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How to get oil safely off the lines?


Beaufort
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I just noticed the other day when winding my lines, that they had picked oil from the beach. Urghh. A 2 meter lenght was very sticky, brown and oil smelling.

How do I get it it of the lines safely? I have tried with soap on a rag, but it does not take all of it away.

I would like to get the lines completely clean and slippery again, but don't know what will degrease them safely? Any experience with this?

When I know how to get them completely clean, some silicone spray will make the spankling slippery again ;-)

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Before I tried anything like a solvent, I would try stronger/more concentrated soap. Maybe put some dish soap on your fingers and try to work it in and then rinse well. Avoid "soaps" that contain solvents or things like pine-oil (409, Simple Green, Murphy's, Pine-sol -- any of the "miracle" de-greaser/cleaners).

If that doesn't work, you may have to go on to solvents. I would start with alcohols, in this order - rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol and water), vodka (ethyl alcohol and water), denatured alcohol (varnish thinner from paint store). I would test these first by soaking a small rag and letting it sit on a baggie (polyethylene, like most high strength/slipperiness kite lines) for ten minutes or so, and then see if the baggie has weakened or got sticky. If you have some scrap line of the same type, that would be even better for a test. Try this outdoors or other well-ventilated and fire-proof area only.

If alcohol doesn't work, step up to something stronger. Lighter fluid (same as VM&P Naptha) is a good first choice for a mildly aggressive solvent. White gas (like Coleman stove fuel) is another possibility; do not use automotive gasoline - it has so much crap in it these days that you want to stay away from it completely. Again, observe flammable-safety precautions. Avoid long skin contact. It will strip the oils out of your skin very quickly; replace with a lanolin-based lotion.

If these don't remove the beach-oil/tar, you may have to cut that section out of your kitelines and use what is left to make shorter linesets. Any stronger solvents are likely to damage either you or the kitelines.

At one time 1,1,1,Trichloroethane (Chlorothene) would have been a good choice, but it has been banned since the Montreal Protocol 1996 as a severe atmospheric pollutant. (It's not especially good to breathe either.)

While we are on the subject of solvents: Avoid skin-contact with, or breathing the fumes of, any solvent containing benzine, toluene or other highly aggressive solvents. These are known carcinogens, and they WILL dissolve your kite lines! Don't even think of using these unless you have the proper safety equipment and know when and how to use it!

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I would try dawn dish soap. It is what they use to clean oil off of birds when an oil spill happens. If it can clean feathers I would assume it can clean line.

I have had great luck using Meguiars Ultimate Quick Wax spray to re-lubricate my lines. Spray the lines while they are on the winder, then fly them dry.

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Detergent Dawn. Take the section that is oily and soak in very soapy sudsy water. Do not put the not oily section in as you my spread the oil. Do that a few times until all of the oil is gone. Then do the entire line. I think that is best thing you can do for your lines. Don't scrub just let the soap do its thing. Then rinse and then lay out the line to dry or go fly to dry.

John

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My first thought would be Johnson's Baby Shampoo, if its mild enough not make a baby’s eyes sting. I’m sure a bit of Lazerpro will be able to handle it.

If it's beach tar you are talking about I suggest you use the Baby Shampoo neat and gently work it into the fibres with your thumb nail and the pad of your index finger. I would expect the oil to form up into clumps suspended in the shampoo that will be prevented from re attaching by the shampoo. I don’t think you will get all the staining out but I would think that with patience you will get most or the tar out.

Good luck let us know how you get on.

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