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Old 14-06-2013, 00:56   #1
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Best Bottom Cleaning Tool?

Itís now been a year since we put on a new coat of bottom paint and Iím beginning to get some of the green algae growing mostly along the water line, very little below that. Since Iím now an official scuba Diver according to the PADI course taken last week, I plan to do the maintenance myself. Can someone tell me what is the best tool or piece of carpet to get the somewhat persistent algae off the water line, that wonít remove the antifouling paint at the same time. I used a scraper for some of the few barnacles that formed, and they came of easily without taking the paint with them, but I donít want to use the scraper on the algae if I donít have to. Yesterday, I tried using a piece of shag type carpet, but the nylon ply wasnít effective except on the new growth algae, which was less dense. Should I look for a piece of carpet and be using the rougher burlap bottom side?


Most of the bottom was clean, which was a pleasant surprise.
Thanks in advance,

Ken
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Old 14-06-2013, 08:02   #2
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Re: Best Bottom Cleaning Tool?

When cleaned before the bottom gets even moderately foul, you should never have to put anything more abrasive than the white pad on the paint for most of the paint's life.

3M Doodlebug pads
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Old 14-06-2013, 09:02   #3
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Re: Best Bottom Cleaning Tool?

What paint is it? Ablative, and hard paints are different.

We have Trilux33 and this is my experience in a similar area.

I find ours does not need anything done till about the 18 month mark. Wiping it down before this seems to shorten the life. The scotch bright pads are good with the sponge on one side and more abrasive on the other side.

I do this snorkelling a bit every day so the whole bottom usually only gets one wipe down over a few months.
I usually redo the paint at the two year mark and close to this time I get much more aggressive as you want to get rid of as much paint possible before reapplying, so a metal scrapper is best.

I worry about the environmental effects, but think a little bit removed each day is probably better than a whole lot removed and dumped in the one spot. It is certainly much better for me. Scraping it off on the hard its difficult to avoid exposure, despite the best precautions.
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Old 14-06-2013, 09:24   #4
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Re: Best Bottom Cleaning Tool?

The product you want is called a Scotch Brite bath scrubber. Don't push too hard when you use it or the paint will be worn through in no time.


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Old 14-06-2013, 09:27   #5
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Re: Best Bottom Cleaning Tool?

an old credit card or a plastic spatula works well for barnacles. Green slime I just wipe off as it happens with an old t shirt.
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Old 14-06-2013, 11:29   #6
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Re: Best Bottom Cleaning Tool?

I use both putty knifes and paint scrappers, depending on if I am taking off slime or barnacles.
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Old 14-06-2013, 11:41   #7
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Re: Best Bottom Cleaning Tool?

I used to work as a salvage diver and as a side i'd clean boat bottoms on a regular basis. Really soft paint requires only a soft cloth. For heavier fouling or harder paint the white scotch pads work well, and when you encounter barnacles you can flip it over and use the plastic handle to knock them off. Don't try to scrub barnacles with the pad as it will eat it up in no time and tear it right off the plastic mount.

For even heavier fouling you can move up to the green or even black pads, but by that time you really should be hauling the boat. A non-flexible scraper works well for running gear to scrape barnacles off, followed by a rub with one of the pads. Use a screwdriver to stick up into through-hull fittings but be careful not to stab and/or scratch the teflon coating that acts as a seal on many of the new ball valves.

The longer you can hold off scrubbing the bottom the better off you will be. Any scrubbing will take off bottom paint quite quickly and leave the bottom more susceptible to fouling.

Have fun.......... i hate boat bottoms - one of the reasons i left that job!
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Old 14-06-2013, 12:00   #8
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Re: Best Bottom Cleaning Tool?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DefinitelyMe View Post
The longer you can hold off scrubbing the bottom the better off you will be. Any scrubbing will take off bottom paint quite quickly and leave the bottom more susceptible
Depends on what your definition of "scrubbing" is. Frequent, gentle cleaning will dramatically extend your paint's lifespan. Less frequent, abrasive cleaning (or scrubbing) absolutely will remove paint and shorten its lifespan.

You should clean your bottom frequently enough that you can always use carpet or a white pad.

BTW- scrapers (plastic, metal or otherwise) are not appropriate all-over, everyday cleaning implements. For metal parts or the ocassional hard growth, yes. For anti fouling paint in otherwise good condition, no.
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Old 14-06-2013, 12:09   #9
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Re: Best Bottom Cleaning Tool?

I just use a regular kitchen sponge for the easy to clean slime. Plastic or metal scrappers are for the tough stuff.
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Old 14-06-2013, 12:29   #10
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Re: Best Bottom Cleaning Tool?

I agree with the preference of softer scrubbing pads; however, if I am removing barnacle scale before a new paint job I will use a metal scraper. On these occasions I grind off the sharp corners at the ends of the blade so that I don't accidentally leave any gouge marks.
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