Bilge Cleaner

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Veteran Member
Jan 24, 2014
Vessel Name
Cady Girl
Vessel Make
Californian, Seaswirl, Brig, all others sold.
Need suggestions on a good bilge detergent. I am trying to clean green stains from sea water, rust, and oil stains on a painted bilge. These stains go back to the PO so they have been there for a while. I already handled the oil leaks. I tried an expensive concentrated yellow goo that smelled like the bathroom detergent at my elementary school. Stank and didn't do the job.
Simple green didn't cut it.
Salt and Baking Soda?
Recommendations? Thanks, Don
I use either Extreme Simple Green or POR15 degreaser. I also have a small steamer that works well for oily things. I steam it and at the same time use a shop vac to suck it up. You may have to clean it as good as possible and then repaint it.
TSP powder cleaner.

Great for pre paint prep.


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Thank you
Careful of what you use , dont want anything caustic that could corrode fittings and wires
Last year, I cleaned an oily bilge with Dawn Powerwash and Mary Kate Big Bully Bilge Cleaner. I put the bilge cleaner in a spray bottle. Sprayed with both Dawn and bilge cleaner. Scrubbed with small scrub brush. Wiped up messy stuff with absorbent pads. Sprayed with water to rinse as it got clean.

Rubber or vinyl gloves, dedicated bilge shoes and clothes. A long job over the course of days, but very much worth it.

My main point is to try the least abrasive and toxic cleaners first. You might be pleasantly surprised. On prior projects on other boats, I'd used some kind of degreaser in a purple spray bottle, but it was kind of nasty. The Dawn and bilge cleaner worked just as well and were much more pleasant to use.
If preparing to paint, abrasive and harsh aren't necessarily bad things if you keep it only on the glass and not machinery, appliances, wiring, plumbing, etc
I like to pour about a cup of "orange bilge cleaner" in both sides of the engine room bilge right where the shaft logs are. The leaks from the shaft glands start there and the cleaner runs forward to the front bilge pump which always kicks first. Keeps things smelling nice down there.
On a painted bilge I would do TSP (not too strong to not damage the paint) and then Mr Clean erasers for any remaining stains.

But the best answer would be strong TSP followed by fresh paint. It will look great!
There are many chemical products that can remove rust, mostly made from phosphoric or oxalic acid and are harmful to the skin. That's why it's important to take precautions before using chemical rust removers to treat rust.
Yes, a painted surface. I have looked a these recommendations. All seem to be good ideas. Now I just need a window to do some bilge rat fun! Thanks again.
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