RIB Cleaning

With a replacement set of RIB tubes costing the same as a family hatchback, taking good care of them is a bit of a no brainer…

Ballistic RIBs, like many others have hard wearing Pennel Orca fabric, renowned for its durability, abrasion, UV and mechanical resistance, but what’s the best way to ensure that your tubes remain in great condition for as long as possible?

There’s plenty of old wives tales out there about the best way to maintain RIB tubes and plenty of expensive products available to part you from your hard earned cash. The first place to start is a decent cover for your RIB. With most owners storing their RIBs outside, a rain and UV resistant cover is a great investment to make and will extend the life of your RIB enormously.

The next obvious way of protecting your tubes is with good old fashioned soap, water and elbow grease after every trip out – at the very least, you should always hose down the RIB with fresh water after use. Soap and water will deal with every day grime and dirt and then it’s a question of what specialist products you should use next…

I’ve heard of users applying Klear floor polish to their tubes – this will certainly make them shiny, but I’d caution against putting this on my tubes, especially when there are dedicated tube products out there.

Pennel, the manufacturers of the Orca fabric sell a sodium hypochlorite based surfactants aqueous solutionand in this country,the leading tube manufacturer and RIB re-tube company Henshaws favour the 303 product range. 303, world renowned for their aerospace products have a massive range of cleaners, condtioners that have been tried and tested on RIBs for years and Henshaws stock two of their most popular products.

Co-incidentally, I was browsing through the Meguiars website this week – if you’ve not come accross Meguiars, I’d recommend checking out their website here – they’re a premium the premium car care product manufacturer, renowned for high grade automotiove waxes, conditioners and so on.  What I didn’t realise was that they also have a huge range of cleaning and conditioning products for RIBS, inflatables and hardboats here – if their performance matches the price tag then they’ll be unbeatable!

At a wallet friendlier price, 3M do a geat tube conditioner for use after cleaning your RIB tubes –  this product protects hypalon and pvc tubes from the effect of UV light – more information on this can be found here.

My personal preference was to use a combination of soapy water and a fresh water wash down, followed by an application of a toluene based thinners (I used Bostik) and then 3M’s conditioner. Even on a 7m + RIB this only took half an hour or so alongside the marina pontoon after every trip out on the RIB and was definitely time well spent.

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