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.
We 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.
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