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Thread: Mildew

  1. #1

    Mildew

    I have mildew forming on the underside of upper surfaces to wings & fuselage, dont know why this has occured as plane is in a very dry hanger could it be because of the colour of the skins (flourescent green) i can easily clean inside fuselage but how do i clean inside wings?
    is it feasable to remove skins turn them inside out to clean & treat them to stop midew reforming or am i in danger of damaging skins on removal/refitting, the skins are 5 yrs old

    I am open to any suggestions/advice, thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member 500 Club
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    Mildew

    I was hoping someone would come on this forum & tell us what to do !

    Meantime, if it's the pandemic 'black mould' you have ?
    I bought but soon chose not to use any 'whitening' or bleach containing products, even baby's bottle safe Milton has it - & can, I understand, attack & weaken the fibres. Washing it off after treatment didn't strike me as sure to remove it from anywhere it had soaked well in & if not, then the black mould lived to fight another day.

    I did experiment with Milton on small non-important areas on the Rans but can't say it helped. Especially as you say, because the mould is located & prospering on the inside of the wing skin where you can't get at it. I have annually treated the top surfaces with Rans recommended 'Protectant 303' and more recently bought 'Nikwax' for the same purpose. The latter gives the a/c a water repellant surface which seems to make thorough washing less effective - but UV is the other great enemy to fight, so I accept that aspect.

    It got worse each winter and keeping it dry or ventilated seemd to slow it's progress down, so I leave it parked in the hangar with the plane's two doors lifted up open.

    This year I washed the outside with a really rich mixture of water & Dettol - it might have stopped the mould (or not) but the stains remained & inside as bad as ever. Next step was unlace the belly and sitting underneath I could sponge the whole inside & all around the (by now blackened) fuselage (especially) bottom tubes. A sponge on a stick helped into the tail 'cone'.

    This time it was water richly mixed with Sainsbury's economy baby wash liquid. No killing effect but reasonably effective at wetting & removing the crusty mould and some of the black stain. It looks a lot better now. Re-lacing was easy and perhaps slightly neater than before.
    The wings are still a problem at the roots around the fuel tanks area. Unzipping the inspection panels 2 per side and more washing with sponge on a stick got the bottom inside face of the fabric acceptable & there it stays.

    So till anyone has a practical answer, for me the problem is merely alleviated - as removing the wing skins looks a bit frightening, though at least one RansMail reader did just that.

    mike hallam.

  3. #3
    not real name 500 Club
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    Mildew

    These people are the UK agents for Poly-fiber, which is actually good old dacron in its basic form.
    http://www.aircraftcoverings.co.uk/
    They sell a detergent cleaner that is especially for Poly-fibre. Spray it on with one of those garden sprayers that you pump up, give it a good brushing to agitate it and then rinse with a pressure washer. It is remarkably effective.

    There is no 'treatment' that will prevent mildew, but the detergent does inhibit growth. The problem is that dacron sailcloth is porous and provides an ideal medium for the mildew spores to anchor in and grow. Condensation is what really acts as a catalyst and that is going to be difficult to prevent in a typical hangar.

  4. #4
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    Mildew

    Raising this perrenial problem again.

    After only one winter my new covers have started getting attacked by the dreaded black mould. My wife suggested treating the fabric with a sodium bicarbonate solution which does seem to have slowed progress of the mould in some areas.

    Recently it has been suggested I try HG mould killer, now available from B&Q, but there is certainly bleach in this product. I have tried applying it to a small, non-critical area and it certainly seemed to do the job in removing the offending black patches. However I am not sure how long to leave it before deciding whether it has caused any damage to the fabric or it is safe to use in other areas. Any thoughts from anybody? Has anybody used this product?

    I have some old wing covers strung up in the roof to prevent condensation dripping onto the wings but they are very mouldy in places so I have bought a replacement tarpaulin and the old covers will be ditched.

  5. #5
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    Mildew

    FWIW I met a RansMail reader in from Essex at Sywell last week who when discussing the black mould problem told me of a really clean Rans he'd seen. Apparently the owner said he used a steam cleaner (not a Karcher washer) and that made a wonderful job.

    I think if I can find whatever (mains or genny ?) power is needed for one I'd happily try it out on my own fuselage cover.

    Does anyone have a lead to whatever comprises a 'Steam cleaner'

    I admit that the black mould appears to have become an perpetual UK problem in the last 5 years, so am quite prpeared do something which might kill the spores, without adding sufficient heat to the fabric to shrink it.

    Any feed back as to which kit/where/cost will be a great help.

    mike hallam.
    P.S. This Spring I sprayed on a borax/white vinegar mix with water and some baby wash liquid to help penetration over all the upper surfaces. Google told me it was a known 'cure' with no ill effects.

    It might have slowed the problem but certainly unable to remove any of the inside black blotched wing & fuselage,

  6. #6
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    Mildew

    I (and others) use a product from New Zealand called "Wet & Forget" .

    It kills the mould, and stops it reforming (not come back yet after >12 months)

    It's used on the Sydney opera house as an example.

    Applied with a garden spray, dilute 5:1

    It is by the way, PH neutral and does not damage Dacron in any way, unlike bleach based products.

    (Used on my and other Sky Rangers + my flexwing)

    Regards,

    KW.

  7. #7
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    Mildew

    Thanks Kevin,

    That jollop might have to be the next step but one now, as my inexpensive 13 steam cleaner has arrived. I'll try it on the 'plane shortly and post the results.

    mike hallam.

  8. #8
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    Mildew

    Steam Cleaner tested briefly on Rans S6.
    Doesn't remove the black mould stain, nor appear to hurt the stuff on the reverse side of the fabric where I can't get to it.

    Of course the heat might kill the mould, which is something. Also it's quite slow going on the sample area tested.

    I will have to try Plan 'B' !

    mike hallam

  9. #9
    not real name, Please Contact Admin 100 Club
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    Mildew

    While looking for further information on Wet and Forget at NZ, I wondered if anyone was selling the product in UK and they are! http://www.wetandforget.co.uk/

    So, I will be trying it out both on the aircraft and at the house. Thanks for the steer, Kevin.

  10. #10
    not real name 500 Club
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    Mildew

    Thanks Kevin. I have bought some and will be trying it out tomorrow. I will report back how it goes.

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