Clean That Filthy Bilge!

When we first purchased Summer Dance, the bilge compartment where the anchor, its chain, and rode (rope) were stowed was badly stained. The gear had been put away drenched with sea water and allowed to rust down there. The anchor was encrusted with barnacles and some of the galvanizing had been eaten away to the bare metal, which also rusted. The chain links were rusted nearly into a solid mass. And the rode, besides its metal thimble being equally rusted, had soaked up rusty water and acted as a sponge to keep things rusting.

BEFORE - A smelly mess!
BEFORE – A smelly mess!

Better than Naval Jelly

I chose to use a product called Fiberglass Stain Remover that was recommended on several online forums. I applied numerous coats to the bilge stain according to the directions on the container. I sponged up the used gel and rinsed with clean water between coats. I also scrubbed with a Scotch-Brite pad, which seemed to help. The gel worked best where rusty water stained areas that weren’t in prolonged contact with the rusted metal. It took an afternoon, but I cleaned other areas in the cabin at the same time. I still have about half of the FSR left over for other jobs.

The stain isn’t 100% gone, but it’s much better. I could now paint the compartment and expect good results, but I’m not going to that extent. The other bilge compartments that only had extensive mildew growth, including the underside of the inner hull liner, I sprayed with a 50% solution of bleach and water. After about 15 minutes, the mildew had disappeared and the surfaces were as clean as could be.

Restoration of the anchor, chain, and rode are described in  How to Maintain an Anchor and Rode.

The Bottom Line

Suggested price: n/a
$tingy Sailor cost: $12.99
Savings: n/a

Is your bilge a nightmare?


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