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kellysails 02-10-2013 12:39 PM

Deck Soap, low cost
I am looking for environmentally safe liquid soap to wash the decks with. I am growing tired of buying expensive marine "Boat Soap" products. My first thought is Ivory Liquid dish soap. My general method of cleaning is to create a solution of soap and water in a 5 gallon bucket and brush away.

So what are people using out there?

I did search the site, surprised there was not another thread on this.


Tanley 02-10-2013 12:55 PM

Re: Deck Soap, low cost
Curious to see what home made remedies are suggested. It does seem that Ivory, Dawn or Simple Green can clean just about anything.

Friends introduced us to this Starbrite cleaner and it's performed very well in both cleaning and leaving a non slip surface behind. A 32oz container easily gets us through a New England season (~7 months).

Star brite Non-Skid Deck Cleaner with PTEF

deltaten 02-10-2013 01:16 PM

Re: Deck Soap, low cost
I'm gonna try Simple Green; as it's s'posed ta be bio-degradable and damm'd near ingestable! ;)
Various concentrations and appliations are good for cleaning everything from laundry to oil-gummed garage floors.

What I'd *really* like ta have is a deck brush that the bristles are coated with the abrasive used on 3M pads. That'd be good for those anti-skid areas molded in the deck. Not only would they reach down into the crevices; but would remove the (deeper located) oxidation ! ;)

RichH 02-10-2013 02:13 PM

Re: Deck Soap, low cost
If you wax your boat, then NOTHING will beat a 'neutral pH' automobile/car wash soap.

Most 'detergents' are caustic to some degree and therefore will 'lift' all that wax that you laboriously put on. If you did wax your boat, it will ultimately show that using 'cheap' detergents will be costly in time and money spent.

DG901 is probably one of the 'least expensive' - DuraGloss 901
Duragloss Car Wash Concentrate #901

sailortjk1 02-10-2013 04:10 PM

Re: Deck Soap, low cost
Start with Simple Green. If you cant get the stains with Simple Green, follow up with something like Roll Off.

On your decks and non-skid; Another option if your on shore power is a light weight household electric power washer. Light weight being the key. Be extremely careful when using power and water.

pdqaltair 02-10-2013 04:29 PM

Re: Deck Soap, low cost
Not long ago, related to the Gulf Horizon spill, we tested a large number of cleaners, including Palmolive, Dawn, and Simple Green, and we concluded that claims of low toxicity and biodegradablity mean nothing at all. For the record, the above 3 products did terribly in toxicity testing. If wax is not a concern, simple alkaline cleaners did best; in simple language, as soon as they are diluted to neutral pH they become ineffective and the wastes fall out.

* Toxicity. Products a person can drink can be lethal to fish, the surfactants destroying gill tissue. A very different metabolism.
* Toxicity. A great portion of the toxicity comes from the cleaner making toxic materials more bio-available; cleaners often increase the toxicity by suspending materials that would otherwise settle.
* Biodegradability. Under what conditions? Almost everything degrades under some conditions, and most things don't degrade under others. Are the byproducts of break down dangerous? The phrase is meaningless in advertising.

If wax is a concern, RichH made the most sense. Personally, I would rather sail than wax.

RichH 02-10-2013 05:06 PM

Re: Deck Soap, low cost
My point was the longer any wax that you do apply that 'stays on' the boat, the easier the cleaning ... most times just a plain 'hose off' will suffice.

chuck53 02-10-2013 05:13 PM

Re: Deck Soap, low cost
I agree that most boat soaps are expensive, but you only use an ounce or two per gallon of water, so it goes a very long way.

bljones 02-10-2013 05:35 PM

Re: Deck Soap, low cost
we have tried all sorts of products, and will be testing more this season. To date, ands-down, the best stuff for spider crap, bird crap, and general mildew and dirt is Lysol Multi-purpose orange. It doesn't take much, toxicity isn't a huge issue considering how little you need to use.

Having said that, a cleaner will only work as well as the brush used when it comes to cleaning crosshatched non-skid and brightwork.

AKA44 02-10-2013 09:45 PM

Deck Soap, low cost
Thanks pdqaltair for the reality-check on environmental toxicity. We should not be participating in poisoning the environment we all share a love for. So, what's a creative way of performing this constant task? A splash of seawater and a spritz of lime juice before swabbing the deck?

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