KJ's Upholstery
541-383-2717

Vinyl & Sunbrella Care

Prior to purchasing or using any cleaning products please see our "How to Clean Upholstery" page to find the right products for your fabric.

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Vinyl facts

An enlarged sideview of common vinyl fabric would show raw PVC (polyvinyl chloride) covered by a thin layer of plastic called the "topcoat". The topcoat is the part of the vinyl you can see and touch. To keep vinyl fabric soft and flexible, manufacturers add agents known as plasticizers to the raw PVC. A major function of the topcoat is to hold in these plasticizers, which otherwise would quickly evaporate. If the topcoat is damaged or degraded, plasticizers begin to escape leading to embrittlement/cracking/failure. 

Protecting the topcoat, then, is the most crucial aspect of properly maintaining vinyl, and the subject with which vinyl manufacturers are most concerned.

General Cleaning Tips:
KJ's ideal recommendation for removing dirt and stains is 303 Aerospace Cleaner applied with a medium-soft brush. For mildly dirty vinyl,warm soapy water (such as Ivory soap) can be used alternatively. Rinse completely with cool water then dry.

Mildew Stains:
To kill the bacteria creating the mildew, use a medium-soft brush and vigorously brush the stained area with a 4 to 1 mixture of water and ammonia; rinse with cool water.
Tough Mildew Stains:
Apply a mixture of one(1) teaspoon ammonia,
one-fourth(1/4) cup hydrogen peroxide and three-fourths (3/4) cup of distilled water;
rinse with cool water. Note: All cleaning methods must be followed by a thorough rinse
with water. Always test first!

Special Cautions: Never use household cleaners, powdered or other abrasives, steelwool or industrial cleaners, bleach or detergents. Dry cleaning fluids and solvents (petroleum distillates) are a universal "no-no" for both vinyl and rubber. Waxes should never be used on vinyl because (a) Most waxes contain petroleum distillates, (b) Wax is a build-up product, holding in the heat absorbed from the sun and accelerating heat damage. Virtually all vinyl manufacturers agree that no type of oil should be used on vinyl. Silicone oil vinyl treatments should not be used for several reasons; 1) Silicone oil formulations typically attack the vinyl topcoat, 2) Silicone oil formulations usually contain no effective UV screening ingredients, 3) Silicone oil formulations are build-up products which accelerate heat damage, 4) Silicone oil formulations are greasy and oily, attract dust, and soil more quickly. READ THE LABEL! Product directions suggesting more than one coat for better cosmetic enhancement are build-up products and are recommended against by vinyl manufacturers.


Vinyl & Sunbrella Cleaner

Aerospace 303 Fabric/Vinyl Cleaner is concentrated, dilute-to-strength, multipurpose cleaner. Effective on tough dirt, grease and oil, yet safe cleaner for vinyl and fabric. This is not a soap, not a detergent,or a petroleum solvent. 303's colloid cleaner is 99% biodegradable, non-toxic and does not have a flash point. It has a pH of 9.5 which is just one point above baking soda! Use to clean fabrics, upholstery, carpets, walls, wall coverings, tile, floors, sports equipment, doors, desks, counters, tables chairs, office equipment, railings, woodwork, bathroom walls, sinks, tubs, light fixtures, plastics, cars, trucks, boats, planes, degreases motors, bilge's, machinery, equipment, ovens, stovetops, hoods, filters, refrigerators, freezers, garage floors, It is a hand cleaner, it deodorizes and cleans pet stains from carpets and it is safe for anything water will not damage. 303's colloid cleaners are excellent for washing fruits and vegetables to remove residue and dirt prior to cooking.

Removing Spots/Stains:
Use full strength or up to 30-1 dilution with water.Spray on spot until wet.  Agitate with a medium-soft brush or wet cloth.Wipe up stain and excess cleaner with a damp cloth, rinsing out cloth in clean water as necessary.

General Cleaning:
Add ½ cup or more 303 Fabric Cleaner to 1 gallon warm water. Apply with brush, cloth or sprayer.  Wipe clean with a damp cloth as described above or
rinse thoroughly with water. Let dry. 

Machine Extraction:

For professional cleaning equipment, add 1-3 oz. of 303 Fabric Cleaner to a gallon of warm water.

Outdoor Fabrics:
Rinse fabric with water.  Use ½ cup or more 303 FC in one gallon of warm water (approx. 100°F). Spray or brush on. Allow to penetrate. Agitate, rinse thoroughly.  For heavier soils, increase agitation and soak time. Repeat if necessary.

