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Formula Clean and Green

By Scott Smith, Marketing Manager

In my goal to provide new and interesting boat care articles for you, I often ask others what they would like to know more about. As a result, I’m sometimes blessed with a pamphlet or article lying on my desk. For this issue, I was given a booklet distributed by the Clean Marina Program, an organization dedicated to cleaner water throughout and around the state of Florida. It has a lot of good information on fuel and waste management, as well as their impact on aquatic plants and wildlife, but what caught my eye for this column were the pages on “Boat Cleaning–In the Water.” These are some earth-friendly alternatives to common cleaners, and I would like to reprint them here for your consideration:



Toxic Product Alternatives
Detergent and soap Elbow grease–often
Bleach Hydrogen peroxide
Scouring powders Baking soda or salt
Floor cleaner One cup white vinegar in two gallons of water
Window cleaner One cup vinegar in one quart warm water; rinse and squeegee
Varnish cleaner Wipe with ½ cup vinegar and ½ water solution
Head cleaner Put in baking soda and use a brush
Shower cleaner Wet surface, sprinkle baking soda, rub with scouring cloth
Aluminum cleaner Two tablespoons cream of tartar in one quart hot water
Chrome cleaner/polish Apple cider vinegar to clean, baby oil to polish
Fiberglass stain remover Baking soda paste
Drain opener Disassemble and replace; do not use toxic substances
Mildew remover Paste using equal parts of lemon juice and salt
Wood polish Three parts olive oil and one part white vinegar; almond or olive oil (interior unvarnished wood only)


Now, I must admit that I have yet to try all of these alternatives (although I do add vinegar and soap to warm water to wash and squeegee the outside windows of my home, which works very well), but much of it seems within reason and certainly worth considering. You need to used your best judgement in cases such as the first- sometimes even elbow grease won’t cut it and you have to fall back on your boat soap- biodegradable and used in judicious quantities, of course.

You can read more about it on the web at, or make requests for booklets and pledge cards directly to:

The Clean Boater Campaign
Attn: Linda McDonald
3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, MS 665
Tallahassee, FL 32399-3000.


Speaking of cleaning your boat, I was recently introduced to a product designed to reduce the time it takes to dry your boat after giving it a bath in one-third of the time, according to the manufacturer. Called the Quik-Dry Water Blade (a component of the Swobbit boat cleaning system), I ordered one for my personal use to more quickly and thoroughly dry the windows on my enclosed back porch. After learning what I did for a living, their company president called me and asked if he could send up a Swobbit kit for us to evaluate, so we used the kit while on our annual trip to Bimini, Bahamas, to shoot photography. With 11 or 12 boats on the voyage, there’s certainly a lot of cleaning going on.

The way the blade works is kind of like a squeegee, only better. The blade has something of an upside- down “T” profile, and it is made of medical-grade silicone, so it is very pliable and durable. Between the profile and the flexibility of the silicone, it quickly and completely wipes the water off of flat and rounded surfaces, and you can attach it to an adjustable pole the company also offer. Does it work? Well, my windows don’t streak at home and my wife has stolen it to use when washing her car. Some of the guys on the trip still like using their chamois mops better, but I think it’s a matter of what they’ve gotten used to.