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Old 08-08-2012, 06:57 AM   #1
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"The Works" Toilet bowl cleaner

So, I have had this beard stain on the bow of my Hull from the water lapping up on my boat. I tried a few things, CSR, scrubbing, scrubbing and more scrubbing. After doing about an hour of research on the net, I found a few people that use "the works" toilet bowl cleaner from your local grocery store. As soon as I squirted this stuff on, the "beard" stain melted away.

Anyone else have this experience, is it OK to clean all of the Hull with this product? or will it start to do damage to the fiberglass?

For $2.00, the stuff is amazing. It did what 20 dollar supposed boat cleaners couldn't do.
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:34 AM   #2
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When I had a trawler, I used Tidy Bowl for cleaning the mustache off the bow. Worked great. Probably similar formula.
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:45 AM   #3
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Yes...after the "ditch" bringing my boat up from Florida I had the classic brown stain.

I had read The Works "really works"...and it does. It didn't harm my "older" antique finish gel coat ...but it didn't seem to hurt the shiney gel either...I rinsed quickly.

If you read the label it's just a REALLY strong common chemical in a lot of other more expensive cleaners. Look at the active ingredient and you probably could by just the raw chemical for a few bucks a 55 gallon drum...but at $1.00 or two a bottle I was satisfied...

The stuff is very caustic and care should be used when squirting it around. I bought a cheap mop with a long handle and applied it that way...squirted it straight on the sponge and wiped away the satins...did my whole boat and she looked new again. Be ready to toss the mop...mine disintegrated within the hour oof finishing my boat...the stuff is ugly...but works..
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Old 08-08-2012, 10:15 AM   #4
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It's not really a secret that a mild acid is the best (and really only) way to remove these organic stains from gelcoat. Starbrite Hull Cleaner contains oxalic acid as it's primary active ingredient. Some of the other hull cleaners use muriatic acid.

I am not a big fan of using toilet bowl cleaners on fiberglass or gelcoat unless they are labbeled as safe for such. Toilet bowls are typically porcelain which is harder and less porous than gelcoat.

Marine hull cleaners are the safest products to use, but hardware stores and home centers have deck cleaning products that are labelled for use on fiberglass.

It's best to start with the least agressive or weakest product and move up until you get the desired results. I use a deck cleaning product containing oxalic acid but I dilute it more than the recommended ratio for decks. It works.

If it's "eating" your applicator, it's stronger than it needs to be to clean a boat.
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:11 AM   #5
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Staright from the MSDS

Mary Kate Hull Cleaner- Boat Store Price - $14.99
Active Ingedients - Hydrocloric Acid 20-25% , Phosphoric Acid 5-10%, Oxilic Acid 1-5%

The Works - Dollar Store price - $1.00
Active ingedient - Hydrocloric Acid 20%

It pays to be a smart shopper and pay some attention to forum posters who do their homework and get smart....ya just gotta be smart enough to know and follow up.

The works is JUST ABOUT THE SAME THING professional detailers and marinas use to clean your hull...the only difference is the price..so you tell me...which one would you use?

and it really WORKS!!!!!
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:31 AM   #6
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so you tell me...which one would you use?

I would use the one the wife tells me to use. I ain't no dummy.
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Old 08-08-2012, 12:58 PM   #7
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1) I would rather have a dirty hull than damage it trying to clean it.

2) "Professionals" may use a product that lets them do the job more quickly or with a higher profit level even though it may not be the best product in the long run. The professional does not own your boat and won't be around years from now when damage becomes evident.

I stand by my suggestion to use the least agressive product that will get the job done.
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Old 08-08-2012, 01:30 PM   #8
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It's not really a secret that a mild acid is the best (and really only) way to remove these organic stains from gelcoat. IT WORKs is a mild acid Starbrite Hull Cleaner contains oxalic acid as it's primary active ingredient. Some of the other hull cleaners use muriatic acid.

I am not a big fan of using toilet bowl cleaners on fiberglass or gelcoat unless they are labbeled as safe for such. Just peel the label off a Marine Hull Cleaner and stick it on the IT WORKs bottle. Toilet bowls are typically porcelain which is harder and less porous than gelcoat.

Marine hull cleaners are the safest products to use, IT WORKS is even safer than a HIGHLY used marine product because it has less acid....but hardware stores and home centers have deck cleaning products that are labelled for use on fiberglass.

It's best to start with the least agressive or weakest product and move up until you get the desired results. I use a deck cleaning product containing oxalic acid but I dilute it more than the recommended ratio for decks. It works.

If it's "eating" your applicator, it's stronger than it needs to be to clean a boat.Only in some peoples opinion...
And just for the record...it's not my idea but one that was passed along on this or another forum last year sometime...and literally dozens of people chimed in with the same reasoned, well thought out discussion that it worked, seemed to be safe, was the same thing as "marine products" at a fraction of the cost....so be it....I just passed it along...

Ain't these forums fun and entertainment...
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Old 08-08-2012, 02:03 PM   #9
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Sno-Bowl toilet bowl cleaner works well too.
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Old 08-08-2012, 07:47 PM   #10
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Sno-Bowl toilet bowl cleaner works well too.

I've used Sno-Bol for years. Buy it at the Dollar Store. It also works great for rust stains around deck hardware. If you look at the mid point on the bottom of my Shamrock you can see a small tea colored area that I missed while spraying the hull with Sno-Bol.
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Old 08-08-2012, 10:33 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the replies. I feel confident that it won't do any damage to my hull. I am sure Sno Bol is probably the same chemical make up as "the Works". It's interesting that I hear a lot of people with real life experiences that are positive and 0 real life experiences that are negative. Enough said.

