Bilge Cleaning: How to Clean Your Boat’s Bilge

One of the most important duties of boat owners is keeping the boat clean. In particular, it’s important to keep the bilge area free of excess water and dirt. Not cleaning the boat bilge often enough can lead to bacterial growth, a bad odor and rust. That’s why it’s a good idea to find out how to clean a boat’s bilge the right way.

Use a bilge cleaner to keep your boat’s bilge clean and odorless.

Buy a Biodegradable Bilge Cleaner

The ideal way to clean the bilge area is to buy a cleaner that’s made just for this purpose. The best bilge cleaner is biodegradable, which means it won’t harm the water that surrounds the boat once it’s used to clean the bilge. This is why it’s usually better to buy a bilge cleaner than try to make a similar product out of soap at home. Keep in mind that most bilge cleaners work well to clean other parts of the boat or even carpet and furniture inside the house, so they can serve multiple purposes. This is another reason it’s a good idea to buy bilge cleaner instead of making it at home.

Let the Bilge Cleaner Soak

The next step is to follow the instructions on the bilge cleaner. The usual recommendation is to let the cleaner soak for a while to ensure a clean bilge area. In most cases, it will take about two to three hours of soaking for the bilge cleaner to work best. This is especially helpful if there are any tough stains or spots that are hard to reach, since the longer the cleaner sits, the less scrubbing required to clean the bilge area.

Ensure that you’re using the best bilge cleaner by reading the label and checking to make sure it’s biodegradable.

Scrub the Bilge Area

Once the bilge cleaner has sat for a few hours, it’s time to scrub the area. An abrasive cloth or sponge is typically best for this job, particularly when there is a lot of dirt to scrub away from the surface of the bilge. Once the scrubbing is done, rinsing with clean water can help get rid of any other dirt or debris. Before moving on to this step, it may be helpful to park the boat at the top of a hill so any dirty water and bilge cleaner can easily drain out into the street rather than into the lake or ocean around the boat.

Boats on all different bodies of water will require their bilges to be cleaned. Cleaning the bilge area should be on your least of regular maintenance.

Remove Oil Correctly

Another important point to keep in mind is that most areas will fine boat owners who dump oil from the bilge into the water. And as most boat owners know, it’s not uncommon for a little oil to end up mixed with the water in the bilge of the boat. So if there’s oil in this area, it’s important to first note that using bilge cleaners can help by suspending the oil in the solution so it’s easier to remove it. At that point, it’s usually best to use a small hand bilge pump to transfer dirty, oily bilge water into a bucket and then dispose of it safely, not in the water.

Once a boat owner knows how to clean a boat’s bilge, it’s time to buy the right bilge cleaner degreaser. Gold Eagle is a great source for the products and equipment necessary to keep a boat clean and in good working order, so browse our selection today!

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  • Thanks for pointing out that proper oil removal is important to consider when it comes to boat cleaning services. I’m thinking about buying a used boat soon so I might stat looking into the maintenance that would have to be done to it. Finding experts in boat cleaning might be the first thing I will be doing after acquiring the boat.