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Inflatable boat cleaners/protectants (e.g. Starbrite) and stickiness

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Inflatable boat cleaners/protectants (e.g. Starbrite) and stickiness

Old 09-09-2020, 10:29 AM
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Default Inflatable boat cleaners/protectants (e.g. Starbrite) and stickiness

Good afternoon THT!

I have a an AB Inflatables Hypalon RIB. It has been stored covered most of its life. It only gets used a few weeks per year at most.

Last year, I noticed the fabric tie-down strap would get stuck to the tube. I would peel it off and some fibers would be left behind. This year, I had my suction nav light get stuck to the tube. I had to carefully peel it off and a layer of the rubber from the suction cup was left on the tube that took quite some elbow grease to get out. It was only suctioned for a few days. If I touch the tube with my hand, it is sticky. I can be sitting on it and doing a quick trip to shore and my shorts get stuck to the tube. It seems to be getting worse and worse.

Everyone says that is how PVC breaks down and you know tube is end-of-life but they have never seen this with Hypalon. My cleaning regimen is Softscrub with bleach to get rid of mildew. Rinse. Then followed up with Starbrites Inflatable cleaner & protectant, rinsing after. The Distributor is adamant softscrub with bleach is perfectly fine to use on Hypalon (it was their recommendation). Starbrite's chemist is adamant that there is nothing that can cause stickiness in their formula.

Has anyone had Hypalon get sticky?
Old 09-09-2020, 01:33 PM
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Boater,

I’m just spit balling here, but I think your issue has nothing to do with cleaning products. Hypalon is a chlorinated rubber product. It’s been a long time since I have done anything with organic chemistry, so don’t ask me to explain. When placed in contact with some plastics a process known as plasticizer migration will take place. Basically the two will melt into each other. For many years chlorinated rubber paints were used in the maritime industry for coating steel. Plasticizer migration was a known issue when working on applications where the paint and plastic could be in contact. Machinery with plastic covers, cargo containers using plastic tarps, and parts with plastic based gaskets are typical examples. In cases where there was a possibility of plastic being in contact with the item being painted, more expensive epoxies would be used instead.
Old 09-09-2020, 01:42 PM
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I've not had Hypalon get sticky. My inflatable boats have all been Hypalon. We have some very old inflatables, 20 years, that are not sticky and outside in our club instructor fleet. I've seen sticky PVC on fenders, some inflatables, and stand-up paddle boards.
There is a cleaner I prefer called August Race, available from Defender, it's better than your current process and you'll find their UV inhibitor is superior to Starbrite as well. If you don't want to use Defender, look for "Nautical Ease" brand cleaner and then follow-up with either Nautical Ease dinghy protectant or 303. Nautical Ease and August race require two coats, and you have to wipe it down per instructions. If you let the stuff sit on the surface it gets mottled and attracts dirt. Buff it and you'll be impressed with the smooth and easy to clean surface.
The initial cleaning with the either of the above products will look pretty scary, but it's worth it, follow the directions! My 2007 inflatable is outside, uncovered and looks great.
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Hank496 View Post
Boater,

I’m just spit balling here, but I think your issue has nothing to do with cleaning products. Hypalon is a chlorinated rubber product. It’s been a long time since I have done anything with organic chemistry, so don’t ask me to explain. When placed in contact with some plastics a process known as plasticizer migration will take place. Basically the two will melt into each other. For many years chlorinated rubber paints were used in the maritime industry for coating steel. Plasticizer migration was a known issue when working on applications where the paint and plastic could be in contact. Machinery with plastic covers, cargo containers using plastic tarps, and parts with plastic based gaskets are typical examples. In cases where there was a possibility of plastic being in contact with the item being painted, more expensive epoxies would be used instead.
Thank you but only the light suction cup was rubber. The tie-down strap, my shorts, and hand are not rubber, yet they are getting stuck/feel the stickiness.

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