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  #1  
Old 09-12-2007
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Question bleach/water wash

Last week I watched a man mix half water and Clorox bleach in a pressure sprayer. He then sprayed his boat a Catalina 27 which was very dirty with a lot of black mole. He then took a brush to the boat and the dirt mold and oxidation came rolling off. I have never seen this before and am curious as to the damage the bleach might do to the gel coat. I have to admit his boat looked great after the bleach/water wash. What are your thoughts on this?
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Old 09-12-2007
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I'm not convinced that wouldn't eventually burn the boat. I am convinced that a half and half mixture would likely affect the seals and the impeller in the pressure washer. I suppose if a pressure washer is 200 bucks, and you get 10 boat washes out of it before it fails, it's cheaper than using Penetrol, that blue fibreglass goo, or hiring a couple of guys to do it.
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Old 09-12-2007
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The pressure washer was a pump up by hand type, I was more concerned with damaging the gel cote on the boat.
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Old 09-12-2007
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"The pressure washer was a pump up by hand type"
Then it was a "pump sprayer" not a pressure washer. $20 at Home Depot for the cheapest plastic ones--and plastic is better than metal for bleach.
Wash it out, and wash the boat off, when you are done. Bleach is after all a caustic substance. It kills mold, that's why he used it. Adding some SOAP or detergent would also help to remove dirt, bleach alone doesn't do that.

But after you clean the boat, you really should WAX the whole hull. Gelcoat oxidizes, wax stops the oxidation. Just like cars, if you don't wax the finish it takes UV damage and oxidation and then ten years down the line--it's time for an expensive paint job, too late to save it. Non-skid wax on the deck, shiny stuff on the hull.
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Old 09-12-2007
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Not only is it likely to damage the gelcoat, it is also likely to damage the lines, ports and attack the metal on the boat. Sodium Hypochlorite is very aggressive stuff. It will also damage the marine environment around the boat as well. Chlorine bleach is a very aggressive oxidizer.

IMHO, the guy doing this obviously is both lazy and doesn't give a crap about the marine environment or his boat.
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Old 09-12-2007
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Starbrite uses bleach in their Deck Cleaner product. I've been using it for 3 years with great results. I'm sure there isn't alot of bleach in it though. Bleach is so potent you really don't need much. I think 50/50 is a bit strong, strong enough to remove the Cetol or varnish from your wood. And as SD said, what about the effect on the marine environment.
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Old 09-12-2007
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Speaking of the marine environment, it seems that anything you use to clean the boat short of plain water has to have some effect on the surrounding water. Am I just too much of a hippie, or are there truly "safe" products?
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Old 09-12-2007
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Hellosailor
“"The pressure washer was a pump up by hand type"
Then it was a "pump sprayer" not a pressure washer. $20 at Home Depot for the cheapest plastic ones--and plastic is better than metal for bleach.””

The sprayer is irrelevant, to the issue. The question is in regard to the bleach mixture and the strength of the mixture with regard to damage to the gel coat of the boat. Not how it was applied. Sailingdog has answered my question, with concurrence from canadianseamonkey. I had considered doing this to by boat, but based on there responses will opt for plane soap and water.
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Old 09-12-2007
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Bleach has at the most (Clorox) 5% Sodium Hypochlorite. The cheaper brands have @1-2%. Maybe it will oxidize all the crap dumped by cruise ships, tankers, freighters and other major polluters. I doubt very seriously that the marine environment suffers. From what I understand, cow farts will be the end of us anyway.
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Old 09-12-2007
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A lot of the products, properly used, are relatively safe for the marine environment. Any product, misused is going to cause environmental damage IMHO. Many cleaning products are toxic to the environment in higher concentrations, like bleach, but used properly and diluted down, are relatively harmless. Phosphate based products can cause some serious problems, but they're mostly banned in the US.
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