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Old 17-06-2010, 15:29   #1
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Chain Covered with Barnacles and Algae

I raised my chain today and it is covered with growth, barnacles and algae. Does anyone have an idea of a way to clean it. It is galvanized and I am thinking of a couple of methods
using muriatic acid and then a brush with lots of water but I am afraid it will affect the galvanizing.
using Clorox then a brush and lots of water
dragging it in a rocky parking lot behind my car
running it up and down in the water from my boat with a scrubber attached
Any suggestions?
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Old 17-06-2010, 15:35   #2
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is a pressure washer a possibility?
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Old 17-06-2010, 16:04   #3
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Pressure washer is not possible
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Old 17-06-2010, 16:27   #4
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I think for barnacles the only option is a pressure washer. If my memory is still holding up?? you will need a machine with a minimum of at least 3400 PSI for barnacles. If you are thinking of dragging the chain over a parking lot, don't. You will wear off the galvanizing in short order. Instead, take it to a pressure washer.

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Old 17-06-2010, 16:46   #5
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I use muriatic acid on my dinghy to get rid of barnacles, would this hurt the galvanized chain? Then use a brush and rinse with a lot of water.
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Old 17-06-2010, 17:42   #6
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Muriatic acid is the trick. It's commonly used in swimming pool maintenance and is relatively inexpensive. It dissolves the calcium in the barnacle shell and rinses clean with water. Mary Kate On-Off blends three acids to do the same thing but gets expensive in the quantity needed. Find a plastic drum or barrel big enough to hold the chain, pour as much muriatic acid as you can get over it and soak the chain thoroughly. Absolutely avoid contact; wear gloves and face protection, you won't have to be told twice to not breath the fumes. Don't dump it anywhere it can pollute living waters, but you can rinse it off and almost all the grown with a stiff brush and a hose.

I use it in a garden sprayer to get the barnacles out of hard to reach places like the top of my rudders.
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Old 17-06-2010, 18:19   #7
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Muriatic acid is the trick. It's commonly used in swimming pool maintenance and is relatively inexpensive. It dissolves the calcium in the barnacle shell and rinses clean with water. Mary Kate On-Off blends three acids to do the same thing but gets expensive in the quantity needed. Find a plastic drum or barrel big enough to hold the chain, pour as much muriatic acid as you can get over it and soak the chain thoroughly. Absolutely avoid contact; wear gloves and face protection, you won't have to be told twice to not breath the fumes. Don't dump it anywhere it can pollute living waters, but you can rinse it off and almost all the grown with a stiff brush and a hose.

I use it in a garden sprayer to get the barnacles out of hard to reach places like the top of my rudders.
...but don't leave it for too long. The acid is eating the zinc too. Just long enough to get the barnacles to let go. Then power wash.
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Old 17-06-2010, 19:59   #8
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Remove the chain and dip in HCl then powerwash every time you raise the anchor? Don't think so...
The growth is usually on the chain in the water column, the bit of ocean between your hull and the bottom. The stuff along the bottom stays relatively clean, it's getting polished by the sediment. When I know I will be leaving soon, I drop that much chain into the water the day before so that the original length between boat and bottom is now on the bottom, getting scrubbed. If I don't have that much time, it's into the water with a nylon scrub brush, a thin drywall spatula, and a putty knife to scrub the grass and soft stuff off, then pop the barnacles. The little barnacle bottoms are still on until the next time the chain sits on the bottom for a while, but it doesn't smell in a hot chain locker. (It helps to have a power windlass with a control on a wire to advance the chain while in the water scrubbing, otherwise someone pulling in a few feet at a time.)

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Old 30-09-2010, 02:12   #9
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When I know I will be leaving soon, I drop that much chain into the water the day before so that the original length between boat and bottom is now on the bottom, getting scrubbed. If I don't have that much time, it's into the water with a nylon scrub brush, a thin drywall spatula, and a putty knife to scrub the grass and soft stuff off, then pop the barnacles.
Michael
That's how I do it. My chain gets so scuzzy where I anchor, I can get 90% of it with a leather glove up and down the nasty part.

Yes, it's somewhat degrading to do, but it works.
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Old 30-09-2010, 04:07   #10
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The zinc galvanizing will come off pretty fast in acid... Think battery! Dissimilar metals Zinc & steel) in an electrolyte (acid). Before the flames start, yes I know a chain in a bucket of acid is NOT going to produce electricity.

I would put the chain in a barrel, put on the lid and tumble it....
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Old 30-09-2010, 06:38   #11
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The zinc galvanizing will come off pretty fast in acid... ....
ditto that. Once upon a time I used muric acid to remove rust from my chain. It came out like new but as it dried a surface layer of rust appeared. I tired to spray coat it with galvanizing spray and was disappointed in the results. Hot dipped galvanizing was the way to go, but did not have the necessary set up to do. So if you try the acid be aware that the galvanizing will probably be affected.
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Old 30-09-2010, 15:28   #12
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Yes the acid will eat at the galvanizing. It has but not too bad. Next time I will let out different lenghts so that it naturally gets sanded on the bottom. If it is out to long and gets crusty, I think I will try turning the chain around and have the crusty area down by the anchor being cleaned on the bottom naturally rather than using acid.
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