Cleaning Contour Hybrid Skins — Sauce Application is Key

Post by blogger | January 3, 2017      
Setting up for cleaning the ski touring climbing skins.

Setting up for cleaning one of our pairs of Contour Hybrid ski touring climbing skins (in this case a set of splits used on our wider test skis). These guys are purported to be the elite of carpets; the Audi Quatrro of the skiing textile world. Thing is, they’re easily cleaned and renewed to a nearly-new state of adhesive glory. True? We test.

When new, Contour Hybrid ski touring climbing skins are not the stickiest skins we’ve used. Other more aggressive glues might still be better in extreme conditions (e.g, re-application in a rain storm, below zero F temps, those sorts of things). But the Hybrids are easy to handle, and with good skin hygiene they worked fine in our normal Colorado conditions. That is until recently, when they quit sticking as well as we’d like. I just figured this was the usual we’d been dealing with for decades. Meaning perhaps time for new skins, or an inconvenient re-glue.

I was wrong.

Lucky for me, Contour owner Werner chimed in here with a blog comment and reminded me to clean the pesky things, as his special Hybrid glue is indeed cleanable with his special spray can of magic (said to be nothing more than normal wax cleaner, but hey, I’d rather use his recommended product).

A-B test is easy. We installed one renewed skin and one we didn’t touch. Cleaning appears to have worked — with impressive results. We’ll torture test and report back here. In the interim, Werner claims that cleaning restores nearly new condition to the stickum. I’d agree, “nearly new.” Meaning if you’ve found the forgiving nature of Contour Hybrid to be to your liking, but you’ve noticed a reduction in tack, clean them.

The skins appeared clean, but obviously had some residue from who knows what, as well as invisible dust.

Shop rag after use as a cleaning scrub. The skins appeared clean, but obviously had some residue from who knows what (perhaps from those cute canines we love so much on the skin track?), as well as invisible dust.


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15 Responses to “Cleaning Contour Hybrid Skins — Sauce Application is Key”

  1. Jim Milstein January 3rd, 2017 6:40 pm

    When I got my Contour skins the recommended cleaner was either ski wax remover or dishwashing detergent. That was all the advice. Foolish me, I thought I’ve got some dish soap, I’ll dilute it a bit, as if washing dishes, sponge down the stickum, and sponge off the detergent with clear water. Sort of worked, but not much. Then I asked a local ski shop what they use to remove wax. They said it was much like Goo Gone, and they use it straight, then clean it off with isopropyl alcohol, which dries fast, so they can get to work on the ski.

    I’ll do that! Goo Gone worked really well. I also wiped the adhesive down with alcohol after. Skins stick almost like new.

  2. Werner Koch January 4th, 2017 5:09 am

    Great report, thank! Let us know about the next field test! Take care, Werner

  3. Dorth January 5th, 2017 6:30 pm

    Uhh yeah but how did you do it? Soap and water? Alcohol? This blog post is kind of lacking…there was an nearly substance-less ski review last week too…

    I’ve always used paper strips and hit em with an iron on the adhesive to strip the top surface of dirt/hair/debris.

  4. Lou2 January 6th, 2017 7:09 am

    Dorth, I was simply striving for brevity, sorry to not give more details, here you go:

    Prepare by laying skins, glue side up, on non-critical surface such as workbench or chunks of cardboard.

    1. Remove cap from spray can.
    2. Hold spray can in hand.
    3. Using index finger while firmly wrapping other fingers around can, press small white button on top of spray can, making sure obvious outlet spout is not pointed towards your face, and pointed at skins.
    3.a., While spraying, hold can 6.2 inches from skin glue surface.
    4. Before spray can evaporate off skin, rub with cloth rag in the longitudinal direction with exactly a 4.6 inch stroke, 6 times, each time folding rag to clean section.
    5. Repeat as desired.
    6. Allow skin to dry for 7.3 minutes.


  5. Martin January 9th, 2017 1:21 am

    Any experience with cleaning the Kohla Vacuum Base skins? They sell a specific vacuum base cleaner, is this some kind of magic or plain alcohol cleaner?

  6. Lou Dawson 2 January 9th, 2017 8:32 am

    Hi Martin, it’s probably not magic but you’d need to know what it is before messing around experimenting with things that could ruin the skins. What occurs to me, is if the skins are that expensive, why not just get the cleaner and use it? You shouldn’t need to clean the skins very often if they’re cared for. Lou

  7. Sammy February 2nd, 2017 4:32 am

    Good info about the testing, Jim’s tips are also very handy. I used Goo Gone before and it seemed to do the trick.

  8. afox March 7th, 2018 9:37 am

    Actually, the instructions on the can are different than Lou’s detailed version here in the comments here. They tell you to rinse the skins with water? Or was it rinse the sponge with water? They are not so clear.

  9. Werner Koch March 7th, 2018 9:46 am

    …sorry for the confusion. We recommend rinsing the skins after cleaning to remove residues of the cleaning fluid before drying. Works without rinsing off but takes more time to evaporate. Will make it more clear with the next reprint..

  10. Jim Milstein March 7th, 2018 9:49 am

    I agree, afox, that it’s a good idea to rinse the cleaner off the skins. I use either tap water or, sometimes, alcohol.

    Just got a new pair of Contour Hybrids, and they are notably tackier than my first gen pair when new. I’ve used them in very cold conditions and they stick admirably.

    I complained to Werner that my first Contours weren’t sticking as well as new after 150+ days. Werner scolded me and all other N American skiers who expect to pass their climbing skins down to their children and grandchildren. After whining a bit I caved and bought new. Glad I did.

  11. afox March 7th, 2018 9:51 am

    Wow, now that’s great customer service, thanks for the info Werner! Is this the glue I should be using for a touchup if the cleaner does not fix my problem?
    I am wondering if I got some defective skins, Ive used them lightly for 2 seasons and they are not sticking well at all now. I did the cleaning last nite but not a lot of dirt was removed.

  12. Werner Koch March 7th, 2018 9:57 am

    Hi afox: No the glue in tubes is only meant to reglue classic hot melt skins, not hybrids… With the skins you have, did you use the cleaning spray (wax remover) to clean or just soap? Soap removes light dirt, but sometimes wax residues are an issue if the base is not brushed of well enough after waxing. These are only removed by a wax remover (contour hybrid cleaning spray) This should restore tackiness of old skins but requires the hard side of the sponge or a hard brush. Let me know.. . Werner

  13. afox March 7th, 2018 10:00 am

    Okay, really glad I asked as I was about to order the glue in the tube. I used the cleaner and just rubbed the glue surface with a soft clean cloth. I will try the hard side of the sponge that was included with the cleaner. Thank you!

  14. Alan May 2nd, 2018 3:18 pm

    Just purchased a pair of Contour hybrid 100% mohair skins as a replacement for a pair of Pomoca 100% mohair that have started transferring glue to the well-waxed bases after about 40 tours. Took the Contours for an initial tour today in wet sunny spring conditions (like skiing on a slushy). I had read that in wet conditions the glue was not as sticky. I experienced no problems with adhesion on multiple laps. Initial impression I am very pleased!

  15. Werner Koch May 3rd, 2018 12:28 am

    Hi Alan – thanks for the positive feedback – always nice to hear ; )
    Remember that wiping off the ski base before applying the skins is crucial to keep the hybrid glue clean and sticky.

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