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Old 17-08-2013, 08:08   #1
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Dawn Dish Soap in the Bilge?

Does ths really work? Can anyone confirm this helps in maintaining a clean bilge? Ad if so,how much do you put in?
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Old 17-08-2013, 08:38   #2
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Re: Dawn dish soap in the bilge?

Where I live they will give you a ticket if you put that in the bilge and then pump it out into a body of water..I have seen people pump ther bilge and then to get rid of the slick on the water they hit it with a few squrits of dish soap, disapates the slick right before your eyes ,also a good way for John Brown to catch you as your standing there with your bottle of soap leaning over the rail..
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Old 17-08-2013, 08:47   #3
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Re: Dawn dish soap in the bilge?

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Originally Posted by SecondBase View Post
Does ths really work? Can anyone confirm this helps in maintaining a clean bilge? Ad if so,how much do you put in?

Another version is powdered laundry detergent.

The problem is the potential you'll allow any oily residue to mix with bilge water and then be pumped out. Bad.

In any case, it can help clean the bilge but it's not magic. In most cases, cleaning the bilge thoroughly (capturing a properly disposing of any oil-based substance) and then keep it clean is more useful (and small amounts of soaps may help with that, assuming no on-going oil contamination).

-Chris
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Old 17-08-2013, 08:54   #4
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Re: Dawn dish soap in the bilge?

soap makes oil sink to bottom of body of water do you want to pump that glob of goo thru your bilge pump-------or place that glob into outside waters???
we remove the wtf in bilges and then hand scrub them -- and this boat has huge bilges.....

my ericson has common bilge for shower and bilgewater--i add bilge soap when i use that boat, and make sure i pump it all out---or i will rinse bilge with vinegar to kill the problem, as vinegar neutralizes body stink...... then i pump it all out and fresh sea water rinse and allow to dry .....

i lost one pump so far to oil in bilges when my high pressure oil lines had a rupture --make sure it is no to oil in there so your pump lasts a long time.
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Old 17-08-2013, 10:59   #5
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Re: Dawn dish soap in the bilge?

I am also struggling with the oil issue. We have a huge deep bilge under the engine, which is very difficult to clean, and a leaky engine. They make floating oil booms:

MDR Oilzorb Bilge Mini Boom

You just float one of these in your bilge at all times. It does a great job of absorbing oil but not water.
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Old 17-08-2013, 11:35   #6
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Re: Dawn dish soap in the bilge?

those awesome diapers for oily bilges work awesome good--is what i cleaned somewhere around 15 qts oil out of mine....then soapy wash with a hand brush and now i am awesome. we didnt use dawn--we used what is here as far as dish soap is concerned--and it worked well.
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Old 17-08-2013, 12:04   #7
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Zee is right on. I put an absorbent bumper stuffed into the sump and then Velcro absorbent pads over the opening. Keeps the bilge sump clean. Stops parts from getting lost into the pit. If I spill some oil during a change it doesn't wind up over board. Good practice with lots of upside.
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Old 17-08-2013, 12:12   #8
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Re: Dawn dish soap in the bilge?

Yep it works. I think Joy is a little better but both are fine. with some water in the bilge, put a a squirt or two of Joy in, go sailing to let the water bounce around (pump off) then turn 'er on.... it's detergent, detergent breaks down oil and grease.
Some people have a diluted squirt bottle for when they fuel up, as mentioned, a few drops of diesel makes a fast spreading sheen on the water... one squirt and it disappers before your eyes.
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Old 17-08-2013, 13:56   #9
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Why make the problem bigger by adding detergent. Use a Shop Vac to suck the crud out and clean it with vinegar on a rag, disposing of everything appropriately. In the end it will take less time and you will be doing the right thing. Rich
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Old 17-08-2013, 14:37   #10
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Re: Dawn dish soap in the bilge?

In the good ol' days, Sudbury (makers of Boat Zoap) used to market a bilge cleaner that you just poured into the bilge & let the waves do the work for you. These days, adding any dispersant (soap), that might hide the oil in your bilge, will get you a hefty penalty from the feds.

It's a little strange that after BP dumped over 200 million gallons of crude into our precious ocean, an average mariner can still get his check book in a sling over a quarter of a teaspoon of his oil hitting the water, but that is the way that it is today.

If your bilge is oil free, then you can add a little soap. If there is any oil in there, then adding soap can get you in a lot of extra trouble. The penalty for oil + soap is much worse than the penalty for oil alone.
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Old 17-08-2013, 14:47   #11
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Re: Dawn dish soap in the bilge?

I follow the example of DOJ's father......apparently he would become outraged over as little as dust in the bilge. I have the world's loudest shop vac...works great...no dust, no oil, no sludge... Just oakum and nice clean bilge.
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Old 17-08-2013, 15:00   #12
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Re: Dawn dish soap in the bilge?

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Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
soap makes oil sink to bottom of body of water ....
That's not true.

Soap is a surfactant that breaks the surface tension creating the appearance the oil has dispersed. A true dispersant serves to emulsify oil in the water column. Neither makes it sink.

None of them remove the oil but serve oly to make one feel better because it appears the bilge water is cleaner when in fact, the oil remains.

The only effective way to actually remove it is by mechanical means - sorbent pads or pumping or both if you want a clean bilge
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Old 17-08-2013, 15:17   #13
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Re: Dawn dish soap in the bilge?

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That's not true.

Soap is a surfactant that breaks the surface tension creating the appearance the oil has dispersed. A true dispersant serves to emulsify oil in the water column. Neither makes it sink.

None of them remove the oil but serve oly to make one feel better because it appears the bilge water is cleaner when in fact, the oil remains.

The only effective way to actually remove it is by mechanical means - sorbent pads or pumping or both if you want a clean bilge
I beg to differ when it comes to detergent. (most dish "soaps" are detergent not soap). The detergent loosens and breaks up the oils so they can be pumped out. Otherwise when I wash my hair, or my dishes, you would be indicating that none of the oils are going down the drain!
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Old 17-08-2013, 15:23   #14
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The Clean Water Act (33 CFR 153.305) also prohibits the use of soaps or other dispersing agents to dissipate oil on the water or in the bilge without the permission of the Coast Guard. Soaps, emulsifiers and dispersants cause the petroleum to sink in the water column and mix with sediments where they will remain for years. Also, the soaps themselves are pollutants. You may be fined up to $25,000 per incident for the unauthorized use of soap or other dispersing agents on the water or in the bilge.
Guess in the US it is not a good use.
Source http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknow...an_boating.htm
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Old 17-08-2013, 15:27   #15
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Re: Dawn dish soap in the bilge?

Yeah, yet they allowed BP to do it and now there is 3" of muck on the bottom......
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