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jjt23

Acid Based Hull Cleaners on Fiberglass

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jjt23

Do acid based hull cleaners like - Star Brite Instant Hull Cleaner (oxalic acid) - https://www.amazon.com/Star-brite-Instant-Hull-Cleaner/dp/B00EXIVUFO/ hurt fiberglass boats?  We upgraded to a 2014 Axis T22 last fall and I want to keep it as clean as possible.  Unfortunately the lakes here in Iowa are pretty muddy and not super clean.  We always used an acid based cleaner on our previous fiberglass ski boat which worked great to remove stains on the hull before waxing.  Wondering if there are any negatives to using these cleaners?  Thanks!

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Falko

I've used "The Works" toilet bowl cleaner mixed down to 10% HCl on my boats over the past 15 years. Never had an issue and wash them with it twice a year. Only thing you have to be careful of is the trailer. It takes the wax right off as well.

 

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malibu2004

We use tub and tile cleaner from the grocery store. My boat stays in the water all summer. I spray that stuff on and take a soft hand mitt and wash it. All the water muck comes right off. 

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minnmarker

I use muriatic acid right out of the jug. It works fast and I wash it off fast. Don't let it sit on anything metal for more than a few seconds.  Gloves and safety glasses recommend.

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jjackkrash

FSR (Fiberglass Stain Remover, i.e., gelled "oxalic acid") eats organic compounds and won't hurt the gel.  WestMarine product.  

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jjt23

Thanks guys.  So acid does NOT hurt the gelcoat in any well?  I didn't know if over time it would thin it out, fade it or anything.

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51 minutes ago, jjt23 said:

Thanks guys.  So acid does NOT hurt the gelcoat in any well?  I didn't know if over time it would thin it out, fade it or anything.

NOT all acids no. There are plenty of acids that will hurt your gelcoat. As @jjackkrash points out Oxalic Acid is made to react with organic materials and not fiberglass/gel, so its safe. Your best bet is to get the stains off with acid once and then apply a polish/wax and after each outing re-apply a light cleaner and wax. Plenty of spray on/wipe off products that will do this well.

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electricjohn

I use (past TMC member) Tony's homemade Tonic annually.   It is a mix of equal parts of Lysol toilet bowl cleaner, the one with 9.5% HCL, and hydrogen peroxide.  Works great on my 14 year old Malibu which still looks like new even though boat sits in the lake from May 1st to mid October.  I also use it on my 1970 Winner which spends summers (47 of them) in salt water.  No visible side effects on either boat.  It will take wax off too, so you need to re-wax.  A forum search should bring Tony's Tonic up.

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obski
2 hours ago, electricjohn said:

I use (past TMC member) Tony's homemade Tonic annually.   It is a mix of equal parts of Lysol toilet bowl cleaner, the one with 9.5% HCL, and hydrogen peroxide.  Works great on my 14 year old Malibu which still looks like new even though boat sits in the lake from May 1st to mid October.  I also use it on my 1970 Winner which spends summers (47 of them) in salt water.  No visible side effects on either boat.  It will take wax off too, so you need to re-wax.  A forum search should bring Tony's Tonic up.

Tony's Topical Toilet Tonic works great on Willamette River muck.

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Bill_AirJunky

I've used Starbrites bull cleaner for years & had good luck. Great on gelcoat, no big deal on the trailer. But nasty stuff on your skin.

The marina uses muratic acid, after covering the trailer with plastic beforehand. The stuff is highly corrosive though. 

Last year I tried this..... Slimey Grimey...... Just mix it in a bucket with water & soap. Slosh it around on the boat with a car wash sponge-on-a-stick. Rinse & repeat as necessary. The boat was clean in minutes. Supposed to be less toxic than the other stuff.

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sunvalleylaw

Can  I ask you guys using the Starbrite (EZ On/EZ OFF), how you like to apply it?  Something like a pesticide sprayer?  Do you lift your boat off the trailer bunks?  

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saxton15

Buy some cheap spray bottles from the dollar store and go at it.  

I usually get as close to the bunks as possible.  Before I get it out for the year, I make sure to go to a beach and give the bunk lines a good scrub.  

