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Thread: Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

  1. #1
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    Default Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

    My bilge is really dirty. The wood is unfinished mahogany. I prefer to use something on the green side to clean it. Vinegar would be a preference, but I'm wondering about boiled linseed oil and Denatured alcohol. I put medical marijuana in the title to attract attention.

    i'm open to suggestions. But I don't want to use anything like TSP.

    Also, if I use vinegar, do I need to rinse it afterwards?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

    Yer thinkin of cleaning yer bilge with linseed oil?
    Can I but some marijuana from you?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

    It would help if you told us what sort of dirt. Engine oil and diesel spillages? Mud and dead fish? What you got?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

    Some sort of tacky sticky tar like substance I reckon!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

    Quote Originally Posted by joshs View Post
    My bilge is really dirty. The wood is unfinished mahogany. I prefer to use something on the green side to clean it. Vinegar would be a preference, but I'm wondering about boiled linseed oil and Denatured alcohol. I put medical marijuana in the title to attract attention.

    i'm open to suggestions. But I don't want to use anything like TSP.

    Also, if I use vinegar, do I need to rinse it afterwards?
    There is/was a tag ad at thread bottom for hemp medical cards. World is doomed.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

    First try soap and water.
    Rinse & dry.

    Jeff

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

    Bummer man. You have to understand that with an emulsional issue that there will be a lot of conflicted opinions. The grass roots of the problem are in the weed. If you have stone ballast, it is hard to get between the crack, so... Vinegar is acid, and acid may help explain the marijuana idea 'cause it isn't much of a detergent. Anybody hungry?
    Quote Originally Posted by Dody View Post
    Actually, now that you mention it: when I was in Madeira the guy in the berth next to me had a Swan (Swedish-built FRP sailing-boat). We were both preparing to sail to the Azores, one of his most important tasks was to chuck water and dishwashing-liquid into his bilge for the voyage, so the movement of the sea would nicely slosh it around and upon arrival he only has to pump it out and has a clean bilge. He left 2 days earlier than me, so I couldn't watch what was coming out. But when we met up in Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel/Azores) his bilge was spotless .
    I'm thinking that with old gunk and a wooden boat that it would take more than a few dishwater treatments to get it clean.

    I used to have to 'analyze' commercial ship bilge water for bacteria. It was about a liter of raw sewage with 2 fingers of black oil on top and smelled like an outhouse. So you have a cleaner bilge than they did, which is good. On the other hand, if vinegar will smell better than what you have...

    I am suspicious of the bilge bug cleaners. (the link is the first example googled. The line that caught my attention was "after he explained how they worked it sounded unbelievable. ") I still don't believe it. Hopefully they have improved since the 80s, but I'm not optimistic. I have looked at a number of oil eating bacteria concoctions for cleaning bilges in an aluminum amtrack. (I didn't get paid to call the garbage garbage until I tested it. Without a lab, go figure.) As far as I could tell, they had a detergent that was able to spoof the test for oil in water. You can't chemically convert that much oil into CO2 without any bubbles or heat. There was no heat and it didn't bubble. We just tried everything at West Marine and if one of them worked, no one could remember what they used last, so they just kept dumping random bilge cleaners in there and hoped for the best.

    So the detergent was more than half serious. You can't get dirt out with plain water if there is oil holding it in place. The detergent emulsifies the oil and frees up the dirt. So if you haven't realized that this post is useless yet and are inexplicably still reading, try this: http://www.thehulltruth.com/boating-...e-cleaner.html
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

    To answer any questions:

    1) I don't know what the dirt consists of. I think it's a combination of things (50 year-old-boat, my second year with it), that include cuprinol, bilge-water, perhaps dust, sawdust, other organic matter. I know the previous owner liked to treat it with cuprinol yearly, but not in recent years.

    2) I did run across Linseed oil soap, which sounds like good stuff, and I'm going to get my hands on some.

    3) there is no diesel oil present, as this boat has a gasoline outboard

    4) I'm still wondering if anyone ever uses vinegar, but so far no response

    5) I'm not in a hurry about this. I was going to treat the inside of the boat with BLO/Turp/Pine tar, but the amount of dirt there makes me think that I will just be plastering the dirt to the wood. On the other hand, maybe the boat soup will PASS THROUGH the dirt and into the wood, except for certain amount that gets left in the surface. That's what I was thinking/hoping. That way I can just treat the wood and deal with the dirt another time. (rather be sailing right now)

    thanks for the help

    Josh

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

    Just wash it out with detergent and water.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

    Anybody ever try Murphy Oil Soap? I know it cuts pretty tough kitchen grease. Plus, it smells good.
    "near it, a small whale-boat, painted red and blue, the delight of the king's old age."

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

    OK, a straight answer this time.

