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  1. #1

    Default Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    In the next week or so, we plan to retrieve our 21 ft pontoon boat out of the wet slip where it has been moored for about 6 months. It's lake water but on the warm side, and it's got a pretty good coat of slime and mini-barnacles? on it. Now that the lake has cooled off, I don't get in the water to scrape it any more. We were going to haul it out, load it on the trailer, and take it home for an extended session with a pressure washer.

    What advice can you offer? Will the pressure washer take it all off, or will it still take some scraping and rubbing? Should we use hot water or cold? Is there any kind of detergent that helps?

    The bottoms of the toons where it sits on the trailer bunks I won't be able to hit with the spray, but oh well, not much I can do about that I suppose.

    Thanks for any help you can offer.

    Infidel

  2. #2
    Rear Admiral MH Hawker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    pressure washer will do fine.
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  3. #3
    Commander rogerwa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    Here is what I did and it worked great with little physical effort.

    I used the power washer and did an initial rinse on the toons to get off the big stuff and get them wet. I put starbrite aluminum cleaner in a garden sprayer and then used the wand to spray the cleaner on the toons. I only did a section at a time, giving the cleaner time to work, and then came back with the power washer and rinsed off all the cleaner and the gunk. Using the green tip on the power wahser pretty much took everything off. I was very satisfied with the results.

    My boat also sits in rich water for 6 months without being pulled and I was relied to know it came clean this easy. I initially tried just the power washer but it didn't get all the stuff off, just the surface stuff. The aluminum cleaner made all the difference. I used three bottles, at about $9.00/each to do my 25' with 25" toons.
    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

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  4. #4

    Default Re: Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    Quote Originally Posted by rogerwa View Post
    Here is what I did and it worked great with little physical effort.

    I used the power washer and did an initial rinse on the toons to get off the big stuff and get them wet. I put starbrite aluminum cleaner in a garden sprayer and then used the wand to spray the cleaner on the toons. I only did a section at a time, giving the cleaner time to work, and then came back with the power washer and rinsed off all the cleaner and the gunk. Using the green tip on the power wahser pretty much took everything off. I was very satisfied with the results.

    My boat also sits in rich water for 6 months without being pulled and I was relied to know it came clean this easy. I initially tried just the power washer but it didn't get all the stuff off, just the surface stuff. The aluminum cleaner made all the difference. I used three bottles, at about $9.00/each to do my 25' with 25" toons.
    Thanks Roger! That's a good tip about the starbrite. I'll definitely give that a try.

    Infidel

  5. #5
    Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    You are better off cleaning the pontoons if you have a scissors type trailer otherwise you can't get at the bottom of the logs on a bunk trailer. I have thought about renting a scissors trailer for a day just for cleaning mine up and when I do I will make sure I have the power washer and the starbrite on hand.

  6. #6
    Petty Officer 1st Class BiXLL's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    Nappa auto stores carries Nappa Aluminum Brightener that works very well and is of the same formulation as the Starbright and other brand name cleaners at a much better price.
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  7. #7
    Commander rogerwa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    There is another product that is a concentrate that is a little cheaper. I just didn't have time to track it down. The garden sprayer is the way to go though as squeezing that little spray bottle is a pain and very inconsistent. The sprayer gets it done with consistency very quickly.
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  8. #8
    Lieutenant airdvr1227's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    Some of those acids can be hard on the bunks. Ask me how I know this.


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    Default Re: Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    Two or 3 ditto's on the power washer. This is our first pontoon, but we've had several boats. I take ours out of the water whenever we aren't staying at the river, store it in the garage. Always blast off the hull ('toons now) with the pressure washer. Use an aluminum cleaner a couple times a year. I have an engine hoist I bought for 'other projects' that I use to raise the pontoons enough to put an old ATC tire (got a lot of them) between them and the bunks. Another hint, if you use the siphon feature of most pressure washers, I use a mixture of 1/3 window cleaner, 1/3 white vinegar, and 1/3 water. The Colorado river is high in alkaline, water spots. The vinegar is acidic enough to eliminate any water spots. Your boat will be squeaky clean, and smell like a salad bar.
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  10. #10
    Chief Petty Officer WaterDR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    High pressure spray/brush combo wiil only remove the dirt. You need chemicals and contact time to remove deposits (heat helps too, but I would not go there). You use acid to remove minerals and caustic to remove oils.

    Aluminum cleaners are strong acid....probably phosphoric and nitric acid I suspect. Personaly, I would never, under any circumstances use a spray applicator to apply that stuff. It is horrid on your lungs and a train wreck if you get in your eyes. IMO, that stuff is not safe to sell to the general public w/o adequate eye protection and a respirator. I would get proper chemical gloves, pour some in a plastic tray, and use a paint roller to apply it and then not use a power washer to avoid splashing, but a simple garden hose to wash it off and leave the hose running while using it. That crap will make you blind for life.

    Vinegar is cinsidered a weak acid and windex contains ammonia which is a base. When you mix the two you create a salt and basically neutralize the extent of the acid. Windex does contain other ingredients such as detergents and surfactants. If this solution works for you, it is becuase you are likely taking advantage of the detergents and yet still being acidic. Measuring the pH of the solution would be the only way to know for sure.

    Mixing household cleaners can end in dissaster.
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    People are using yard sprayers to apply acid based aluminum cleaner. We hear good things about Starbrite and NAPA aluminum/metal cleaner. Many will also use HVAC coil cleaner, which is used on a/c coils outside.

    All of these cleaners are left on the metal just a few minutes, and hit with a lot of water as a rinse.

