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Tar Balls and Oil stains

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Tar Balls and Oil stains

Postby sprockett » Sat Jun 26, 2010 3:20 pm

I don't want to start a big discussion about oil spills or off shore drilling...
But a big side effect of this is the tar balls and oil that are washing up on our beaches.

At one or two of our local beaches here(Hong Kong) we have regular problems with tar balls washing up.
On a bad day you can spend hours cleaning the tar off your board and Foot Pads by using WD40 or even CO contact cleaner.
But how do you clean the stains off the kite? especially with so many kites coming out in lighter colours.
Because of this problem I now only buy dark colour kites.
Any suggestions on what to use? me and my friends would definitely like to remove the stains.
And I am sure this will become an issue in other locations affected by oil pollution.

Thanks for your suggestions


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Re: Tar Balls and Oil stains

Postby Janus » Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:16 pm

Butter will do the trick.. at least for me, had some tar/oil on my feet last year and on my rubber boat (zodiac type)
Worked on some small stains on the kite aswell but you always have some light stain left.
Thinking of using a boat cleaner (soap) when I get a stain again.

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Re: Tar Balls and Oil stains

Postby AndrewJMcGee » Sun Jun 27, 2010 2:57 pm

Kerosene takes tar off skin! My father told me that the beaches of long island had tar balls all over from the ww2 ships that sunk. When they got home from the beach as a kid, they would have to wash with kerosene!

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Re: Tar Balls and Oil stains

Postby frankm1960 » Sun Jun 27, 2010 11:02 pm

I haven't run into the problem... yet. I'm about 3500km north of the big oil spill in the gulf so it's just a matter of time...

When it happens to me here's what I would do.

First, apply some "gue gone" to the oil stain and let it sit 10min. "gue gone" is a product I got at the local HW store and it's designed to break down chewing gum and most adhesive residues on various materials. I think it would work good to break down oil on kite fabric as well. I've used it on windsurf sails to remove old decals. I've used it to remove stick on footpads from my kiteboard. Got all the residue off. I think its' safe for kite fabric as well but I would do a small test area first. If you haven't got that try a paint thinner.

Second I would then use powdered laundry detergent and warm water mixture and scrub gently with a nylon scrub pad until it's gone. I've used laundry detergent and scrub brush on my LE before to remove dog crap :( Worked great. Got it all off :)

Hope that's helpful.

Let us know how you make out.

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Re: Tar Balls and Oil stains

Postby Parsley » Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:37 am

I'm no expert on the subject but any oil-based liquid is bad for a kite, which itself is an oil-based product. So while kerosene and WD-40 will get the oil off, it will damage the kite over time. It may be better to use a detergent such as dish soap (or laundry soap as the other poster mentioned), which will take a lot longer but ultimately remove the oil from the kite. It would be nice if we could coat the kite in silicone, which would repel the oil and make its removal much easier, but doing so would adversely affect its flight properties and potentially damage any silicone-based parts, if any. Just my $0.02.

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Re: Tar Balls and Oil stains

Postby cglazier » Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:58 am

You can try detergent but in my experience it doesn't work very well. Kerosene or varsol or common paint thinner work pretty well. You can successfully clean your canopy (polyester), but nothing gets the stains out of the leading edge dacron fabric.


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Re: Tar Balls and Oil stains

Postby loeuftok » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:17 am

I successfully removed, several times, on different color kites, petrol stains using olive oil.
Even on white canopy and white leading edge it worked, even though it required quite a lot of rubbing...

Used olive oil and cotton pads then finished the job with cloth detergent to remove the last traces of oil.

If you are patient enough and not shy on the quantity of olive oil, you will get it clean.

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