    Vinegar is not all that it is cracked up to be. https://www.keeperofthehome.org/vine...atural-cleaner

    Linseed oil soap isn't good in hard, let alone sea water. Chicago is almost as far from the ocean as I am in Chisago (sic) but you may still have hard water. This is from a green cleaner web site discussing linseed oil soap: "If you have hard water, you might turn to using an all-purpose detergent such as Murphy’s Oil Soap"

    The link I posted before had one post that suggested mixing bleach with simple green and the poster completely failed to kill himself. I know a guy who rescued a friend who used bleach and ammonia in his bilge. He barely made it up to the deck and was lucky to get to the hospital in time. Bleach can be a nasty surprise.

    Basically, you need a strong detergent and shouldn't dump it in the lake. Is the Chicago River clean enough to get dirty?
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

    Why not TSP?
    I like that stuff, It is an excellent prep for paint.
    You can mix this in any strength you want, from paint stripper to an FDA approved food additive.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trisodium_phosphate

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

    As the others have said, detergent and warm water is what you need. A good brush will help. I understand you wanting to stay on the "green side" but it's unnecessary. Anything that comes out of your bilge is to be treated as toxic waste anyway. You can not dump it in the lake just because you used some chelating agent or tenside that also occurs in nature. After all you would not dump straight cuprinol either.

    Go buy a good brush (made out of natural roots if you want to be green) and start scrubbing with your favorite detergent. The harsher the soap the better it will work.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

    Dawn dishwashing soap-
    It the soap of choice for every professional crew I know. It was at one time the choice to clean birds that had been caught in bird spills.

    Other questions-
    What size boat are you cleaning? The scale of the project and the amount of discharge would effect your choice.
    Are you pumping the residue overboard? If so are you in an inland waterway or Marina? If you are then pumping overboard is probably not a good idea.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

    These laws about not pumping overboard. What about all those billions of litres of road runoff that drain into rivers, lakes and oceans every time it rains.? Laden with engine oil, exhaust deposits, brake dust, tyre rubber and who knows what else? And a few pleasure boats pumping a gallon or so of dirty bilge water are rally going to make a difference? And what about when you use the boat, or the boat is just sitting in its berth, and the bilge pump cycles on? Crazy bloody anti boat restrictions.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    These laws about not pumping overboard. What about all those billions of litres of road runoff that drain into rivers, lakes and oceans every time it rains.? Laden with engine oil, exhaust deposits, brake dust, tyre rubber and who knows what else? And a few pleasure boats pumping a gallon or so of dirty bilge water are rally going to make a difference? And what about when you use the boat, or the boat is just sitting in its berth, and the bilge pump cycles on? Crazy bloody anti boat restrictions.
    Quite simple. The road run off is invisible. Some lady, who loves motoring, could whilst walking see a boat pump out dark water. And polluters that can be seen must be stopped. Our invisible pollution doesn't count against the environment or against our souls.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

    If you have a lot of oil stain sludge, a product I have used, with great success, is CMT saw and router bit Pitch and Gum Remover. It comes in concentrated form so, it can be cut with warm water to make several gallons of bilge cleaner. It cuts grease like magic! It will even remover ball point pen ink from a white T shirt! Happily, it is non toxic as well! As a result you can pump your bilge water overboard with no fear of endangering the environment or getting busted for doing what you are not doing with the CMT.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 07-30-2017 at 08:58 PM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

    As mentioned, the three products of choice are TSP, Dawn dishwashing soap, and Simple Green soap.

    Trisodium phosphate will cause the ecologically sensitive to have conniption fits because it enriches water so that algae growth can be accelerated, leading to oxygen depletion in the water. Odds are you won't be using enough TSP to make much of a difference, though. TSP is better at cutting grease than anything else, short of various solvents.

    Dawn soap is great stuff, but, unlike TSP, it will bubble up like nobody's business and if you pump it into the water, everybody will know it, which may or may not be a big deal, depending on the craziness quotient in your neighborhood. With Dawn, you will have to deal with the "fragrance" residue, with may or may not be to your liking.

    Simple Green has the advantage of allowing you to use it anywhere from full strength to any level of dilution in water. It has a fragrance which I find un-obnoxious. It works rather well. It will bleach bare wood to some extent, depending on the strength. It's supposedly "green." I've customarily dumped a bit in wet bilges after pumping and just let it live there and slosh around until the bilge is pumped again. It seems to keep bilges clean and sweet-smelling that way. Of course, a dry bilge that only needs a vacuuming out now and again is the best of all possible worlds, but even the driest bilge needs a good scrub now and again.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Clean bilge with? Vinegar? BLO? DA? Medical marijuana??

    Don't forget what happened when Farley Mowat cleaned the gurry out of his boat's bilge.

    Hope the voyage is a long one.
    May there be many a summer morning when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you come into harbors seen for the first time...

    Ithaka, by Cavafy
    (Keeley - Sherrard translation)

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