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Old 08-08-2009, 11:11 AM   #1
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Question Tarp/faux leather Softening Home Remedy Sought

This has nothing that I know of to do with Airstreaming but sometimes you find answers in the darndest places, so...
I have some, well lets calll them tarps altho that's not really what they are. They are made of some heavy type of "vinyl" covered fabric. One of these things was a landau cover off a pickup bed, and the other item is a heavy duty boat cover.
They are both very stiff from non use I suppose. I am trying to find a CHEAP solution to apply to soften/loosen/relax them up.
Some sort of liquid lanolin based something from the Dollar Store maybe??
Any ideas? I'm gonna experiment with WD-40 on a bit of it, just don't know if the "oily" will evaporate.
Remember I said CHEAP. I'm hoping there is something everyone has around the house or such. Maybe homemade saddle soap or some obsolete recipe concoction.
Save the saltpeter jokes...unless that'll work.
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:43 PM   #2
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I don't think the problem is disuse as much as loss of volatile plasticizers over time. It's a guess what would revive that component without turning this into naughty nauga goo. Petroleum or oil-base products like WD-40 might be unpredictable. Use on a small area first? In my work (state secret) we had water based silicone in a plastic bottle -- that might be more inert if it could actually do the trick.

How about ethyl 3-ethoxypropionate? Liquid gold I bet...

WD-40 was created to prevent corrosion on Atlas rocket aluminum -- so this is more on-topic than at first glance.
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:15 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by CanoeStream View Post
I don't think the problem is disuse as much as loss of volatile plasticizers over time.
Bob's right, many plastics are mixtures of polymers and plasticizers which evaporate out of the plastic over time, causing it to become brittle.

I think automotive "protectants" like Armor All are supposed to restore these plasticizers, among other things. You might give it a try.
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