Care of Isenglass — What to Use and NOT to Use!

Isenglass, clear vinyl and strataglass require much more care than many other boat parts. While regular cleaning products can be used on many things aboard, clear enclosure windows require selective cleaning products to continue to be as clear and distortion free as the day you bought them.

The first step in cleaning any kind of clear vinyl, including isenglass and strataglass, is to rinse thoroughly with fresh water remove any salt deposits.

After the fresh water rinse, use a mild soap solution, and rinse well to get all the soap solution off.  Instead of any soap solution, Strataglass recommends using IMAR Yacht Soap Concentrate.  Be sure to avoid any type of strong cleaner, especially those with silicone.  Simple Green and those types of cleaners are to be avoided at ALL costs.  They are very harsh and will damage the vinyl according to the Strataglass manufacturer.

IMARProtectiveCleanerWe use a different product by IMAR which was recommended by our canvas maker called IMAR Strataglass Protective Cleaner.   We have isenglass in our enclosure and strataglass in our dodger, so we needed a product good for both.   According to IMAR, this protective cleaner ” is uniquely formulated to clean, shine and protect Strataglass and the Strataglass scratch resistant protective coating. Special UV inhibitors significantly extend the useful life of Strataglass by minimizing the deteriorating effects of sunlight. This protective cleaner is safe to use daily for all clear vinyls and is recommended to be used often to properly maintain the famous clarity of Strataglass”.

Dry with a soft cloth or chamois. Don’t use paper towels which could scratch the vinyl or the coating.

After it has been cleaned,  many boaters use a polish to help preserve and protect the vinyl.  But be careful what you use, at least for strataglass.  We choose to use the same products on our isenglass as we use on the strataglass – we figure if it’s good for the best quality, it should be good for the lower quality isenglass.

Cockpit Enclosure

Do NOT use Pledge.  Often we’ve heard that Pledge is a good clear vinyl protectant. The idea is supposedly that it is absorbed into the vinyl keeping it more flexible, filling in small scratches and leaving a light coating to help protect it.

BUT the manufacturers of Strataglass say not to use any product labeled wax or scratch remover, including Pledge.  The film on Strataglass will prevent the absorption of these products, and polish and scratch removers will remove the film.   They recommend IMAR Strataglass Protective Polish and use it every few months for maximum effectiveness.

Other Tips:  1.  Never touch isenglass or strataglass with sunscreen on your hands.

2.   Likewise, never spray bug spray anywhere where it could come into contact with the clear vinyl.

3.  When storing the windows, place acid free paper or old sheets in between the panels.

Anyone have a better or different way to keep your isenglass clear and clean?  Please leave a comment and share!  Cheers!  Jan

Comments

  1. Marie Holmes says:

    We are not in salt water; but we rinse them weekly and wipe them with soft towels. It is amazing how dirty they get. We use a product called “Novus” to protect our Isenglass. We do the “Novus” treatment twice a year to keep them soft and flexible. Never roll up your panels! They will scratch against each other. If you do roll them up; place a soft towel or something against one side of the glass. If you take them off and set them somewhere in the sun; they will burn and leave a weird haze in the glass. (Ask me how I know?)

    I made “pillow cases” to fit my panels out of soft t shirt material. I found the material on ebay for a song. You don’t need a case for each panel. Put the first one in a case; lay it flat, then stack the next unprotected panel on it. Put the third panel in a case and then put the next unprotected panel on top of that. Like a big sandwich. We were very fortunate that our boat manufacturer provide big zippered canvas envelopes that we can then put our panels in. They do get heavy; but really protect the glass.

    We get compliments all the time about how great our isenglass looks. We have replaced a few panels. A good canvas maker can take the old glass out and put the new in and you’ll never know it. They cost about $100 each to replace.

  2. Mary Mishler says:

    We use a product called 210 plastic cleaner and polish (after rinsing salt, etc. off.) Our Isenglass still looks beautiful. You can find it on the internet for about 15 bucks a can. Cheers!

  3. Can someone tell me what the protective sleeves are called that you put on the bimini frame to protect the eisenglass?

    • Anyone? I don’t recall having protective sleeves on our stainless, but by design no isinglass touches stainless in our enclosure. If you know, please let Rick and me know! Cheers! Jan

  4. I have 7 year old strataglas F/B curtains on my boat. I wash them after every trip using their Imar soap and wipe them dry. In winter I wash and I store them in the berth with towels between them. They have now clouded up to the point its hard to see thru them.. My neighbors don’t do half the maintanence on theirs and they look like new compared to mine. The imar cleaner/polish products are almost useless to maintain the clarity in them.
    What did I do wrong, or is this a product with a lot of hype.

  5. David Mize says:

    Is there a product that will remove small scratches and smears on isinglass?

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