What Are Colloidal Cleaners?
Simply, colloids penetrate into grease, oil and other "soils" and stir things up, which is a technological design like no other cleaner. In fresh or salt water, combined with other solvents or alone, 303's colloid cleaners will continue to clean. A 303 colloid cleaner product is completely people-safe. With it, there are no effects from over exposure. There are no special storage requirements. 303 colloid cleaners are non-hazardous, non-flammable, non-toxic, non-explosive, non-fuming, non-caustic and 99% biodegradable.

303's colloid cleaners are a homogeneous blend of colloid sequesterants, surfactants and hyper-wetting agents that becomes super-active when processed together. It is helpful to think of this cleaning action as somewhat similar to the reaction of the atom in an atomic explosion. The ceaseless random movement of the atoms in the colloid actually lifts, separates and holds in suspension the oils, grease, dust, soils, etc., which have been penetrated.

The properties of colloids were first documented in the search for a biodegradable substance to break up oil slicks on oceans. Research into why some products break up and hold in suspension grease and oil showed that colloids have minute particles (0.000000001 cm) called micelles that, when combined with water, break the surface tension to make water super-wet. Combining with water causes the micelles to penetrate grease, oil and dirt and then hold them in suspension in the super-wet water,in effect making these substances dissolve in water.

Vinyl Protectant

Aerospace Protectant 303

303 is a tested-safe-for-vinyl cleaner/UVprotector/water repellent combined; pre-cleaners and pre-cleaning usually are not required. If used routinely, this liquid sunscreen keeps vinyl looking like new while dramatically extending its useful life. Water repellency prevents water spotting. Treated stay cleaner longer, reducing maintenance. 303 leaves a like-new, non-oily, anti-static finish that does not attract dust. Developed for aerospace and aviation applications, this UV screening product has proven itself since 1980, and is the manufactorers listed recommendation many for vinyl, major spa cover and vinyl accessories.

Excellent for vinyl, leather, rubber, gelcoat fiberglass, and most plastics. Not for unfinished leathers (such as suede), fabrics (canvas) or floors.

Though marine-quality vinyl is manufactured with additional UV protective agents, each day of exposure reduces the effectiveness of these agents.  Constant exposure is tough on vinyl no matter the locale. Routine maintenance using 303 Aerospace Protectant  dramatically reduces UV damage, maintains a like-new color and gloss. Adds years to the life of Your spa & pool covers, patio furniture, vinyl liners & pool inflatables. Treat vinyl covers about every 30 days during summer.  For the rest of the year retreat often enough to maintain color and gloss- usually every 45-60 days of exposure. 

Sunbrella Facts

Sunbrella breathable fabrics are made "water repellent" by a chemical treatment process during manufacturing.  The treated fabric repels (beads) water, resists soiling, both water & oil based stains and impedes mildew formation. With time and use the original repellency treatment is diminished, making periodic cleaning and retreatment necessary.  The key to keeping your outdoor fabric looking great and extending its life is periodic cleaning followed by repellency retreatment.Waiting until your outdoor fabric is dirty, stained and/or leaking requires the use of harsh chemicals and physical cleaning methods which can diminish service life.

Sunbrella awning and marine fabrics carry a five-year limited warranty and Sunbrella furniture fabrics are warranted for three years. With proper care and cleaning, you can expect excellent service from Sunbrella fabrics far beyond warranty periods.

Sunbrella fabrics will not support the growth of mildew, but dirt on the fabric can lead to mildew growth, which makes regular cleanings important. No set timetable exists for when fabric should be cleaned, and the local environment has a great deal to do with determining cleaning frequency. Cleaning is required less frequently in a dry environment than in a humid one with heavy foliage.


"303's Aerospace Cleaner"—is concentrated, dilute-to-strength, multipurpose cleaner. Effective on tough dirt, grease and oil, yet safe cleaner for vinyl and fabric. This is not a soap, not a detergent,or a petroleum solvent. 303's colloid cleaner is 99% biodegradable, non-toxic and does not have a flash point. It has a pH of 9.5 which is just one point above baking soda!

This cleaner exceeds EPA standards for biodegradability and can be used for many other cleaning such as: fabrics, upholstery, carpets, walls, wall coverings, tile, floors, sports equipment, doors, desks, counters, tables chairs, office equipment, railings, woodwork, bathroom walls, sinks, tubs, light fixtures, plastics, cars, trucks, boats, planes, degreases motors, bilge's, machinery, equipment, ovens, stovetops, hoods, filters, refrigerators, freezers, garage floors, It is a hand cleaner, it deodorizes and cleans pet stains from carpets and it is safe for anything water will not damage. 303's colloid cleaners are excellent for washing fruits and vegetables to remove residue and dirt prior to cooking.