FYI, here is a pic (Blakely Island last weekend) before "the works" application. Can't believe that pic is ruined by that ugly beard. Thanks again!

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Old 08-09-2012, 06:40 AM   #12
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Thanks for all the replies. I feel confident that it won't do any damage to my hull. I am sure Sno Bol is probably the same chemical make up as "the Works". It's interesting that I hear a lot of people with real life experiences that are positive and 0 real life experiences that are negative. Enough said.

FYI, here is a pic (Blakely Island last weekend) before "the works" application. Can't believe that pic is ruined by that ugly beard. Thanks again!
Told you these forums are entertaining..

Send an after photo...I was amazed even at how white the "unstained" glass became....now remember my boat's PO probably hadn't waxed in years and using any of these cleaners will probably remove any wax/protective coating currently on there so the pores will quickly stain again.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:07 AM   #13
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That's where you get the Kid to do "wax on, wax off". Tell them it's "training" and they should be thankful you gave them this opportunity.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:09 AM   #14
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I was amazed even at how white the "unstained" glass became
I had forgotten about this! I did the same thing. You may wanna grab 4-5 more bottles so you can make the boat look uniform the first application. And as PS noted, be ready to do a quick wax job shortly after using whichever product you use.

Both of my Shamrock's had rust streaks on the stern that had been there for years and it was just the way things were,......until it ate those rust stains My boats looked 10 yrs younger for 1/2 hours work and virtually no elbow grease!
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:09 PM   #15
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We have used a couple of products. On/Off works well but is a bit strong for us. We use a product from Home Depot or Lowes called RustAid that just needs to be sprayed or wiped on and rinsed off. No scrubbing and the beard is gone. But it will return quickly unless the gelcoat is sealed. Chuck
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:29 AM   #16
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Adalaide--- Does your hull get this from just sitting in the water or is it the result of where you've been cruising? We have had the mustache form in the past if we've been cruising in waters with a high tanin content (I think tanin is the right term--- from trees mainly). In our case we remove it with household tub and tile cleaner.

But we've not noticed it form on any boats in our marina including ours from just being in the water. I wonder if the water going through La Conner has a higher content of whatever it is that causes these stains? Perhaps from the grass that borders so much of the length of the channel?
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:10 AM   #17
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Adalaide--- Does your hull get this from just sitting in the water or is it the result of where you've been cruising? We have had the mustache form in the past if we've been cruising in waters with a high tanin content (I think tanin is the right term--- from trees mainly). In our case we remove it with household tub and tile cleaner.

But we've not noticed it form on any boats in our marina including ours from just being in the water. I wonder if the water going through La Conner has a higher content of whatever it is that causes these stains? Perhaps from the grass that borders so much of the length of the channel?

Hello Marin, when we purchased the boat (in Poulsbo), the beard was on it. We used CSR initially to clean it (I thought it just covered it up), then it came back within 3 months. With that said, your thought is interesting..... La Conner is a staging ground for cedar logs being floated through Swinomish Channel. Could the bark from the Cedar trees, coupled with vegetation along the channel, contain enough Tannins to stain a hull? I'll take a look at other boats in my marina to see if it is a problem.
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:40 AM   #18
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Hello Marin, when we purchased the boat (in Poulsbo), the beard was on it. We used CSR initially to clean it (I thought it just covered it up), then it came back within 3 months. With that said, your thought is interesting..... La Conner is a staging ground for cedar logs being floated through Swinomish Channel. Could the bark from the Cedar trees, coupled with vegetation along the channel, contain enough Tannins to stain a hull? I'll take a look at other boats in my marina to see if it is a problem.
Adelaide, there are many things that will stain a hull, but tannin from tree bark definitely will. You may know this, but tree bark can be used in tanning leather. In the South many of our rivers are the color of tea from tannin. It will definitely stain hulls. Our area is where many horse saddles are made. We had a tannery on the outskirts of town that used oak bark for a tanning agent. The skins were soaked in big vats producing a terrible smell. We called it mule stew.

The high content of tannin or tannic acid in cypress, redwood, and western cedar trees make them very resistant to insect infestation. That is the main reason they live so long.
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:06 PM   #19
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If anyone has ever been up river from Ocean City, NJ, toward Mays Landing, the water in Lake Lanape (?) is tea colored. And I thought I was getting a dark tan from my swimming as a kid. And here I find out it was just a "beard" stain.
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:21 PM   #20
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Could the bark from the Cedar trees, coupled with vegetation along the channel, contain enough Tannins to stain a hull? I'll take a look at other boats in my marina to see if it is a problem.
The only direct experience I've had with this sort of thing has been on our flights up to SE Alaska. Many of the lakes we visit appear almost black from the air. And when you are on the water, while it is quite clear it's like looking through a piece of light brown glass. The reason, we were told on our first flight to the area in the mid-80s, is the high tannin content of the water from the almost solid mass of evergreens that surround the lakes up there, and from the streams that empty into the lakes. It apparently has no significant effect on the life in the lake---- the fishing has always been good and salmon and steelhead spawn in the outflow streams.

Of course we're only in one of these lakes for a few days at most so there is no discoloration on the floats from the tannin. But I would imagine that if one kept a boat or a plane in the water for a season it would definitely stain the hull.
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