    But if you want to really get that shiny finish, you go to a high quality aluminum polish applied with a wool bonnet on a D/A polisher/buffer. Or, you can use one of the buffers like auto detail shops use. It's remarkable what polish will do to your toons. Then, you've got to clean the toons with lacquer cleaner and rags--and apply Sharkhide for a 3 year shine protectant.

  12. #12
    Commander rogerwa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    The stuff I used came in a spray bottle, but when I used that not only did I get a sore hand from squeezing it, I also was a little too close in proximity to the fumes, per WaterDr's comments. I use the garden sprayer so I can effectivley apply it aim away from me at a sufficient distance as to not ingest the fumes. I don't apply it with a fine mist, more or a spray. I had no issues at all with applying it this way and did even smell it. On the power washer, again the power and directional nature of the spray, kept all fumes and splashing at a minimum of 2-3 feet away. More often 4-5. While I respect others safety recommendations, this worked well for me.
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  13. #13
    Lieutenant airdvr1227's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    Found this on the club Bennington site...

    Eagle 1 mag Wheel cleaner

    Cleaning Your Toons - Bennington Pontoon Boats Owners Club. Join the Family.

    Amazing results
    Attached Images Attached Images


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  14. #14
    Vice Admiral Yacht Dr.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    I use Bleach after the first pressure wash.

    YD.
    Iboats Helper

  15. #15

    Default Re: Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yacht Dr. View Post
    I use Bleach after the first pressure wash.

    YD.
    Holy Cow, you people are scaring me off from the Starbrite or other acidic cleaners. Spraying it on will get it in the wiring harnesses, the bolted joints, soak the bunk carpets and bolts on the trailer, and other places its gonna cause trouble, especially with my luck. What about a bleach solution, how much trouble could this cause? Mainly I just want to get the big slime and little bumpy things off the toons, I don't care about having them gleam with a mirror finish, because its going right back into the water.

    Here's another option: Is it better to pressure wash it first before the slime has a chance to dry, or can it dry while being trailered home, and then pressure wash it with the same results? The marina launch ramp has electric power and a garden hose, so I could bring my pressure washer from home and hit it right after I pull it out of the water. Is it like oatmeal, egg yolk, or gravy that seems to turn into epoxy if you let it dry??

    Infidel

  16. #16
    Chief Petty Officer WaterDR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    Oxidizers like bleach will break down and help remove live organic material (slime, algae, etc...)

    Acids will dissolve and break-down scale deposits

    Caustics will dissolve and remove oils and grease and to some extent, dirt.

    Wetting agents (also called foaming agents) penetrate into organic surfaces and sometimes scale, and make the other products work better.

    Heat will generally increase the reaction time of acids and caustics. Giving the solution more contact time helps too.

    As a rule, concentration + contact time + temperature + mechanical action is how you clean a surface. The more of one you have, the less of another you need. The more of all you have, the quicker the process. Unless you know what you are removing, you can't really select the right product. Depending on where some of you are located will depend on what you have coated on your toons.

    Also, the rusty looking surface on your pontoons is called aluminum-oxide and is a good thing. It is how aluminum corrodes but it also creates a corrosion inhibition layer to stop further corrosion. Unlike steel, when it rusts, the steel will continue to rust under the iron oxide and so you want it to be removed. Aluminum does not continue to corrode in the same manner.
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  17. #17
    Petty Officer 1st Class Old Screwball's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    We live in California, boat is in Bullhead City, Az. Vacation home. We go there for about a week a month, telecommute for work. The boat stays in the water while we are there. When we are leaving we pull her out and pressure wash the 'toons. It is about 15 minutes from the ramp to our garage in 120* heat in the summer. Our 1400psi pressure washer knocks off pretty nearly all the 'stuff' on the outside and inside of the 'toons. There may be some grime on the bottom of the pontoons, we get that at the year end cleaning before she goes to bed for the winter. Same kind of stuff we did with the hull boats, just aluminum not fiberglass. Should have mentioned, I used the term Windex as a generic. I use the window cleaner that comes in the gallon jugs at Wal-Mart without the ammonia, the cheapo stuff. Works pretty will at 1400psi to loosen dirt from the side walls. Also use a 'foamer' nozzle on the washer to apply the cleaners.
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  18. #18
    Vice Admiral Yacht Dr.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Infidel View Post
    Here's another option: Is it better to pressure wash it first before the slime has a chance to dry, or can it dry while being trailered home, and then pressure wash it with the same results? The marina launch ramp has electric power and a garden hose, so I could bring my pressure washer from home and hit it right after I pull it out of the water. Is it like oatmeal, egg yolk, or gravy that seems to turn into epoxy if you let it dry??

    Infidel
    Just Bleach it with a bug sprayer when you get home. It will Kill most of it.

    Use the White Tip on your pressure washer ( if it has one ).

    The acids will not kill off growth .. you have to remove that first. If your going with acid that is...

    Toilet bowl cleaner will help with your "rust".

    YD.
    Iboats Helper

  19. #19

    Default Re: Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yacht Dr. View Post
    Just Bleach it with a bug sprayer when you get home. It will Kill most of it.

    Use the White Tip on your pressure washer ( if it has one ).

    The acids will not kill off growth .. you have to remove that first. If your going with acid that is...

    Toilet bowl cleaner will help with your "rust".

    YD.


    I was going to use a product call Aluminex, will that get it done?

  20. #20
    Vice Admiral Yacht Dr.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Clean Slime & Marine Growth Off the Toons?

    Quote Originally Posted by the Jagermeister View Post
    I was going to use a product call Aluminex, will that get it done?
    I have never tried it .. but the guys around here use Tunebright ?

    YD.
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