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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Thought I would give a thumbs up to this product. Tuf-Enuf bilge cleaner. I've used their all-purpose cleaner for years and liked it.

We had some trouble with the float switch earlier this year. I though it was just gunked up from the winter. I cleaned it and it seemed to work fine. However, I return a week later and there was an inch or two of water collected across about 50 sf of bilge. In various compartments, under tanks, mostly inaccessible.

To make matters worse, not only do our dehumidifiers drain to the bilge, but so do the fridges. The latter is undesirable, but I'm not putting another thru hull in either. The fridge gunk rots and there is a film of mold or some sort of smelly organic growth on the top of the water I can see. Obviously, it is everywhere.

Coincidentally, I had purchased Tuf Enuf to try, but hadn't needed it yet. I poured in a half gallon and head out for an overnight. The next day, I used a shop vac to get it all out. Cleaner than it's ever been! The place smells like an orange grove. Best yet, it doesn't foam like every other detergent I've ever used. Therefore, it doesn't fill up the shop vac with foam and trip the overfill ball.

The bottle claims it has bacteria that eats dirt and grime, like a holding or septic tank treatment. That makes a ton of sense. Clearly it has orange oil. After fully cleaned, I added a very little to the bottom of my now clean bilge sump and a smal amount to a compartment I can't keep mast water out of. I'm going to be curious what happens throughout the week. I think the oil floats on top. Since the bilge pumps draws from the bottom, I'm wondering if it remains throughout the pumping cycle or mixes and goes overboard.

Either way, I was very impressed.

Amazon.com - TUF-ENUF BILGEG Natural Bilge Cleaner Gallon - Boating [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/[email protected]@[email protected]@41MYFFbmNAL
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
One week on the job.........

Really like this stuff. First, I left some in the bottom of the deep sump bilge. As I mentioned, our fridges and air conditioners drain there. In this humidity, the pump cycles fairly often, but nasty bacteria from the fridges grows there. At the least it gets like pond scum, at worst, it stinks. It seems, however, that the bacteria in this cleaner work. I usually find debris in the bilge filter, but after a week, only a soft sludgy material that easily washed away. I really, really like that I can vacuum the bilge and not get the wet vac filled with foam!


The sump bilge itself is also notably cleaner than it ever is. No smell at all, other than a faint orange odor. When first put in, it smells of fresh oranges.

I've not checked to see if it is doing any harm to the topside paint below the bilge discharge yet, but I doubt it. In just reloaded a bit.

So far, I'm a fan.
 
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I like the non foaming part as i use dawn every fall when the boat is on the hard and it foams to say the least :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Two weeks on the job.........

Bilge is still pretty clear. Instead of the funky black crud that collected in the lower sump bilge, the bilge water is like a light brown emulsion of stuff. Presumably much better for pumping and nothing that might clog the filter.

However................. My float switch stuck in the upright position, while underway, and nearly burned the pump out. At first, I thought it was getting hung up on a nearby tie warp. Then it happened again. Then again. After removing the switch, it would not easily return to the down/off position. It was coated with the above emulsion. After cleaning the heck out of it, I got it working properly again. The switch was ony two weeks oold. I'm now concerned that the switch will continuously fail in the ON position.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
As I just posted this point in a another thread, I thought I would update this one. I eventually changed the switch to a solid state electronic switch, which worked fine for the remainder of the season.

However, my bilge pump diaphragm wore out too. That may be entirely coincidence, as it's 10 years old. Nevertheless, I do suspect this cleaner is not to be left in the bilge permanently, as I was attempting. Still, it works really well and I will continue to use it intermittently.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
....However, my bilge pump diaphragm wore out too. That may be entirely coincidence, as it's 10 years old. Nevertheless, I do suspect this cleaner is not to be left in the bilge permanently....
I've since rebuilt this diaphragm pump. The upper diaphragm wore out right at a stress point. All other rubber was completely fine, so I do not believe this was the result of the bilge cleaner. Just age and use. Our pump runs dozens of times per day to evacuate air conditioning condensate, so 10 years was all she had in her.
 
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With the straight TUFF-ENUFF, not the bilge cleaner version ....
I loft my own dacron polyester sails. Ive been using Tuff-ENuff for cleaning these sails for years.
Also is extremely good for cleaning mold and mildew - its highly caustic, so it dissolves (liquifies) the mildew cells ... including Stochybatris, the really BAD toxic mildew.
After I clean mildew from interior 'fiberglass', I spritz on some and simply let it dry, as a modern version of 'whitewash' and rarely have any future reinfestation ... dont use on paint or varnish as it will 'lift' it.

Also great for stripping old dead oxidized wax from gelcoat.
If I dont have TSP, I use it to clean bare teak (then bleach with oxalic acid after thorough rinsing).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Regular tuf enuf cleaner is also great. Not bio active, like the bilge cleaner, but a very good cleaner. It does a great job on bare teak. Never use it on plexi,,however. It doesn't rinse off very well.

However, it strips wax off without effort. No point to using it on the deck or cabin top, if you've already waxed. It will be gone. Ask me how I know.
 
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If the stuff has orange oil - (chemical called d-limonene ) - then it can attack and weaken or melt some plastics and rubbers. My company makes some cleaning products with d-limonene in them as adhesive removers. It can also eat some paints. As a hydrocarbon solvent it's not THAT aggressive, so degradation usually takes prolonged exposure....like leaving it in the bilge. As an oil, it has to be emulsified by surfactants to dissolve in water. Some combinations of the surfactants along with the oil and dirt are probably what you're seeing in the bilge. That scum will preferentially stick to and gum up plastic works like float switches. Also, a large enough quantity of d-limonene will show up as an oil slick when dumped in water, so keep an eye on your overboard discharge, especially if you are in an environmentally strict port.

D-limonene is a great cleaning solvent for sticky, oily messes as long as you take precautions to limit exposure times to incompatible materials.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sure enough, that is one of it's ingredients. However, I suspect its in many bilge cleaners.

http://wallaceandsonsinc.com/2013/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/TufEnuf-Bilge1.pdf

It does help to explain why it works so well, but one just shouldn't leave it for prolonged periods. To be clear, the bottle does not suggest you do, that was my silly idea, as our lower bilge can get funky. I rinse it all out now.
 
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