interesting idea, Brian! I’ll have to add that to our list.

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