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Boat Maintenance: How to Clean a Greasy Boat Bilge

Boat Maintenance - How to Clean a Greasy Boat Bilge

When you’re riding the waves and soaking up the sun on a good day, it’s easy to forget that your boat is a machine that requires constant care and attention from you. The truth is that you do have to engage in consistent boat maintenance if you want to hold on to it for longer. The boat bilge might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the things you need to clean on your boat, but it is in fact one of the dirtiest, smelliest, and nastiest places on board.

If you don’t know where the bilge on your boat is, just follow your nose.

Look for the deepest, darkest corner of your boat, where all the residue and water collect, and you will eventually find yourself in boat’s bilge. Here are just a few reasons why you should clean out your bilge right now:

  1. Banish the foul odor from your boat
  2. Prevent oxidation and corrosion of the metal equipment that lies on the bilge
  3. Prevent the growth of microorganisms

No boat is ever truly clean for as long as the bilge remains a stinky pit, so you have to make sure that the bilge is cleaned along with all the other areas of your boat. Cleaning your bilge is very much like cleaning the underbody of your car: you don’t see it often and it’s very dirty, but the job has to be done.

To clean grease from your bilge, you will have to purchase some heavy-duty bilge cleaning solutions.

Go for something that’s environmentally-friendly, as you don’t want to discharge too much oily, chemical-laden water after performing the cleanup process. Load up on elbow grease as well, as it will loosen the muck that is clinging to the bilge surface so you can scrub them away with a heavy-duty wash cloth, sponge or brush.

If your boat has taken in more water than usual, count yourself lucky because you don’t have to do a lot of work to clean the bilge. Just pour in the right amount of cleaning agent right into the water that has accumulated in the bilge, and let the rocking action of the boat take care of the surface deposits for you. Afterwards, turn on the bilge pump to dispose of the dirty water and you can then admire the newly-cleaned bilge.

Steam cleaning is also another option if you’re willing to go a little radical and more environmentally-friendly.

Instead of opting for chemical cleaning agents, you can use high-pressure steam to instantly blast away surface dirt and crud all around the bilge area. You will not need bilge water for this, so it’s a good idea to pump out the dirty water first before turning on the steam cleaning machine.
Whichever method you use, be sure to work carefully around the electrical wiring and other electrical components that crisscross your bilge. You don’t want to damage your boat in the process of cleaning it, do you?!

Schedule your boat detailing appointment with us,

or read some more tips – let’s say for boat cleaning and mold removal ;-)



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