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Properly cleaning out Mac 26X bilge?

Posted: Mon May 21, 2018 11:22 pm
by bobbob
Got my :macx: ready today to put in the water and noticed a lot of water in the bilge. There was also a little puddle at the back of my aft berth so I suspect it’s coming through the steering pedestal.

In the meantime, I’ve vacuumed out the water as best as I could, now I’m wondering what the best way to clean it further and inhibit any mildew from growing?

Re: Properly cleaning out Mac 26X bilge?

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 7:23 am
by Starscream
The battle on mold and mildew is a constant one.

Consider a sodium triphosphate solution (TSP) https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.tris ... 30976.html. Alternatively, if you want a pre-mixed sodium triphosphate solution, you can use a product like https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.mold ... 50815.html. More money for the same product, but they do claim a "secret" concentration that is better than home-mixing. (B.S., probably).
You don't want to get sodium triphosphate into your local lake or river, though, so it's best applied at home.

Chlorine dioxide is a good way to combat the growth of mold, and to fight the boat-smell:
Slow release system for storage:
https://www.freeportmarine.com/boat-sys ... -slow.html
They also sell a fast release Star Brite chlorine dioxide package, also called a "boat bomb", for a one-time high-concentration treatment.

I painted all accessible sections of the bilge, plus the underside of the hatches with this anti-mold paint: https://www.google.com/shopping/product ... gJTmPD_BwE.
Limited success in the bilges, where certain areas of the hull flex like crazy, so I did get some light flaking in certain places. But overall still way better than unpainted, and it worked very well on the underside of the hatches.

Be careful when using multiple cleaning products as they may be incompatible: bleach, when mixed with certain other products (like vinegar!), can create a toxic gas. Bleach, ammonia, TSP, and others all hide in certain cleaning products and you can easily mix up a dangerous concoction.

Those are some of the chemical solutions.
The alternative is active or passive ventilation in an attempt to keep the air fresh, but you can't win the battle on mold with ventilation alone. It helps to keep the bilges as dry as possible, which is a never-ending and unwinnable fight. There are dessicant products available to absorb moisture from the air which also help, but are only a part of the grand scheme. Unfortunately I believe you can't effectively combat mold without a chemical attack.

Re: Properly cleaning out Mac 26X bilge?

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 8:41 am
by Wayne nicol
i agree with star, the battle against mold is a constant one, we live in the PNW with very high humidity levels.
when not using the boat we run a dehumidifier in the boat.
you can get those little RV type dehumidifiers.

Re: Properly cleaning out Mac 26X bilge?

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 8:48 am
by Wayne nicol
IMO the boats are in desperate need of insulation, the condensation in the boat is the problem for me.
i store my boat under shelter now- so it stays very dry, and with the dehumidifier, i seem to have got a handle on things.

Re: Properly cleaning out Mac 26X bilge?

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 1:09 pm
by DaveC426913
Starscream wrote: Chlorine dioxide is a good way to combat the growth of mold, and to fight the boat-smell:
Slow release system for storage:
https://www.freeportmarine.com/boat-sys ... -slow.html
They also sell a fast release Star Brite chlorine dioxide package, also called a "boat bomb", for a one-time high-concentration treatment.
I'd prefer this solution to manual cleaning.

What do you do? Open a few packages and distribute them in the bilge?\

Most of the advice I read on West Marine's site suggests it's used for winter storage. Can it be used during normal summer use?
https://www.westmarine.com/buy/star-bri ... --12090288

There seems to be something about keeping it 18" away from metal. Am I OK to toss a few in the bilge?

Re: Properly cleaning out Mac 26X bilge?

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 2:27 pm
by bobbob
Thanks everyone. Actually I do use those Boat Bomb's at the beginning of every season. I'm thinking due to this water penetration I should probably be more aggressive than that though.

The issue I'm having is that any attempt to clean the bilge with liquid is difficult because of limited access points, and adds more liquid down there which is hard to clean up and potentially adds to the problem.

Maybe I'll set off a couple of boat bombs specifically in the bilge areas once they are dry.

Re: Properly cleaning out Mac 26X bilge?

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 7:06 pm
by Starscream
DaveC426913 wrote: I'd prefer this solution to manual cleaning.

What do you do? Open a few packages and distribute them in the bilge?\

Most of the advice I read on West Marine's site suggests it's used for winter storage. Can it be used during normal summer use?
https://www.westmarine.com/buy/star-bri ... --12090288

There seems to be something about keeping it 18" away from metal. Am I OK to toss a few in the bilge?
I use one in the bilge up front near the ballast tank vent all summer. They come in a vented plastic container so you just open the package that comes inside the container and put it back in with the perforated lid closed. When we are going on board, I hold my breath and go seal it up in a Ziplock and then ventilate before going back below.

With the slow-release system, you are supposed to ventilate for one hour before occupying the space. I wouldn't be on the boat when the fast-release system is used. They're basically the same product, the fast release just comes with a wettable sponge to saturate the chlorine dioxide packet and speed its distribution into the air.

You can't get away from manual cleaning in the war on mold. Start with plugging as many leaks into the bilge as possible, continue by using a big grouting sponge and 5 gallon bucket to periodically mop up the water in the various bilge areas, wearing plastic gloves of course, and then spray trisodium phospate (not sodium triphosphate as I originally posted, that's something else) throughought the bilge area, which you have painted with that mold resistant paint, of course. Then I'd go with the slow-release chlorine dioxide, which can be sealed up in a plastic zip-lock when you're on board, after the required ventilation period of course.

I didn't see anything about the metal warning in the user instructions, but I'll go have another look.

Re: Properly cleaning out Mac 26X bilge?

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 11:18 pm
by DaveC426913
Starscream wrote: With the slow-release system, you are supposed to ventilate for one hour before occupying the space.
Oh. OK. So not for normal use of the boat.

My normal use of the boat has me going from stepping aboard to casting off in 10 minutes or less.

On the other hand, if I'm single-handing, I only need to go below to switch on the power and nothing else, so not a big problem...