How to Use Marine Cleaning Chemicals Safely

Posted on

Your boat is doubtless your pride and joy, so you want to do as much as possible to keep it looking its best. That means that you’ll want to invest in the best quality marine cleaning chemicals possible to make sure your boat is properly taken care of.

The issue, however, is that effective marine cleaning agents are often quite potent in terms of the strength of the chemicals they’re made up of. In a way, this is a good thing because it means your boat benefits from a deeper and more lasting clean; but it’s also essential that you take the necessary time and care to make sure you’re using them properly.

You may think that it’s fairly innocuous stuff, but it pays to be cautious; one sniff of most marine cleaning chemicals will tell you everything you need to know about the precautions you should take when handling them. When used correctly, they’re going to give your boat a beautiful shine and deep clean that you can be proud of, but accidents can happen when you’re not prepared.

 Man_Washing_Boat

The Right Precautions

Before you even begin, you need to establish where exactly you’re going to clean your boat. People choose to do this in different places, whether it’s in a storage shed, in dry dock, or even when the boat is moored in the harbour. It’s up to you to choose where you feel most comfortable, but wherever you choose to start cleaning, make sure that your boat is as flat and stable as possible to give you the right working surface.

Ventilation is also key; it’s best to do any cleaning outside, on a dry day with a decent breeze. Not only will this prevent you from breathing in the chemicals, but it should also help the boat dry quicker. If you’re going to use any chemicals indoors, make sure all doors and windows are as wide open as possible and that you use some form of ventilation system – properly placed fans can be very effective.

Make sure that you also wear the appropriate safety equipment when you’re dealing with marine cleaning chemicals. That doesn’t mean you need to wear a full-on radiation suit every time you scrub down the deck, but proper hand and eye protection are a must. These chemicals can at best cause uncomfortable irritation and at worst are corrosive, so keep them away from your skin and eyes as much as you can. 

Doing the Job Right

It’s such a simple thing, but so many people neglect to do it that it bears saying as much as possible; when you’re using the chemicals in question, make sure that you read and thoroughly understand the directions on the label before you even unfasten the container. You may think that floor cleaner is just floor cleaner, but you’d be surprised at what vital information you could overlook.

Also make sure you get your mix right. If you don’t use enough of the concentrated chemical, you’re not going to get a very thorough clean at all. However, if you use too much, you might leave unpleasant residues, nausea-inducing smells and at worst, it may cause corrosion. Please also remember that chemicals should not be mixed without a thorough understanding of the results; for example, adding chemicals to bleach products will cause chlorine to be given off.

When You’re Done

After you’ve finished cleaning, make sure that you finish the job right by securely storing away any left-over or unused chemicals. Invest in a cabinet or designate a cupboard space specifically for marine cleaning chemicals, where they will be safe from children, and where they won’t be disturbed by temperature shifts or sudden impacts.

You should also never store anything in an unlabelled bottle. You may know what’s in there initially, but by the time you need it again, you could well have forgotten what you did with it. And remember that owning a boat often means having visitors on board; unless the container is clearly labelled, they will have no idea what’s in there. It’s better to be safe than sorry.