Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
Summer's almost here and the bugs are appearing more and more regularly on my STOL 750's slats! For years, I've used "Wash Wax ALL" and an Aero Cosmetics Scrub Pad to "de-bug" my plane. The scrub pad is non-scratching and the Wash Wax ALL leaves a wax residue that is supposed to make the surface easier to clean next time. This has worked great for me, but occasionally baked-on, stubborn areas require a bit more scrubbing with the pad.
Within another topic, Patrick Hoyt and Mike Chapman put me on to a great tip I was unaware of. They put a "Bounce" dryer sheet in a spray bottle of water and use the resultant solution to clean off bugs. The Bounce apparently has a surfactant that moistens the bugs, softening them and make them easier to remove. I tried this and found if you let it soak a few minutes, a lot of bugs simply wipe off with a microfiber towel when previously, I had to use the scrub pad.
I researched this a bit and about the only negative I could find was the Bounce solution probably removes any wax from the surface, too. However, I suspect that's true of most any cleaner that's very effective. I conducted an experiment by cleaning both slats with the Bounce solution, then applied Wash Wax All to one slat (which is supposed to leave a wax residue) and applied Turtle Wax "ICE Spray Wax" to the other slat (I reasoned I really didn't need need the "Wash" of Wash Wax ALL and wanted to see how applying just a pure spray wax would work.)
I flew again and gathered my usual bug collection on the slats and let them dry-out on the slats for a few days (the plane was hangared, however, and not baking in the sun!). Today I found that the Bounce solution easily cleaned the bugs from either side, but it was even easier/less effort on the ICE Spray Wax treated side. In both cases, a microfiber towel just wiped the bugs away - no scrub pad necessary.
The Bounce solution is incredibly cheap to make but the ICE wax product is one of the more expensive spray waxes (it is also supposed to be very durable, however) - I suspect any spray wax would be better than nothing.
Thought I'd put this info out in case someone was unaware of it as I was! If you have any other tips or "secret formulas" to aid cleaning your plane, let's hear it!
Great tip! I wonder how the newer ceramic coatings would do?
I waxed my plane with Meguiar's Hybric Ceramic Spray Wax, and wasn't happy with the streaks it left. However, bugs just wiped off with a damp microfiber towel. Last week, I washed the plane with Meguiar's Ceramic Wash and Wax, but haven't had a chance to fly since, due to the weather. However, the plane has a great shine! with no streaks. :-)