With boating season approaching, it’s time to address a common problem: pink stains on vinyl. If you own a boat, you will definitely be familiar with this issue.
What Are These Pink Stains?
Often times these stains look like spilled juice and can be incredibly noticeable on white vinyl. Most people naturally assume this is a type of mold, but in actuality, these stains are caused by a dye that is produced by the actinomycete bacterial species, Streptomyces (previously referred to as Streptoverticillium reticulum). The color of the dye can range from red to purple or pink to brown depending on the conditions.
These bacteria can be found on the vinyl surface as well as in the actual foam under the vinyl. And like most bacteria, they thrive in moist, warm environments. Essentially a boat is their dream home, with everything they need to grow properly.
Where Else Can Pink Stains Be Found?
Other common areas where pink staining is a problem is vinyl flooring, pool liners, vinyl roofing membranes and any other areas where light colored plastics and polymer materials come into contact with moisture.
How to Remove Pink Stains
Ensuring your boat stays dry is one way to ensure at least a slowed rate of growth for the bacteria. Be sure to store your boat properly, and keep moisture in mind.
If you already have pink stains forming, there are some cleaners that can help lessen the appearance such as Gestalt Scientific’s Pink Away that was recently written about in Boating‘s online magazine, but nothing will remove it completely. Be careful if using bleach to try and clean these stains, as it can cause unnecessary damage to the vinyl and stitching.
To be sure you are getting the best protection before the problem can develop, check with your upholstery provider to see if they are using Ultra-Fresh in their products.
How Ultra-Fresh Helps Combat Pink Stains On Vinyl and In Polyurethane Foam
Ultra-Fresh is an antimicrobial additive that helps stop the growth of the Streptomyces bacteria – along with a variety of other types of odour and stain causing bacteria, mold and mildew. This additive is incorporated during the manufacturing process and can be added to all components of marine seating (including vinyl, foam and stitching thread) to help prevent unsightly pink stains on vinyl. It also has the added benefit of controlling unpleasant odors and prolonging degradation of the polyurethane foam and vinyl.
What Test Method is Used to Assess Resistance to Pink Staining?
After vinyl and foam, destined for the marine, flooring, pool liner industries, etc. are manufactured, many different types of specifications must be met. A common industry standard used to test vinyl, foam or any other types of polymer materials against the pink staining bacteria, is the ASTM E1428.