Home Boat Maintenance Cleaning Waxing

Cleaning Waxing

Mildew-resistant Caulks for Boats

We recently tested shear strength of many caulks on many different materials and delivered a few tentative recommendations (See Marine Sealant Adhesion Tests, December 2016). Here is the two-year follow-up focusing on resistance to weathering, dirt, and mildew, as well as the ability to maintain a good bond above the waterline when flexed. This is one of nearly a dozen similar tests that weve done in recent years. Be sure to see the online version of this article for links to previous reports covering other key characteristics (underwater bonding, sealing teak decks, sealing hatch glazing, etc.).

Getting Rid of Impossible Bird Poop Stains

I honestly hope you can help. Several weeks ago local seagulls had a sushi feast on my boat. The leftovers were large and small and mostly on non-skid. When I got to the boat I cleaned up whatever I could pick up, but the sun-baked stains remained. Ive tried whatever I possibly could including Barkeepers Friend and Total Boat White Knight. They both have oxalic acid as main ingredient. It stayed there for 30-40 minutes, I didnt touch it. Next I got oxalic acid as powder and made my own very strong mix. Again, no major effect. Next, In desperation, I broke out 3000 PSI power washer, which again didnt remove the stains. My marine biologist friend said to try Draino.

Boat Spring Cleaning

We frequently receive suggestions for new cleaners from our readers. Here are a few suggested products that came over the transom that we havent reported on before.

A Generic Approach to Specific Stains

For general deck cleaning, unless there is a specific stain, always start with a relatively mild, biodegradeable surfactant. Not strong enough to remove wax or corrode metal, but enough to loosen what the birds left, hard water spots, and atmospheric dirt. One possible remedy is a little spot cleaning with biodegradable laundry detergent. Today, most detergents are biodegradable.

The One-Bucket Cleaning Kit

Bright, shiny and new looking. That was what we wanted when were shopping for our dream boat, and that is the impression our new-used PDQ catamaran gave. What was behind that spit-shine on a used boat? Besides the obvious hours of labor by the previous owner, it took two baskets of cleaning products, all stuffed in the stern lockers.

Making an Anodized Mast Look Like New

Have you done any research on the best means of cleaning an aluminum mast? Im having other work done to mine and thought it would be a good time for a cleaning.

Spiffy Teak Tips for the Penny Pincher

Most teak cleaners don't just clean; they also remove weathered woods surface fibers and expose new wood. As much as 0.010 inches of surface teak can be removed in a single cleaning when using some common teak-cleaning products. Regularly cleaning with these products will shorten a teak decks life. Some also contain strong alkalis that can harm paint, caulk, and aluminum.

Long-term Testing Clear Vinyl

Our long-term test of clear vinyl and clear-vinyl treatments includes environmental outdoor tests with controls, as well as some real-world testing on one of our test boats.

Treating Vinyl for Long Life

Vinyl protection is about the long run. In the Practical Sailor January 2014 issue, we reported on the performance of a host of clear-vinyl waxes and cleaners, as well as several different clear-vinyl window materials, after testing them for four months on panels. This report is the two-year update on the long-term test of those products, and already the first failures have appeared.

Cleaning the Holding Tank

Weve noticed an odor and a buildup of caked-on solids in the holding tank. My thought is to fill the holding tank with fresh water and the right additive, then let that slosh around underway, and then pump it out. What do you suggest for an additive?