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Old 05-11-2005
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Powerwashing the deck & hull

Does anyone have any experience with using a powerwasher to clean the deck and hull of a fiberglass boat? We get the hull, below the waterline, powerwashed whenever the boat is hauled out, but I''ve never seen anyone use a powerwasher to clean the deck and the hull above the waterline. Are there any problems or potential problems with doing this?

Thanks, Bruce
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Old 05-11-2005
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Powerwashing the deck & hull

To some extent it depends on the amount of pressure used, but pressure washing a deck can dislodge caulking and sealants. Frankly pressure washing should not be necessary on the deck where simple cleaning products can be extremely effective and where pressure washing is generally less effective. The stains above the waterline tend to be more chemical in nature and so do not respond to pressure washing as effectively when compared to power washing the larger sized biological polutants adhered on the softer paints found on the bottom of a boat.

Jeff
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Old 05-11-2005
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Powerwashing the deck & hull

Bruce, we see pressure washers all the time over here in Europe; it seems a defacto choice for boat owners. Having said that, I''ve seen folks "cleaning out" all the soft wood on their teak decks and cockpits using these things, and the main reason they seem to be using them to clean fiberglass is so they can stand up and point a wand at dirt vs. getting at it with a brush. Also, note Jeff''s comment about chemical cleaning issues, as both a hull and areas of a deck can be discolored over time due to tannin in the water in which one sails, a rusty ''stainless'' fitting, etc. "Washing" doesn''t solve these problems, but a little Oxalic Acid in your normal soapy solution will remove the discoloration. (This is what is in Starbrite''s ''Hull Cleaner'' which also works well for this problem).

In general, I don''t see where the benefit is. OTOH if I had a serious cleaning project on my hands, I''d probably rent one first and see what it did for me.

Jack
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Old 05-12-2005
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Powerwashing the deck & hull

Thanks to both of you for your input. I don''t know if we''re going to try using a power washer or not, thats my wife''s call. I was just concerned that power washing might cause problems.

Bruce
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Old 05-15-2005
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Powerwashing the deck & hull

Bruce, I''ve tried a lot of products, but I''ve had the best luck with ''Simple Green''. It really cuts through the dirt & grime. But if you really need to bleech a white hull & deck, Oxalic Acid will remove all stains.
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Old 05-17-2005
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Powerwashing the deck & hull

oxalic is good, but as you rinse it off, it will strip the wax from your freeboard. I''m not a fan of powerwashers on a boat -- I think that it tends to embed dirt into the softer gelcoat on older boats, especially in the non-skid.
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Old 06-01-2005
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Powerwashing the deck & hull

I''ve had good luck power washing my 1989 Beneteau 23, with a caveat.

If you have any gelcoat that''s not firmly adhered to the fiberglass underneath, you''ll dislogdge it with a power washer. Had to do some minor work after my first power washing, but the boat was the cleanest she''d been in years. Also stay away from portlights and such. The gaskets aren''t engineered to withstand that much pressure.

I switched from scrubbing the non-skid with a chemical cleaner to powerwashing because the chemicals were taking the wax off the sides of my boat, and the boat comes cleaner with a power washer. I''ve found that the power washer takes off the regular dirt, and "chemical" spots (bird poop) come off part way with the washer and the rest of the way with a little cleaner (Roll-Off or Krazy Klean).

I started with the same gas 2300 psi washer I use on my house and truck, but switched to a 1200 psi electric for portability. The electric takes a little longer due to the lower pressure, but fits in the dock box.

Have also power washed a friend''s Hunter 40 with good results. Got dirt out of places where he didn''t know his boat had places.

Some of us power wash the finger dock at our boats, since the marina doesn''t. Not as much dirt to track aboard. Also, gets rid of the algae and mildew that make the dock slippery when it gets wet.

All in all, I swear by having a power washer.

Mark
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