Does anyone know how to remove the makers marks from new sails. I have a beautiful new suite in Egyptian cream that has red pen all over it. It doesn't show from a distance but close up it looks like badly corrected homework. My mild OCD can't live with it.
Methylated spirit will get rid of even 'permanent' marker and will not harm the cloth.
I trust by 'Egyptian cream' you are referring to colour, not cotton sail cloth?! I have just removed sail numbers from a Dacron / Terylene mainsail and got rid of the sticky residue using petrol and clean cotton rags. Other dedicated solvents work more or less well, depending on type, but with glue you need a lot and they are expensive. With glue residue you need plenty of rags to get it all off, otherwise it tends to spread the glue around into the sail making it look a little darker (but not sticky). In fact it stiffens the cloth quite nicely and puts some texture back into it!
I would be wary of using this approach on a new sail of such a pale hue as yours, in case it spreads the ink and turns parts into a pink sail. What do the sailmakers say? It sound to me as if you should return the problem to the perpetrators. New sails should arrive unblemished and perfect – for the only time in their lives. If you choose not to, I'd experiment with meths first, very carefully on less than a square inch.
Yes it's a dacron but cream coloured. I am worried about the pink smudge effect too as well as harming the fabric or any UV tretment on it. My problem is I had to wait 7 months for these and I am not enthusiastic about losing another season with my sails away ' for repair'. Negotiation hasn't started yet with the maker - I am just exploring options.
I think if I wan't to enjoy my boat this year I will have to put it down to bad experience but I just can't look up without shaking my head.
It's a very 'kind' solvent but even if they have used permanent marker pen it will shift it. Use a small pad – screwed-up corner of a handkerchief? – and dab at an isolated letter or line. If it doesn't even start to dissolve you are looking at trying something different. I'd try bicarbonate of soda if that fails. Pick up the powder on your wet cloth and apply it to a dampened part of the lettering. Leave it for a couple of minutes and wash it off. This also is not going to harm your sailcloth, but it shifts some major stains like blood very quickly, even out of carpets, as I discovered afresh recently when a flying loft hatch cover broke my nose and I left a long and winding road to the bathroom. In the unlikely case you've never encountered it before, try the baking section in your local supermarket. I've been assured by some reliable people that they have used hairspray successfully on fabric stains!
They surely must have used something impermanent like whiteboard markers or water-based art pens to scribble on sails? It would have been totally irresponsible to have used anything stronger. Perhaps you could ask them to enlighten you? I presume you've tried a soft india-rubber eraser on it? Next up the scale of solvents after meths is white spirit, but it can be hard to get rid of, being slightly greasy, and it will probably penetrate the cloth. If it helps, I have successfully laundered some sails over the past fortnight in my washing machine at 95 degrees at the white cotton setting. Terylene sailcloth is heat treated in the manufacturing process to much higher. Seems to have done no harm at all. You could always approach a professional sail laundering service for advice. I notice online that some people have used acetone on stained sailcloth, which shifts practically anything, including flesh from bones I would think, but I don't believe I'd have the nerve to try it. It even softens cured polyester resin in seconds – and it evaporates quickly in use, so a lot would need to be used. Most unhealthy.