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Old as Dirt!
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What is the best way to clean the bilge without paying the "for marine use" premium? This stuff is expensive. It can't be rocket science.

We have had good success with Lemon Juice Concentrate, which is quite inexpensive in gallon sized containers at wholesale food suppliers, combined with warm water. That, combined with Borax for stubborn patches, seems to be quite effective and leaves the bilge smelling clean. Lemon Oil is effective for polishing wood work and preventing mold and salt combined with apple cider vinegar is effective for cleaning metalwork.

FWIW...
 
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This is from memory so bear with me. Traveling Easy had mentioned amazing orange, a cleaner available at a dollar store. The stuff works wonders.
 

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This is the dollar store stuff Traveling Easy had mentioned...

Great stuff!
http://www.lastotallyawesome.com/
"Our original all-in-on cleaner, degreaser and spot remover is the inspiration behind the LA's Totally Awesome name and the cornerstone of our product lineup. A unique blend of proprietary ingredients works between the spot and the surface to harmlessly remove even the most stubborn of stains from any washable surface. Dilute the concentrated formula for the solution to almost any household cleaning need. Non-toxic and biodegradable, nothing gets the job done like LA's Totally Awesome."
 

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Master Mariner
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I like the orange cleaners as well, mainly because they smell better than the more powerful cleaners. The purple stuff (lye, I'm told) works very well to clean, but it requires real care to use as it will take fingernails and varnish off, and the fumes are pretty tough to take. Good old Dawn dish soap works just fine, if you don't use too much.
 

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Simple green is great, used that also. Here is a pic of the stuff I bought, dollar each. Used the awesome orange on deck, with a little scrubbing, mold, mildew and dirt gone. Going to buy a couple of cases before EPA finds out about it. All the stuff that works, DDT, Agent orange, R12, chlordane, TBT, lead paint, ect, have been taken off the market. (tongue removed from cheek)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hey, great suggestions. Problem is I'm in Gibraltar, and not sure I can find that stuff. I have used simple green as a cleaner for other things, and it would probably be great for the bilge too,but I doubt I'll find it here.

Thanks for the suggestions!
 

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I have had good luck with concentrated neutral dish soap and boiling water. I turn off the bilge pump, dump about 1 liter of dish soap into the bilge and a bucket or two of boiling water and let it sit and "agitate" (either by motoring at bit or when the anchorage is rolly). After a few hours I turn the bilge pump on and out it goes. I'm not sure it's so good for the environment though....
 

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We started using this in Mexico and LOVE IT! Works GREAT and is low cost. Only thing is don't let it sit on any varnished/painted surface!!!! We had a small container we were taking from La Paz to Mazatlan and it spilled on the cabin sole when we did not know. We had to re-do the sole coating and they don't make Gym-Seal any more..... BUMMER!!

Greg

This is the dollar store stuff Traveling Easy had mentioned...

Great stuff!
LA's Totally Awesome Products
"Our original all-in-on cleaner, degreaser and spot remover is the inspiration behind the LA's Totally Awesome name and the cornerstone of our product lineup. A unique blend of proprietary ingredients works between the spot and the surface to harmlessly remove even the most stubborn of stains from any washable surface. Dilute the concentrated formula for the solution to almost any household cleaning need. Non-toxic and biodegradable, nothing gets the job done like LA's Totally Awesome."
 

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Barquito
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OK, I haven't tried this. How about for an environmentally friendly method, scrub with boiling water, empty the bilge, then scrub with a brush with baking soda paste on it. Rinse, repeat. Maybe followed by a bleach scrubbing.
 

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Windwalker - O'Day 34
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I have had good luck by pouring a little Tide into the bilge along with some bleach and letting the wave action while at the mooring take care of the scouring. The tide smells good and the bleach takes care of any mold. Definitely cheaper than bilge cleaner, hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I like the denture tablets. That's not one I would have ever imagined. I'll talk to the wife and see if she minds me using a few of hers. (Just kidding honey)
 

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s/v Tiger Lily
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Some of the things mentioned in this thread might be great bilge cleaners, but are not good for the environment and should not be pumped overboard. I don't think that phosphorous based detergents like Tide, or solvent cleaners are typically eco-friendly.
 

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I pretty much use Simple Green for most heavy duty cleaning but, also use plain white Vinegar as it is a great cleaner either straight or in dilution. Also good for jellyfish stings. I keep a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar by the galley for quick counter cleanups. You might try it as a bilge cleaner as it's cheap enough. I'd give it a rinse with fresh water after cleaning too.
 
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