How To Clean Fiberglass

Don't try to clean all your household appliances and finishes the same way. Find out how to handle each one according to its type.

Many kinds of appliances and equipment we use today are made from fiberglass. These include everyday items like bathtubs, sinks, boats, car parts, light fixtures, and campers. Since the uses are so diversified, you have to be careful about what you use to clean this substance with. Also, there are ways to keep it from getting so dirty or stained. A related safety concern is that you need to know what will happen if you get fiberglass on your clothes or on your skin. Here are some handy care tips to keep household fiberglass products clean and serviceable while avoiding skin contact problems.

Fiberglass household sinks, campers, and bathtubs are made from a plastic resin forced together with glass fibers. The surface layer, a gel coat, is smooth and shiny. If you keep it intact, it is soil resistant and will look nice for a long time--so don't use wire brushes for cleaning it, or anything that is scratchy, harsh, or abrasive. Doing so may damage and dull the surface, making it harder to clean later, and ruining the finish. If you have to use a cleanser, use a gentle one like Comet. Be sure not to use any strong alkaline cleaners or solvents such as acetone and lacquer thinners on a fiberglass product. The only safe way to clean fiberglass is by applying a neutral cleaner with a sponge. This will remove the dirt without hurting the surface, plus it will keep the surface smooth and shiny so that it stays attractive and functional.

If you have a problem with hard water deposits leaving a scale that won't come off readily, then you need to use phosphoric acid. This will not hurt the finish as long as you rinse it right off after using it. Don't let it set for any length of time. If your fiberglass is starting to show worn spots, you can apply a protective wax coating like you would to a car, but put a mat in the tub or shower after using the wax so you don't fall.

Fiberglass fabric is not washable because the washer will damage the fabric. The machine's agitation effect will also leave fibers in your washer that will get into your clothes and cause a serious skin reaction that may require medical treatment. Your skin can itch badly and break out in irritated blotches. The same thing can happen if you put fiberglass fabric in a dryer, and then attempt to dry a regular load of laundry that includes wearable items. Instead, wipe fiberglass fabric off with a damp rag or throw it in a tub of water with a cup of regular laundry detergent. Mix around the detergent and let soak for a half hour, then rinse off the dirty water and hang it somewhere to dry. Make sure you rinse out the tub real well afterward to prevent the absorption of residual fibers into other fabrics or items. Never use clothespins on fiberglass, as they could damage the fabric. Don't try to iron fiberglass, either.

Special surfaces require special care. Take time to find out how to care for things like fiberglass to keep them safe, reliable, and in good condition.

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