Is Bar Keepers Friend cleanser a friend to my fiberglass trailer? The final answer is a big YES. Now I'll back up and tell you how I got there.
I was already tired and hungry when I got out of work, but I stopped at Home Depot to get more fiberglass mat which I'll need for the big hole. Nope. Since I bought the one package three days ago, someone else has cleaned them out. It will be a week before they have more. I want to have enough to do the big hole before I start it. So I guess that project is on hold.
Then I needed to stop at Meijer to get some groceries for a salad for a lunch at work tomorrow (not just the mailroom, but all the employees). So I had checked on line, and it said that Meijer carries Bar Keepers Friend, often just called BKF. Got all my groceries, and went up and down the cleaning aisle three times. I couldn't even find the collection of similar cleansers like Comet and Bon Ami, etc. Not a store employee in sight. So I went to the service desk and waited in line. The lady there looked at me like I had two heads. She didn't know what any of those cleansers were and said they probably don't carry it. I said that the website claimed they did. She suggested I try in housewares with the mops. So I hiked back there. Nothing. However, now two employees appeared. The first one of these also had never heard of any of those cleaners. She was reading shelf tags among the vacuum cleaners and carpet shampooers, while I was trying to explain what they were.
I like to think I have verbal descriptive skills, but apparently I wasn't succeeding. Then the other lady said, "Oh, I know what they are. They come in a shaker can." Now we were getting somewhere. She said they were in the cleaning product aisle. I explained that I'd looked pretty hard and didn't see them. So she walked me over there, and we found two cans of Comet and two of BKF pushed way back under the bottom shelf. This should make me feel like I really succeeded. It only makes me hate shopping even more.
Anyway, I managed to get out of the store without buying any junk food, no small victory, because now I was seriously hungry.
Came home and ate something. Sure didn't feel like doing anything, but I'm determined to try to do at least something on the trailer every day I can. I could have counted just the shopping, but decided I could try the cleaning.
That meant getting out the hoses and hooking them up. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. The long, 1" diameter hose (yes, it's bigger than the standard 3/4" hose) was plugged. Plugged, not kinked. It was fine when I put it away last fall. Could spiders have crawled inside and made nests? Anyway, I kept working it and finally got water to come through. Not the amount that should, but at least a slow stream.
Now we have finally arrived at the point of this post. Aren't you glad? Cleaning the exterior of the trailer.
Read the directions (yeah, I'm that kind of person). I'd previously read some other things on line. Bar Keepers Friend uses oxalic acid to clean with and can be used on a lot of different materials. Fiberglass is one of them. Generally, you shouldn't even use a scrubby pad, but I need to clean off all the loose finish on mine as well as the dirt and mold, so I got out a good stiff brush too.
First I tried a space that showed some dirt, but nothing major.
I know, you can hardly see the dirt. Here's a closer look.
Per instructions, I wet the surface and my rag thoroughly, put some BKF on the rag and wiped the area down. Here's how it came out. Pretty nice.
But that was an easy spot. I decided to take on one of the worst places. The top front curve is covered with mold that has just latched on to the crazing surface.
Wet, BKF, wipe and gently scrub with a cloth. I could see that progress was being made and the spots were fading. But I decided to take the scrub brush to it and see how much of that I could really get off. So I rinsed the area down and started over. More water, more BKF, scrubbing hard, rinse. I did that one more time, and take a look.
The curve on the right of the seam gasket is the one I scrubbed. It previously matched the space on the left of the gasket. Pretty impressive.
The flaky look is just that. Flaked surface. It's unclear to me if this trailer has previously been painted. This area, cleaned up now makes me think, maybe. The smooth white areas could be the original gel-coat and the slightly grayish areas are remains of cracking paint. If it was painted, though, They must have masked the original decals very well, because those don't look like they've ever been messed with.
At any rate, I'll be able to get the surface really clean for very little money, just a lot of elbow grease. Then I'll have to sand off most of that old paint. That might be a bit tough on my little oscillator. Might have to get a small sander.
So, today I learned what I'm going to need to do to prep the exterior. But at least I can scrub a section even if I can't get much else done on any given day.
Now, I have to go make that salad!
(BP -14 and counting)
Index for Trailer Refurbish
Redo Day 9
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