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Old 10-28-2020, 02:45 PM   #1
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Leaf stains! Help!

Just home from visiting a friend in the mountains. The leaves have left terrible stains on our one piece fiberglass roof. We have an Aspect. I scrubbed today with a brush and Armorall wash and wax product. It helped but leaf outlines all over my used to be white roof. I googled what to do and most answers said wait for the sun to bleach it. I could see that with a rubber roof but not fiberglass. Any cleaning products/ help would be very much appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 10-28-2020, 04:05 PM   #2
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Well, when not wanting to wait for sun to bleach it, one could use bleach!
That sounds like a snippy answer but the leaf stains are an organic and the chlorine in bleach does react with organics, therefore bleaching them! It's what Moms all over the country used before we got too fancy to use something common and now want it already in the laundry products we use.
Just read the label and do the care needed to keep it off the things you don't want bleached like your pants!
Unless you do like the look of tie dyed and holey!
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Old 10-28-2020, 06:02 PM   #3
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X2 on the sun + time but if it really bothers you and you have the time I've read that Bar Keeper's Freind works as does wood bleach. The stains that you see are iron in nature and any cleaner that has oxalic acid as a ingredient should work. I guess it depends on if your looking for a scrubbing or a spray solution.

If your particular about not wanting to damage the finish on your roof I would take a trip to a boating store. They would be the experts I think.
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Old 10-29-2020, 07:31 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. I also thought of a boat cleaner. That will be the route I take. I appreciate the help!
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Old 10-29-2020, 09:11 AM   #5
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As a boat owner too, I strongly suggest that you avoid the liquid hull cleaners. They will quickly remove the roof stains but the acid could streak your side walls and will ruin aluminum finishes (wheels). While you may get away with using it by flooding with a lot of water in the final rinse the risk is significant.

Try the Bar Keepers friend. It's relatively mild, inexpensive and you can rinse it off easier. Dampen a small area, apply BarKeepers. Let it sit, scrub a little and rinse.
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Old 10-29-2020, 11:59 AM   #6
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Thanks, Topsail. I have used those hull cleaners on our boat and agree way too harsh and could cause additional damage. I'll try the soap and see how the sun works too. Heading to FL for a month so that should help! Much appreciate the advice!
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Old 10-29-2020, 12:07 PM   #7
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I'd wait for the sun. I had the same on my travertine pool deck. I could not believe how quickly the stains disappeared from just the sun. In one week, what I thought was a huge permanent blemish just disappeared.
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Old 10-29-2020, 08:03 PM   #8
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Thanks! Travertine stains are a good example of what I see on the roof. Sticking with the sun. Too many chemicals that might damage full body paint, wheels, etc.
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Old 11-01-2020, 05:52 PM   #9
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I just use rv roof cleaner
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Old 11-02-2020, 07:33 AM   #10
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If the roof had a good coat of wax on it the stains should have mostly come off with regular washing. Boat hull cleaners many times have some form of Muriatic Acid in them so I would not use them on Motor Home. It may be time to use an oxidation remover and to give that fiberglass a good polishing to seal it up.
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Old 11-02-2020, 02:49 PM   #11
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Washing helped remove lots of the staining. It's the red leaves that left the outlines. It was very wet/rainy there. Sun has helped so far. Thanks for the info!
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Old 11-02-2020, 07:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morich View Post
Well, when not wanting to wait for sun to bleach it, one could use bleach!
That sounds like a snippy answer but the leaf stains are an organic and the chlorine in bleach does react with organics, therefore bleaching them!
I would avoid using chlorine bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite), even diluted. Bleach is an oxidizer and will attack the gel-coat and fiberglass. Not immediately but over time it will cause the slick finish of fiberglass to dull.

This includes other components of the RV such as slide toppers and awnings.

I once had a fiberglass sided TT that I religiously washed and waxed and was shocked the see the exterior finish turn dull. I soon learned that bleach I was using to wash with was the culprit. Save the bleach for sanitizing the freshwater tank.

To the OP; I recently returned from a trip in TN and my roof was similar. I gave it a good wash when we got home but still had some stains. Not a big deal, it's the roof. However, me being a bit overboard on "being perfect", I planned to scrub the roof with a bucket of warm water and a good auto wash on the next weekend. By the time the weekend rolled around, most of the stains had vanished. I washed it up anyway.

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Old 11-02-2020, 07:44 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by bkg View Post
I would avoid using chlorine bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite), even diluted. Bleach is an oxidizer and will attack the gel-coat and fiberglass. Not immediately but over time it will cause the slick finish of fiberglass to dull.

This includes other components of the RV such as slide toppers and awnings.

I once had a fiberglass sided TT that I religiously washed and waxed and was shocked the see the exterior finish turn dull. I soon learned that bleach I was using to wash with was the culprit. Save the bleach for sanitizing the freshwater tank.

To the OP; I recently returned from a trip in TN and my roof was similar. I gave it a good wash when we got home but still had some stains. Not a big deal, it's the roof. However, me being a bit overboard on "being perfect", I planned to scrub the roof with a bucket of warm water and a good auto wash on the next weekend. By the time the weekend rolled around, most of the stains had vanished. I washed it up anyway.

Bobby
It's always good to be careful but many people who are afraid of bleach miss the point that it is the same as what we have in the tap water we drink, just depends on how much water we mix with it to dilute it! Hard water and the sun will dull the finish whether we use bleach or not.
It's a constant scary subject for folks who breed tropical fish where we get lots of scary stories about using bleach but it's mostly from the folks who have never used it! They can't imagine they have grown up drinking it every day. The older Momma can tell us a lot about bleach!
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Old 11-03-2020, 07:44 AM   #14
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We were also in TN! Same look. Washing has helped. It's parked in the sun now instead of undercover where usually parked. I'll check it again this weekend! Thanks again!
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Old 11-05-2020, 12:06 AM   #15
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There is a great product called 'Soft Scrub', won't hurt your gloss, but really works to clean fiberglass, plastic, tile, showers, etc.

For me, I just use a regular automotive wash/wax soap, scrub it on with a brush and rinse off. my roof still looks pretty good after 10 years, and I have been under lots of trees occasionally, leaves, pine needles, birds and squirrels, its always something.
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Old 11-05-2020, 12:38 PM   #16
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Unhappy "Soft Scrub" ISN"T!

This product is misleadingly named...from my experience it is much more abrasive (a relative term, don't forget) than BarKeeper's Friend, which I happily use on glass windshields , for example....be wary of ANY cleanser until you actually test it on your surface....You'd think chrome is hard enough to be safe, but a client ruined his $4500 Knoll chrome coffee table with Comet......that was one heavy loss...(it weighed 200#)
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Old 11-05-2020, 11:53 PM   #17
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Wow, I guess your experience is totally different than mine.

Comet is very abrasive in my experience, even called an abrasive cleaner. Very similar to Barkeepers friend which I use on my stainless steel pans. But for me, soft-scrub works very well, without scratching anything. Perhaps I just don't use enough elbow grease to rub hard enough?

Like anything, you need to test any product first, on the surface to be cleaned.
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