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  #1  
Old 06-23-2009
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bilge cleaner recs...

I am new to sailing and wondered what others are using to tackle the grimy cleaning of the bilge. Is there a particular product that is most useful in cutting the grime but that is also safe for pumping out....
thanks
David
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RocktheBoat View Post
I am new to sailing and wondered what others are using to tackle the grimy cleaning of the bilge. Is there a particular product that is most useful in cutting the grime but that is also safe for pumping out....
thanks
David
PS just did a comparison and several products got favorable mentions. I know the Starbrite Citrus was on the list and thats what I bought to attack the horrible sludge my bilge accumulated over the winter. Its pretty effective stuff and you'll need to wear gloves for the scrubbing.

I added product to the nasty bilge water, scrubbed, bailed out the smuck and then rinsed with fresh water and the bilge was vastly improved. However, I then left some of the cleaner with freshwater to continue working. It will supposedly eventually eat the remaining accumulated grease and oil.

I don't think any of this products should be pumped into the bay though.
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No, if there is oil involved, no product may be discharged.

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Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
PS just did a comparison and several products got favorable mentions. I know the Starbrite Citrus was on the list and thats what I bought to attack the horrible sludge my bilge accumulated over the winter. Its pretty effective stuff and you'll need to wear gloves for the scrubbing.

I added product to the nasty bilge water, scrubbed, bailed out the smuck and then rinsed with fresh water and the bilge was vastly improved. However, I then left some of the cleaner with freshwater to continue working. It will supposedly eventually eat the remaining accumulated grease and oil.

I don't think any of this products should be pumped into the bay though.

Even if the product makes the oil "appear" to vanish, it is still there and the regulation specifically forbid using soap/detergents to make oil apear to disapear.

There are a few products that claim they can "eat" the oil in the short time it takes to clean the bilge. Bacteria don't work that fast. Common sense. In a matter of weeks, sure, that is possible. Otherwise, without convincing 3rd party proof, it smells of snake oil.

However, if the amount of oil is very modest (stains and a few streaks) it can go into the blackwater tank for on-shore pump-out. Up to a few hundred ppm oil (as delivered) will not tax the treatment plant.
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I use Dawn dish washing liquid soap. Works great.
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Will the Dawn work for the nasty grease and oil on the fiberglass in the engine room, too? I know my boat is 34 years old, but the sheer amount of filth on the sides and bottom in there is mind-boggling; apparently nobody ever wiped anything off at any time during its entire life. I think most of the "boat smell" I have is from old grease buildup and not my bilge water.

I'm thinking I can spray something on the sides and bottom in there, then reach in with a sponge mop or brush and scrub it off, then rinse everything into the bilge and pump it out with my vacuum extractor that I use for oil changes. Does that sound like it will work?
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Thanks everyone ...this is helpful
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaschrumpf View Post
Will the Dawn work for the nasty grease and oil on the fiberglass in the engine room, too?

.
.
.

I'm thinking I can spray something on the sides and bottom in there, then reach in with a sponge mop or brush and scrub it off, then rinse everything into the bilge and pump it out with my vacuum extractor that I use for oil changes. Does that sound like it will work?
Dawn works great on grease, but I have always tossed some in and let it soak. I don't need to let it soak long. If you can let a mix of water and Dawn sit on the bottom that would work, but I don't know about the sides. I think it would work, but you'll want to keep the sides wet with Dawn while you scrub.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
Even if the product makes the oil "appear" to vanish, it is still there and the regulation specifically forbid using soap/detergents to make oil apear to disapear..
Not sure what regulations you are talking about that apply to my blige. I clearly stated that I don't pump the stuff overboard, going to lengths to dispose of it at the approved facility at the country dump. The issue is more the oily water than the product, which is claimed to be safe for the environment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
There are a few products that claim they can "eat" the oil in the short time it takes to clean the bilge. Bacteria don't work that fast. Common sense. In a matter of weeks, sure, that is possible. Otherwise, without convincing 3rd party proof, it smells of snake oil..
That is why you leave some in the bilge after scrubbing, so it has time to work.

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However, if the amount of oil is very modest (stains and a few streaks) it can go into the blackwater tank for on-shore pump-out. Up to a few hundred ppm oil (as delivered) will not tax the treatment plant.
I have no idea how you'd determine if the amount of oil in your bilgewater would wreck a public sewer system and our marina is on a septic system anyway, so you'd just be putting it in the ground water. We just do the "green" thing and take it to an approved disposal location.
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