Cleaning old foam cushions - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-30-2009, 11:28 AM   #1
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I have the original cushions for my 1982 Burro, I am wondering if anyone has ever cleaned the foam? How did you do it?
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:43 AM   #2
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I did mine which were from a Boler. I took them to car wash and washed them with washing wand. They hold water for a long time. I then took them home and stood them on end and they dried fairly fast in the sun.
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Old 08-30-2009, 01:39 PM   #3
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I cleaned all the foam in the cushions in my Trillium last year. It was some work but they don't stink now. If you search on the term "trillium trials" you should find my posts and pictures...was originally posted May 5th 2008.

Good luck!

Dave
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Old 08-30-2009, 03:50 PM   #4
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Put in bath tub with soap and water and walk on them until clean.
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Old 08-30-2009, 05:56 PM   #5
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Hi Mike,
the cushions in my '74 Compact II were somewhat mildew stained; The first cushion I cleaned was soaked in the bathtub, with liquid laundry soap and a bit of bleach. After washing, this cushion was loaded with water; squeezed it out as best I could and dried it in the sun for a week. I didn't do any other cushions in the tub because my bathrooms are upstairs and I didn't want to drip water through the house again.
I got a spray bottle of bathroom cleaner mildew stuff, sprayed some on, let it sit for a half hour, wiped down with a wet rag and put the cushions in the sun to dry for days.

Good luck!
Fran

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Old 08-30-2009, 11:46 PM   #6
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Something I learned after I did the first cushion is to weigh the cushion before you wash it -- that way you can tell when it is really dry, because it will weigh the same. Fortunately I still had a cushion the same size that I hadn't done yet so I could weigh it to know when both were dry. This foam is insidious, in that the top and edges can look and feel dry, but the core is still sopping wet -- just set it on a dry paper towel and lie on the cushion and you will see! But it can't fool you if you weigh it before you wash it...

Here's what I did to get enough of the water out that I could carry the cushions without risking tearing them from the weight, or dripping large streams of water as I carried them outside to dry.

After doing the grape dance in the tub with bleach and water, I drained the tub and rolled the cushion up as tightly as I could to get most of the water out.

Then I put in just enough new freash water to cover the cushion, did a short grape dance, then drained again, and again rolled the cushion tightly to remove most of the water.

I did this 3 more times because I wanted all the bleach out of the cushions. I figure that each time I was diluting the remaining bleach by at least a factor of 5, so 4 rinses gives me a dilution ratio of 5 to the 4th power, or 625. I thought that would be good enough.

After the last rinse I had rolled the cushion up as tightly as I could to remove water, then I let it relax and stood it on edge in the tub for an hour. That got a lot of the remaining water to migrate to the lower edge. I squeezed out that edge by hand then quickly carried the cushion outside. Yeah, it still dripped but it wasn't running rivulets.

Once outside I used my wet/dry shop vacuum to suck out much of the remaining water, then let the cushion dry in the sun. It took several days here on the coast for it to dry.
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Old 08-31-2009, 07:26 AM   #7
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Hi Mike,
This is the way we did it. If you don't have any little kids of your own maybe you could borrow a couple.
We used a little clothes detergent in the pool, let our daughter stomp around and drained it. For the rinse she stomped in clean water, and then no water to squeeze it out of the cushions.
It did take days in the sun to dry, but it all worked well!
Marjie

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Old 08-31-2009, 07:22 PM   #8
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Thank you all for the input. Like others our bathtub is on the second floor so that likely would not work out too well. I like the idea of a kiddie pool, or the large plastic bag, and using bleach. My concern is about what is on or in the cushions that I can't see, so sanitizing is the desired effect. They do not smell but certainly have been used in the past. I will give the cleaning a try, but worry that I will be left with large sponges that never quite dry and mildew instead. I guess I will need to pay special attention to the long term forecast and wait for a long stretch with hot sun. Hopefully the fall doesn't arrive too early. I would love to use Dave's grape stomp method, hmmm can I justify building a deck to get the water out of the cushions...

Thanks for all the great ideas.

Mike
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:42 PM   #9
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I propped mine up and set a 20 inch box fan on low to blow air past them for about a week, turning them every evening.

Another tip is -- if you remove the covers in the process, an easy way to put them back on is to first place the foam in a thin plastic garbage bag. The tight fabric slips over the foam nicely.

It really isn't necessary to remove the plastic. In fact if you leave it on and spill some liquid, such as milk, it won't soak into the foam.

When I do this I poke a line of small holes in the plastic on the edge of the cushion to allow for air to escape.
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:36 PM   #10
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I used a carpet cleaner on the cushions in our new Casita which the foam is basically new so not a issue. But in our old motor home I put the foam in a front loading washing machine on normal, one cushion at a time. Spin's all that water out and cuts the drying time by days. I have actually put a twin size memory foam in our front loader, I guess I am a lazy daisy! The thought of dealing with a heavy wet dripping cushion just didn't appeal to me. Sure you have to shove it in, but it works and I felt better that it got washed with really hot water.
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:44 PM   #11
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amazing I found this topic! I just started cleaning my foam from my newly aquired wide bodied 14' burro. Did a few in the tub, (much to my wife's resistance)

does anyone know how well the covers take a cleaning? do they shrink? Would it be better to dry clean?

thanks

mac b
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:51 PM   #12
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I did mine in washer at laundry mat. They did not shrink. It was a Boler Trailer.
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Old 09-01-2009, 11:02 AM   #13
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Mac, I did mine in the washer at home ( I have a big front loader) but I did not dry in the dryer. I let them air dry until almost dry then threw them in the dryer to fluff up! They did not shrink! If your covers have dry rot then they may not come out as well. But they will be clean. You can always wash them on gentle if your afraid of the fabric having issues. Good Luck!
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Old 09-01-2009, 04:26 PM   #14
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did the covers this morning in our washer, they're drying now in the sun. came out as good as new! yet those foam cushions are still just as soggy as ever, and it's 100 degrees outside!
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