The boat cleaning products you choose as well as the way you use and dispose of them can have a serious environmental impact. Improper use and disposal of solvents, harsh detergents and other chemicals can affect water quality and pollute the environment.
Whenever possible, clean your boat out of the water using fresh water or environmentally friendly products. Use only phosphate-free, biodegradable and nontoxic detergents when needed. More frequent cleaning will eliminate the need to use harsher products.
Avoid products containing ammonia, sodium hypochlorite, chlorinated solvents (bleach), petroleum distillates and lye. To reduce the amount of elbow grease needed, allow cleansers to sit on the surface a few minutes to loosen the grime before scrubbing.
After cleaning, apply a good coat of wax to protect the surface. Keep in mind that carnauba wax can turn fiberglass yellow over time. When cleaning teak, use mild soap and abrasive pads or bronze wool instead of chemical cleaners.
Recycle used oil and antifreeze, and dispose of used oil filters properly. The same goes for solvents, paint and waste gasoline. Visit 1800recycling.com or call 800 4 RECYCLE to find a center in your area.
To find out what’s in a product and how to use it correctly, always read the label. If you are still unsure, speak with a retailer. Look for the Green Seal of Approval, or visit greenseal.org for a list of approved environmentally friendly products. –Charles D. Hayne