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Although marine-grade vinyl manufacturers have made great strides to prevent pinking, that doesn’t mean pinking has disappeared. Many still struggle to get rid of pinking stains, and few people know what causes them to occur. Read on to learn more about the pink stains on your vinyl are and what you can do about them.
What Is Pinking?
Believe it or not, the likely cause of those pink stains on your boat vinyl is a harmless strain of bacteria called streptoverticillium reticulum. The pinking that occurs doesn’t just happen on white vinyl, either. This bacterium occurs in freshwater, so even hosing down your boat can cause these stains to appear on any vinyl in your boat.
The pink stains come from a digestive byproduct that produces a pink dye, which is soluble in plasticizers and makes vinyl softer and more flexible. The stitching of the fabric is the perfect size for the bacteria to invade the layers, making removal a hassle. And by the time you see those stains, the bacteria have typically completed their lifecycle.
What Is Chemical Pinking?
Many people confuse bacterial pinking with chemical pinking, also known as false pinking. This occurs when your boat experiences excessive heat without much airflow. Essentially, the glue in your vinyl melts, causing a reddish pink to appear. Luckily, spotting the difference is easy: bacterial pinking will look like blotches, while chemical pinking will look like a deep pink smear.
What Can I Do About Pink Stains?
Unfortunately, while chemical pinking stains may fade in sunlight, they will always reappear unless you change the vinyl. However, preventing chemical pinking is easy; just ensure that there is airflow between the vinyl and the boat cover. You can also place a towel between the cover material and the areas where it meets the boat’s vinyl. This method will also help you prevent mold and mildew from growing on your boat.
The best thing you can do to prevent bacterial pink stains from occurring is to wipe down your boat with a wet cloth instead of hosing it down. This allows your boat to dry quickly instead of remaining damp. It will also eliminate the food sources streptoverticillium reticulum feed on: dead skin cells and the PABA found in sunscreen.
Now that you know what those pink stains are and what to do about them, you can get your boat back to its best and help your white vinyl look bright again.