The material used in constructing bimini tops and boat covers is made from 100 percent solution-dyed polyester fiber with a urethane coating to provide excellent water repellency and mildew resistance. This design allows the material to be easily maintained. By following a few simple care and cleaning steps, the fabric will continue to look good and maintain its fine qualities for seasons to come.
Important Background Information
Because the fabrics are woven, they are breathable. It's also important to note that these fabrics are treated with a fluorocarbon finish, which enhances water repellency. This finish will need to be reapplied after vigorous cleaning.
The materials finish is designed to deter mold and mildew growth, but it does not make it mold-proof. Keeping the fabric free of dirt and foreign substances is important in deterring mold growth. There is no set time for when the fabric should be cleaned. Cleaning is required less frequently in a dry environment than a humid one where heavy foliage exists.
The best way to keep canvas material looking fresh and new, is to hose off fabrics with clear water on a monthly basis. This will help prevent dirt from becoming deeply embedded in the fabric, and will eliminate the need for more frequent and more vigorous cleanings.
When cleaning, it is important to observe the following:
Always use a natural soap. Never use a detergent.
Water should be cold to lukewarm, but never more than 100 degrees.
Air dry only. Never apply heat to the fabric as this can strip the finish.
Begin by brushing off loose dirt, and then hose down the material.
Prepare a cleaning mixture of water and a mild, natural soap that is free of detergents. Use a soft-bristle brush to clean, allowing the soap to soak in. Rinse thoroughly and allow the fabric to thoroughly air dry.
If stubborn stains persist, you can use a diluted chlorine bleach/soap mixture for spot cleaning of mildew, roof run-off and other similar stains. Keep in mind that chlorine bleach will not change the color of the fabric, but chlorine bleach will eventually break down the fiber of any fabric. Therefore, this cleaning method should be used as infrequently as possible.
The cleaning mixture should be mixed as follows:
Four ounces (one- half cup) of chlorine bleach.
Two ounces (one- fourth cup) of natural soap.
One gallon of water.
Clean with a soft-bristle brush and allow the mixture to soak no longer than twenty (20) minutes. Rinse thoroughly and allow the canvas to completely air dry. Repeat if necessary.
This finish is designed to last for several years, but it must be replenished after a thorough cleaning. Based on test results, the manufacturer recommends 303 High Tech Fabric Guard as the preferred retreatment product.
After cleaning and air drying, apply 303 in a thin, even coat. When it has dried, apply a second thin, even coat. These two (2) light coatings are more effective in restoring fabric water resistance than a single heavy coating.
Keep in mind that 303 High Tech Fabric Guard will work only as well as it is applied. This means that the fabric must be free of dirt and detergents or the Fabric Guard will wash away with the dirt particles.
Fabrics should be retreated after thorough cleaning or after five (5) years of use.