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mattsmith 12-12-2011 11:16 AM

How to wash the plane without water
Long story short due to a growing family the wife said we need a new house so we got another house and it doesn?t have a 50'X22' garage perfect for building a RV8 like the last one, so I rented a hanger to finish the project. The problem is the hanger is nowhere near air tight and is in the middle of the Nevada desert and when the wind blows everything gets covered in dust. How do I wash the plane without water? The avionics are in and in the middle of being wired, the canopy is cut and Sika flex, but the wind screen is not on and the motor is hung. Can I use Windex and paper towels? I have tried the air compressor which gets most of it off and then following up with a feather duster but this doesn?t get all of it.

The plan is to get the dust off of it and keep it covered with old bed sheets when not working on it. I don?t want to use something to clean it that will leave a residue when it?s time to paint it.

drill_and_buck 12-12-2011 12:09 PM

I wouldn't recommend using Windex.

How about using a portable garden sprayer? You can either purchase either a 5 gallon hand pump model for a few bucks or use your air compressor and large container to make a sprayer. You will need just enough volume of water to rinse the dust. The only PIA will be lugging the water to the hangar.


Guy Prevost 12-12-2011 12:23 PM

I keep a couple of 7 gallon drinking water containers from WalMart in my hangar. I fill them with soft water from home, since the hoses at my airport all have very hard water. I can wash the whole plane with about 3 gallons of water. I just (repeatedly) pour some in a bucket and wash in sections. This also prevents water spots since you can dry a section before it dries by itself. It sounds slow and tedious, but I've found it's the most efficient method for a good wash.


hendrik 12-12-2011 12:32 PM

Same here. I wash my glider with a bucket of water, sponge and chamois leather.

mattsmith 12-12-2011 12:50 PM

I was afraid you guys would say water. it probably ids the simple solution just a pain.

Guy Prevost 12-12-2011 12:55 PM

Also, specifically with regards to Windex. It has ammonia in it. Just about the worst thing ever for the canopy and the aluminum.

Larco 12-12-2011 12:57 PM

Garden sprayers work perfect and use suprisingly little water. Just spray on some water and wipe it off with a towel. Larry

9GT 12-12-2011 01:44 PM

Seal up the hanger also
If your hanger is the typical hanger construction, you probably have a gap between the floor and the metal sidewall skirting. All kinds of dust, sand, bugs and critters can find their way in. I filled mine with the round foam insulation tubes commonly used to insulate pipes. My door seals up pretty good so I have no problems there. Pretty much all that gets in now is what I track in or what blows in when the door is open. I still keep a couple gallons of water in the hanger to rinse the canopy though before I do anything else to clean the transparencies.

DEWATSON 12-12-2011 02:11 PM


Mine has never been washed with water. I always spray on a wet coat of ICE DETAILER or similar automotive finish detailer. You want to wet the surface well enough to lift the grit so it won't scratch when you wipe it off. It works very well. I'd take compressed air and blow off as much as I could before I sprayed the detailer though.

You can also clean the belly with SCRUBBING BUBBLES bathroom cleaner once you get it flying. Spray it on, wait a few minutes and wipe it off. It works better than you can imagine. Use PLEDGE furniture polish on the canopy and wipe off with a soft cloth.

Cadstat 12-12-2011 02:43 PM

Try the Washwax
The first time I tried the garden sprayer it must have been less than 32 on the skin because it froze instantly. 'Washwax' works better than the car products above freezing and then the 'California' car Duster takes off the dust very well hot or cold. 9.95 at the Walmart.

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