303® Clear Vinyl Protective Cleaner – A Review
By Randy Bouffler
303 Products recently developed and released a Clear Vinyl Protective Cleaner. As part of their release, they contacted Strataglass, LLC for an endorsement. Strataglass, LLC at this time only endorses and recommends the IMAR Strataglass Protective Cleaner and IMAR Strataglass Protective Polish for their Strataglass line.
As a long time advocate of 303 Products and a consultant to Strataglass, LLC for their cleaning, care and technical support issues, I offered to test the 303 product to ensure it did not have any detrimental effects on Strataglass vinyl. It was made clear at the onset that my test would not result in an endorsement but rather a pass from our “Do Not Use” list of products, found to be detrimental to the Strataglass coating (see the Strataglass Care & Maintenance page).
This test was a real world, “How does it work” test, not an official lab test. A sample of Strataglass was left outside positioned for optimal sun exposure. Half was treated at least weekly with the 303 Clear Vinyl Protective Cleaner, the other was just maintained with water.
My main concerns were:
- The product does not yellow the vinyl Pass
- Cleans without streaking Pass
- Ease of use Moderate
- Water repellency Moderate
- Soil repellency Moderate
My test ran for a period of 7 months, from January through July, 2015. The atmosphere near the test site was extremely dusty/dirty due to construction of a school across the street. The sample remained outside throughout the entire test. Temperatures ranged from the low 40’s to the high 90’s with occasional rain showers and thunder storms (typical South Florida weather).
At the conclusion of the test period, the treated side remained clear, no noticeable color change. The surface was smooth and slick.
The product does indeed clean without streaking….if you do not use too much product. As stated on the label, the product does not readily dry on its own; it has to be rubbed in. This is not a bad thing as the more you buff it, the more it works into the surface, creating a protective bond.
Ease of use was rated at Moderate due to the extra buffing required to apply the product properly. If you follow the instructions to the t, you would also need to lay down a protective barrier on all surfaces not being protected to prevent overspray.
Water repellency is also rated as moderate. Water does not bead on the protected surface but it does sheet off the vinyl better than the unprotected side. In my experience dealing with Strataglass customers, water spotting is a repeat concern. As there is no way to stop the rain from falling, and all rain has traces of chemicals, minerals and other pollutants; water spots are inevitable. Many people ask about applying RainX to their vinyl windows, DO NOT DO THIS. Not only is the silicone bad for the vinyl, it interferes with the optical clarity of the window. The best way to get the water to bead is through application of polishes or waxes to the surface. Just remember, not all polishes and waxes are the same, some can actually harm vinyl. My only recommendations are IMAR Strataglass Protective Polish or Collinite 845 Insulator wax (pure carnauba).
Soil repellency is also moderate. Dirt is going to happen but on the 303 treated side, the dirt cleaned off much easier than the untreated side. There seemed to be much less adhesion properties.
Conclusion: Although we do not make any recommendations for the cleaning and care of Strataglass, other than the aforementioned IMAR Products, the 303 Clear Vinyl Protective Cleaner easily avoided being put on the Strataglass “Do Not Use” List. I do, however, think the product would be an excellent addition to your cleaning cabinet for any non-coated clear vinyl products, such as Crystal Clear 20/20®, Regalite®, extruded vinyl, etc.
303 recommends the application of the Clear Vinyl Clean and Protect every 3-5 weeks for optimal UV protection (the #1 enemy of clear vinyl). In my opinion, you will want to use the product more often, just for its effective cleaning ability.
Note – The results of this test are totally unbiased. I received no payment or other compensation for this test other than the sample provided by 303 Products for testing purposes.
Randy Bouffler is the President of RandyB Consulting, Inc. and is a consultant to Strataglass, LLC for their Care & Maintenance recommendations as well as providing technical advice to Strataglass customers.
Randy is also the President of Your Ship’s Store, Inc (www.YourShipStore.com) formerly Scalise Marine, Inc.
303 is a registered trademark of Gold Eagle
Regalite is a registered trademark of O’Sullivan Films
Crystal Clear 20/20 and Strataglass are registered trademarks of Strataglass, LLC
IMAR is a registered trademark of IMAR Sales, LLC.