Sticky Ensolite: Yet Another Technique - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-09-2016, 05:09 PM   #1
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Sticky Ensolite: Yet Another Technique

I have been trying different things to clean the sticky and dirty Ensolite in our trailer. Nothing was working. Frustrated, I did an internet search on cleaning vinyl, since the dimpled surface of the trailer's Ensolite is vinyl, or so I believe. I found nothing helpful, but a comment made on one of the sites gave me an AHA moment.

The suggestion was to use WD40 on a sticky vinyl chair, to "loosen" the oil on the chair, so that it could be cleaned. This reminded me that I used a mixture to remove the label glue from a jar. I wondered if it would work on the Ensolite.

two parts oil
one part baking soda

The baking soda does not remain suspended in the oil for very long, so it needed to be mixed for each application. I used canola oil.

I tested a small area, about 6 inches by 6 inches, the example in my images are of the ceiling near the fan, I tried the same procedure on various areas on the ceiling and wall.

I began with a bucket of warm water and Dawn detergent, a kitchen brush, an old dishcloth, a cup containing the oil and baking soda, and a spoon to stir the mixture each time I wanted to apply it.

The dishcloth was wrung out after being dipped into the warm soapy water, a corner of the dishcloth was dipped into the oil/baking soda, and this was used to vigorously rub the area I intended to clean. After applying the mixture, I waited about ten minutes, then used the kitchen brush to brush the area for about a minute, with moderate force. Finally, the dishcloth was rinsed in the soapy water and used to wipe down the area. After letting it dry, I could detect no stickiness. I intend to clean the entire interior Ensolite in this way, doing a little bit at a time, when I feel like it.

The area by the ceiling vent was very sticky, and the black mark to the left in the photo would not wash off with a brush and soapy water. The black around the edge of the ceiling vent is mould I believe. It all came off.
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Old 03-09-2016, 06:42 PM   #2
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Great hypothesizing and problem solving here! Your work and discovery will surely help others. Great job!


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Old 03-09-2016, 06:46 PM   #3
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You've got a lot of ingredients there. Makes it difficult to tell which elements are actually doing the job.
Did you try Dawn, warm water and a brush alone?
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Old 03-09-2016, 07:03 PM   #4
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Glenn, I tried hot water and dawn with a cloth, and with a brush, no joy. I tried Tilex, no joy.

There are two ingredients, oil and baking soda, and three actions, rubbing with the cloth to apply, brushing the area after ten minutes, and wiping the area clean after brushing.

The theory that I read, but am not qualified to expound, is that the oil softens the sticky element and the dirt, and the mild abrasive action of the baking soda lifts if out. It sounds good anyway.

I used the brush because of the dimpled texture, to make sure the whole surface area was exposed to the oil and baking soda. I washed the oil and baking soda off with the soapy water, and I will wash the entire interior again when I am done to make sure I get all of the oil off the surface.
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Old 03-09-2016, 07:18 PM   #5
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Maybe you discovered the secret ingredients in Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser.
Have you tried that?
Works, but leaves you wondering how it does that.
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Old 03-09-2016, 07:33 PM   #6
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Glen, I didn't try a magic eraser. They are pretty amazing. After spending money on Tilex I became unwilling to spend anymore $ on unproven chemical solutions.

It appeals to me to use baking ingredients as a substitute for chemicals. I can pour the dirty soapy water over my compost pile.
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Old 03-09-2016, 07:46 PM   #7
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Baking Soda, From WiKi: Sodium bicarbonate[note 1] (IUPAC name: sodium hydrogen carbonate) is a chemical compound with the formula NaHCO3. It is a salt composed of sodium ions and bicarbonate ions.
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Old 03-09-2016, 07:55 PM   #8
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Of course Glen
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