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The Truth About Paint Management

The unfortunate truth is that most yacht crews and boat owners unintentionally mismanage and destroy the painted surfaces of the yacht or boat due to misinformation about the functionality, effects and durability of commercially available soaps, cleaners, waxes, sealants and other maintenance products available for marine applications.

Paint care includes several crucial components:

  • Paint cleaning, normally performed by using a cleaner such as boat soap
  • Prevention of chemical damage: is made by using chemicals that are not harmful to the paint
  • Paint protection: is performed by application of different waxes or sealants

Importance of choosing right cleaning product and the effect on paint

Is there darker steaks and runs on the paint that you can't remove? You may have actually invested time and money to permanently create them!

While everyone is aware of the importance of cleaning and washing the paint, many don't know how a cleaning agent is going to affect the paint, personal safety, environmental or aquatic life.

Even if one may think that the goal is cleaning the painted surface and safety and environment is not a concern, the fact is: despite safety and environment, the primary goal is eradicated when washing converts from "paint care" to "paint destruction". The reason is found in the process of determining what cleaner to use, which is based on the immediate observation of the result after washing the surface. Anything that is cleaning faster is considered a better product. This is far from the fact and the starting point of the destruction.

Solvent based boat soaps

Solvent-based soaps are a common cleaning agents in yachting and boating industry, which accelerate paint deterioration and damage. These cleaning agents are generally based on a solvent extracted from plants such as pine oil or citrus oil (d-Limonene). Manufacturers market these products often by providing false information. These products, such as OrPine, are sold as "green" alternatives and the pine or citrus oil is mentioned to emphasize a "positive" and enhancing property in the cleaner, knowing that most consumer wouldn't even imagine that pine oil, citrus oil, etc are solvents and not oil in the concept we generally associate it with.

A solvent is a liquid, gas or solid that dissolves something into a solution. Solvents can be extracted from petroleum or plants. As example, tetrachloroethylene is used in dry-cleaning, turpentine in thiner, acetone in nail polish, petrol ethers in spot removers. Ethanol , citrus oil, pine oil and orange oil are solvents that are used in cleaners.

Solvent-based cleaners will destroy the paint by default. Part of the function in OrPine Boat Soap is to dissolve! To make the damage greater the thickness (viscosity) of the soaps is increased so that it looks more like a thick gel in order to satisfy the consumer expectations for purchasing a concentrated formula. The fact is the thickness of the chemical has very little to do with the concentration. As example 500% increased concentration in a boat soap will make is only slightly thicker that water. Increased viscosity reduces the solubility of the soap resulting in an uneven application of the cleaning agent on the surface. When the surface is not throughly rinsed, some solvent residues will remain on the surface of the paint and continue to deteriorate the paint in an even more accelerated manner due to increased reaction time (in chemistry known as "prolonged equilibrium"). For yachts and boats the problem gets even worse. High temperature provides most solvents with more dissolving power. The high temperature created on the painted surface by sun is working as a catalyst allowing the solvent components to work faster, in other word dissolve better.

The result of washing the paint with these agents containing essential oils (pine oil, citrus oil, orange oil), alcohol, ethers, and other solvents are all or a combination of the following effects:

  • Faster deterioration
  • Reduced paint longevity
  • Loss of shine and gloss
  • Visible damage such as darker steaks or spots
  • Creation of more porous surface harder to clean

It is therefore very important to know what you are using to wash the yacht, boat or any other surface. Otherwise, your genuine and caring attempts to take care of the paint becomes a destructive act combined with high cost of chemicals, repair, repainting and great labor.

Boat Soaps with wax?

The primary function of the boat soap or car shampoo you purchase is to remove, dirt, soil, greasy/oily or fatty containments. How can an oily wax survive in your boat soap or car shampoo? It doesn't. Adding actual wax in the cleaning agent will reduce or consume the cleaning properties of the surfactant and other components.

The false information you are receiving from the manufacturer is to make you believe that a short-lasting water beading effect that you observe is a result of a wax included in your cleaning agent. That makes the consumer feel good to make a great choice. You buy a boat soap, car shampoo that cleans the paint at the same time it protects it in one simple step of washing. The manufacturer term "wax" is referring to a water beading effect created on the surface in order to speed up drying process. Some added gloss may be observed as function a of Ethoxylated "quats" or dicocodimonium chloride used to create the bending property.

Use of some polymers and additive to create the shine and "wax feeling" will infarct, reduce the efficiency of the cleaner, requiring other components to overcome this loss of performance.

Use a cleaning agent that does one job well and that is "cleaning". Protection of the paint can not be achieved by using a cleaning agent with "wax". This is a completely different process and requires different chemicals.

DITEC uses a completely different technology to not only clean the surface better and faster than any other alternative on the market, but also create the shine, gloss and water beading effect without usage of quats or other chemicals.

For more information about ELST Technology™ visit Learning Center

DITEC Marine Product Guide