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jjt23

Sounds like I will stick with Star Brite Instant Hull Cleaner (oxalic acid) this year.  Now for wax recommendations.  What is everyone's favorite wax?  Do you apply it by hand or use an electric buffer?

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sunvalleylaw

There are many wax recommendations here on the forum.  Search and you will find threads with many people's favorites.  My prior owner kept my boat nicely waxed up.  I think he just used his decent car "waxes".  I plan on using Star Brite PTEF Marine polish, followed by Griot's garage poly, and either 303 marine protectant or Star Brite Speed Detailer and Boat Guard for the vinyl, etc.  Probably will go with 303 there. There are a lot of threads, but here is the one I was using where folks chime in on some good options.  I bought my boat last August, so am figuring all the same stuff out. 

I like the idea of the Star Brite PTEF polish because it has some sun protectant in it, and following up with the Griot's Garage Poly because that seems to work well as a finishing touch and I will be using that on the cars also so no need for a separate product.  

Here is what I read to decide I was going to use the Griot's poly.  

 

Edited by sunvalleylaw

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sunvalleylaw

Oh, and I think I will get use some Griot's Speed Shine https://www.griotsgarage.com/category/wash+detail/detailers+liquids.do  As an in between measure on the fiberglass between applications of the Poly, as I will do with my cars.  Gets a good review on boats over at the Mastercraft forum too. 

Edited by sunvalleylaw

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Steve B.

On my older Malibu I use oxalic direct. Even outdoors with wind, use a fan to get you fresh air. Use eye and skin protection !!!  Dont let kids or animals around and dilute the heck out of whatever comes off the boat onto the ground.

I saw a neighbors dog sniff around the residue as they were taking their dog our for a walk the first time I did this. I about freaked out.

It works like magic but I consider extremely dangerous.

Steve B.

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Fffrank
5 hours ago, saxton15 said:

Buy some cheap spray bottles from the dollar store and go at it.  

 

I've had horrible luck using garden sprayers or dollar store sprayers for more than one use.  The acid eats the rubber parts and when you pick it up to use a few weeks later they are junk.  You can buy special "checmical resistant" sprayers on Amazon or at a farm store.  They are a few bucks more but don't degrade after one use.

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Michigan boarder
2 hours ago, Fffrank said:

 

I've had horrible luck using garden sprayers or dollar store sprayers for more than one use.  The acid eats the rubber parts and when you pick it up to use a few weeks later they are junk.  You can buy special "checmical resistant" sprayers on Amazon or at a farm store.  They are a few bucks more but don't degrade after one use.

...or halfway thru the first use!

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sunvalleylaw
5 hours ago, Fffrank said:

 

I've had horrible luck using garden sprayers or dollar store sprayers for more than one use.  The acid eats the rubber parts and when you pick it up to use a few weeks later they are junk.  You can buy special "checmical resistant" sprayers on Amazon or at a farm store.  They are a few bucks more but don't degrade after one use.

Ok, I'll spend the extra couple bucks and get a chemical resistant one.  I would hate to kill the one my wife uses on the yard.

 

 

(I'm the mow and blow guy. ;)  ) 

Edited by sunvalleylaw

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jbower

I acid wash probably easily  125 pontoons in the fall with a ace garden pump sprayer. Just have to rinse it out good when your done

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Bill_AirJunky
3 hours ago, jbower said:

I acid wash probably easily  125 pontoons in the fall with a ace garden pump sprayer. Just have to rinse it out good when your done

So what is the result of acid washing the aluminum toons?

We strictly avoid it, thinking the customer will not like the finish. So we just pressure wash them. But that leaves a water line with a nicer finish above the water line. And really bright, shiney spots where their bumpers hang. So thats not good either.

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minnmarker
4 hours ago, jbower said:

I acid wash probably easily  125 pontoons in the fall with a ace garden pump sprayer. Just have to rinse it out good when your done

What kind of acid do you use?  When I did a test spot on the inside of a pontoon it made a terrible looking stain mark.

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jbower

Strictly works toilet bowl cleaner and a very high pressure washer. I only will get out the Muratic acid on fiberglass boats. We are also talking about a lot of pontoons that sit in the water each and every year so not 100% of the crap comes off 

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