Sunbrella cleaning directions: Use 303 Fabric/ Vinyl Cleaner (also called 303 Aerospace Cleaner), in lukewarm water (100°F max). Alternatively, one can use a mild natural soap (Ivory Soap).
Use soft bristle brush, sponge or cloth to loosen any stubborn dirt.  Properly maintained fabric should require no more than light agitation. Rinse THOROUGHLY to remove soil and cleaning agent. Allow to air dry. 

For stubborn stains and mildew: Soak the stained fabric for no more than 20 minutes in a solution of 1/2 cup (4 oz) of non chlorine bleach and 2 oz 303 Fabric Cleaner or 303 Aerospace Cleaner or natural soap per gallon of warm water (100°F).
Tip For New Fabrics: During the fabrication process the factory finish can be worn causing the new fabric to "wet", most commonly at the seams.  To prevent or correct seam leaks, treat the seam with 303 High Tech Fabric Guard.

Maintenance Tip:
About once a month, use a water hose to gently spray off any dirt that has settled (outdoor Sunbrella).  This keeps dirt from settling in and extends the time between soap and water cleaning and retreating.

Retreating
-303 High Tech Fabric Guard is the retreatment product recommended by and for Sunbrella® /Glen Raven, Inc. It restores lost water repellency and stain repellency to factory new levels.  It stops leaks, resists soiling, impedes mildew formation and helps protect against the sun's harmful UV rays. See below.

Sunbrella/ UV Protectant & water repellancy retreatment

303 High Tech Fabric Guard-UV and Soil Repellent

Protects all new or cleaned “outdoor” fabrics from water, dirt, grease and sun damage. Outdoor fabrics include canvas convertible tops, cloth automobile seats and carpets, biminis, and boating enclosures. You aren’t limited to just outdoor fabrics, though, 303 Products advises that this exceptional protectant is also a useful protective product for silk, leather footwear, and sporting apparel.

Repels spots and stains. 303 High Tech Guard resists soiling and mildew formation, by restoring an effective level of lost water repellency. The non-scientific meaning of this is that you will not be plagued by spots and stains left from water seepage within the fibers of the fabric.
No Silicone. Silicone water repellents may repel water just as well as this product, but that’s where the similarities end. 303 High Tech Fabric Guard will also repel oil, soil, grease, and dust. Silicone products actually attract dust and soil with a slightly tacky film. Silicone water repellency lasts on average 2-3 months, as compared to 303 High Tech Fabric Guard that protects for up to three years on low-traffic fabrics. Silicone has that harsh, pungent smell during application; whereas 303 High Tech Fabric Guard has a mild, clean odor. Non-toxic and odorless when dry.
Most importantly, 303 Fabric Guard is recommended by industry leaders that include Sunbrella, Dickson, and numerous makers of patio furniture, marine canvas, and awnings.

Not for vinyl, clear vinyl, plastics, rubber, fiberglass or imitation suede. We recommend Aerospace 303 Protectant instead.

303 High Tech Fabric Guard should be applied to new fabrics from the start and on recently cleaned fabrics to prevent future soiling. The product will bond best to clean, dry fibers. The surface should be completely dry, and it’s best to apply High Tech Fabric Guard on a warm day in full sun. The amount of 303 High Tech Fabric Guard needed depends on the material. One 16 oz. bottle will treat 50-75 sq. ft. of marine canvas. For lighter, thinner fabrics, less product is needed to get good coverage. 303 HTFG can be applied with an approved solvent type sprayer, brush or roller.  303 Fabric Guard should be reapplied at the first signs of re-soiling. As always, test for colorfastness before using.

Based on test results, the manufacturer recommends 303 High Tech Fabric Guard™ as the preferred retreatment product for Sunbrella fabrics. Fabrics should be retreated after thorough cleaning or after
five years of use.

After cleaning the fabric, allow it to air dry completely and then apply 303 in a thin, even coat. After allowing the first coat of 303 to air dry, apply a second thin, even coating of 303. Two light coatings are more effective in restoring fabric water resistance than a single heavy coating. A 16-ounce bottle provides coverage of up to approximately 50 square feet of lightweight fabric.

Please note the Sunbrella warning NOT to use silicone "water repellent" products.  These products are not compatible with the outdoor fabric's factory finish and actually promote staining.  Water "sealants" for wood
and masonry also are not recommended.

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