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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    1,224

    Default Home-made Bilge Cleaner

    As far as I know bilge cleaner is just detergent with a deoderiser sold expensively to boaters. Does anyone have a recipe for a good bilge cleaner using inexpensive ingredients?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Posts
    11,614

    Default Re: Home-made Bilge Cleaner

    [ QUOTE ]
    Does anyone have a recipe for a good bilge cleaner using inexpensive ingredients?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I don't know about 'recipes' but this is what I use: Dishwashing liquid bought 'in bulk' , i.e. in a 5-litre plastic jerry can from a discount store. It's good enough to clean baked-on residue from a roast pan; more than good enough to clean bilges!

    I couldn't make it 'cheaper' if I tried [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
    Should we paint what is on a face, what is inside it, or what is behind it?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Home-made Bilge Cleaner

    It depends on the kind of bilge 'dirt' doesn't it?
    'Oily' is different for example.

    If it is just water you could try the dishwashing liquid suggested above. Household bleach will also work in some cases, it will disinfect and deodorize.
    Another good product is the toilet cleaning liquid.
    I've tried all of them and they all work.

    The only specific boater's bilge cleaner I've bought is the degreasing kind when I refitted my motor and wanted to eradicate all oily traces from the engine bilge. Expensive but well worth it!
    Beware of more sail than ballast

  4. #4
    Anonymous Guest

    Default Re: Home-made Bilge Cleaner

    I use cheap washing-up liquid and very warm water, which makes a huge difference just as it does in the washing-up bowl!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Posts
    11,614

    Default Re: Home-made Bilge Cleaner

    [ QUOTE ]
    It depends on the kind of bilge 'dirt' doesn't it?
    'Oily' is different for example.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    I am by no means a chemist but one of the thing that I do remember - from back in the late 50's early 60's - is that to 'mix' oil and water you only need to add soap.

    The detergent 'breaks up' the oil and forms an emulsion.

    Dishwashing liquid, (not to be confused with the mild 'fairy liquid' type), is strong enough to break up any oil. IF there is any residue left, then I would simply scrub with a powder that is used for dishwashers (as in dishwashing machines) using a good pair of gloves. This detergent can even eat away the printed decorations on glassware if the temperature is high enough!
    Should we paint what is on a face, what is inside it, or what is behind it?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Home-made Bilge Cleaner

    I've used this stuff:



    http://www.camskill.co.uk/products.p...=m1b90s27p1450

    It seems to stink of white spirit. Would that be a cheap solution?

    (Good for cleaning woodwork of greasy stuff around the cooker too.)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Posts
    11,614

    Default Re: Home-made Bilge Cleaner

    [ QUOTE ]
    I've used this stuff:

    [iWould that be a cheap solution?



    [/ QUOTE ]


    <span style="color:red">OUR PRICE 3.99
    *5.87 approx </span>

    I don't think so! That's more or less what I pay for 5-litres of dishwashing detergent and, cost of living here is not exactly what one would call 'low'. You're paying that for only 500ml!

    I realise that prices do vary from one country to another. Have a look around the detergent section of your local supermarket. Here there are outlets that only sell detergents; probably there are similar in your part of the world.
    Should we paint what is on a face, what is inside it, or what is behind it?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Home-made Bilge Cleaner

    Read my post again - I'm suggesting using white spirit while asking if that's a good idea.

    Anyway, how much is your time worth? I'd rather blow ten quid on several cans than spend an extra hour or two scrubbing a greasy engine. But white spirit is cheap isn't it? Though there's the question of adequate ventialtion. You need lots of disposable rags (or old shirts) too.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Posts
    11,614

    Default Re: Home-made Bilge Cleaner

    [ QUOTE ]
    Read my post again - I'm suggesting using white spirit while asking if that's a good idea.

    But white spirit is cheap isn't it? Though there's the question of adequate ventialtion. You need lots of disposable rags (or old shirts) too.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    White spirit would dilute the oil and not break it. It's what is used to thin paints, as you probably know. Which means that it is not equivalent to a detergent.

    Even if the price were to be considered 'low' (I forget how much I pay for 2,5 litre; certainly not more than 5 euro), the main problem is with the fumes. It is highly volatile as it is; imagine when the outside air temperature is around 30 Celsius! It is not something that I would willingly breathe; and then there is the fire hazard.

    The time that I have left for me to enjoy my boat is far too valuable for me to put at risk breating VOC's in a confined space: that is why I use a detergent.
    Should we paint what is on a face, what is inside it, or what is behind it?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Home-made Bilge Cleaner

    Fair enough. But it begs the question that if white spirit is not Gunk's main contituent because it's not the best thing to clean grease with, then what is Gunk made of? And is it cheaper to buy that?

    I'm going to be having to do exactly this job myself in a few weeks. I have two engines in very innaccesible places. I think I'll use both approaches depending on how dirty / accessible the particular area is. If I use something petrochemical based I'll have the bilge blower left switched on and the all the windows wide open! I might even get a fan in.

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