Tuesday November 12, 2013
On this boat, neither of us claim to be experts on anything, although it has been mentioned recently that Matt is an Encyclopedia on all boats and every one of their specs (from too much time spent on Yacht World!!), so for simple things we’re of the ‘try and see’ variety, and if something works for us once, we don’t find a need to change it. Such is our excuse for how we’ve just tried to clean our settee cushions. I think I’ve mentioned in a previous post how filthy they’ve been getting, our dirty and sweaty bodies lounging against them day in and day out.
From the time we left up until now we’ve only done spot cleaning in areas that have had noticeable stains, usually where part of my dinner will roll first onto my lap and then on to the cushion, where upon the Woolite fabric cleaner is immediately exhumed from the depths under our sink and the spot is quickly removed. I swear, that stuff is magic. But lately we’ve been looking at our cushions and realizing they need a lot more than just spot cleaning. They need about 15 months worth of removal of our day to day living on them.
So, we decided to drag them out onto the docks and spray them down with a hose before scrubbing with some soapy water (from laundry detergent, not dish soap). I know you might be thinking to yourself, ‘Why soak the whole cushion?, It’s never going to dry!’. We assumed this would be fine because looong ago when we were still land lubbers and our dog used one of our settee cushions as a piddle pad during a particularly rough ride on Lake Michigan (it soaked through all four inches of foam and left a puddle underneath), we had no other option at the time that to take the now urine soaked cushion out on deck and throw buckets and buckets of fresh water on it along with whatever cleaning products we could find. It sat up on deck for another two to three hours, and by the time we slid back up to our mooring ball, guess what? It was completely dry.
So as I popped my head out of companionway present day, and looked at the hot sun above us, I figured, “Nice, this things will be washed and dry before dinner!”. I hooked the hose up to the fresh water spout, hosed each cushion thoroughly down, and got to work scrubbing any stains that I could see. Stains that were quite apparent while they were sitting in our salon, but seemed to disappear as soon as the cushion was wet. I hate when that happens. Each cushion received about thirty minutes of scrubbing and was then soaked one more time with the hose. To help the drying process out a bit we folded the cushions in half and put our full weight on to them, letting extra water trickle through the dock below us. Then for added purging I hopped on each cushion as if it were a trampoline, almost sending myself off the dock and into the river water below.
Sweeping my nose across the finished product I smelled the freshness and was quite proud of myself for finally tackling a project that sorely needed to be done for months now. All that was left to do was leave them in the sun, and along with the afternoon breezes that wafted through, wait for nature to do it’s part. I wish it had been that easy.
Going back to inspect the cushions just as the sun was flickering through the lower branches of the trees, we noticed they were still damp. ‘Ok’, we thought, ‘Guatemala is a little more humid than Michigan, I guess they’ll need overnight to try’. So we propped them up on the inside of the ranchito, away from the regular storms that pass through at night, and figured that with a few extra hours of sun in the morning, we’d be back relaxing in them by lunch the next day. Only, that was a no-go as well. We checked on them every few hours the next day, and not only were they not fully drying, but now they were beginning to smell moldy. I wanted to fix it with some more sun and maybe a little Fabreeze. Matt thought they were too far past that and needed another washing. His argument won out.
Once again the cushions were brought on the dock, hosed down, soaped up, and really really squeezed dry. They have now been ‘drying’ on the docks and in the ranchito for three days. I don’t even know what do do anymore. The things won’t air out. We tried taking them in last night as we foolishly thought they had finally dried out, although, still smell a little moldy, only to find that after a few hours of sitting on them, little wet spots had risen to the top leaving our butts and legs damp. We’ll just continue to leave them outside every day and pull them in at night until we’re satisfied that they’re ok again. Next time, I think we’ll stick to Woolite-ing the hell out of them.