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Old 10-26-2014   #1
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 130
cleaning PFD

I wonder what is a good way to clean stains off my PFD ? In particular, mine is stained where my chin apparently brushes against to top edge. Last time I pulled it out of storage, some mold was actually starting to grow there. It cleaned off easily, but the stain remains. It's pretty yucky. I searched some, and people talk about stink; but odor is NOT the problem with mine.

Also, I'm not sure how careful you need to be with harsh cleaning solutions that might possibly damage the fabric. That would suck. (FWIW, it's a yellow Extrasport HiFloat).


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Old 10-26-2014   #2
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,905
You need a different PFD, one with black around where your chin will come in contact with it, or one that your chin doesn't come into contact with.

I've got a similar Extrasport hi-float yellow and (now) black PFD out in the shed that sounds exactly like yours. starting with mild soaps, then moving to laundry soap, I tried and never could get that nastiness to go away. I don't even like using it as my spare because it's so nasty looking but can't bear to retire it for good...

If someone's got a solution, I can't wait to hear it as my most recent PFD is starting to get the grunge.

Good luck,


Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 10-26-2014   #3
Pinecliffe, Colorado
Paddling Since: 05
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 447
Skimmed through here Learn at NRS didn't see PFD specific but it may be in there... lots of gear cleaning, storage and care tips. I've found that an email question to most manufactures gets a good response for these types of questions.
I saw some commercials mid Sept. after Parkdale/Gorge on the Ark dunking PFDs and wet suits in a bleach water barrel. I was surprised about the PFD dunk and asked the answer was end of the year storage dunk.

Learn at NRS
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. KARL MARX
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Old 10-26-2014   #4
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883

My Hi-Floats have gotten that way over the years. I concluded that it was due to my chin and neck rubbing oily sun lotion on the fabric.

While not completely successful, ample application/reapplication of liquid laundry soap, a medium brush and lots of rinsing seems to get most of it off.


Rich Phillips
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Old 10-26-2014   #5
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pinemnky13's Avatar
Colotucky, USA
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,054
I use a 2 part to washing mine. 1st vinegar and water with a blue scrub brush and then a pinesol water mix to dip in. Repeat as neccasary
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Old 10-26-2014   #6
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Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,207
Dawn dish soap. Fully biodegradable and useful for cleaning more things than you might think.
GARNA’s mission is to foster stewardship of the resources of the greater Arkansas River region through education, volunteerism and experiences.
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Old 10-26-2014   #7
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Gypsum, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 458
Car Wash
Why does Pluto walk on all fours, drink from a dog bowl, and get treated like...a dog, while Goofy drives a car, wears clothing, and speaks in English?
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Old 10-26-2014   #8
Flagstaff's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 39
Try a mild ammonia solution. It got some nasty grease related stains from an old coat of mine....

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Old 10-26-2014   #9
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,403
I gave my Green Jacket a scrub with laundry soap and a little water, rinsed in white vinegar solution and finally fresh water, and hung it to dry after the summer this year. It's faded, but it looks (and smells) almost new. Then for $12 return shipping Astral put new foam in it!

The only problem I have with my "new" 2009 Green Jacket now is the label is getting pretty worn and I have to pass Alvin's inspection at Westwater at least once a year. A good PFD can last a long time if you take good care of it.
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Old 10-27-2014   #10
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 12
I use a side loader washing machine with a small amount of laundry detergent. I let it air dry. Most importantly, make sure all of the buckles are coupled. All have lasted me for the last 10 years and use the float test on the one I use at the beginning of the year.

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