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Old 28-04-2019, 08:54   #1
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Karcher usage for boat cleaning

Hello everybody,
I tried to find anything about Karcher usage here, but couldn't; sorry if I bring anything previously discussed anew.

My question if it is safe to use high pressure water cleaners (like Karcher) for cleaning the teak, the windows, etc.
It should be safe to clean the hull - as seen every time when a boat is lifted, but can I damage the wood, or remove the glue (my gunwale is all-teak siting visibly on a glue, and I have more glued teak on the sides).
Would it be dangerous for window rubber, etc.?

Does anyone have a positive or negative experience with this?
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Old 28-04-2019, 09:29   #2
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Re: Karcher usage for boat cleaning

Do not, ever, use a pressure washer on teak. It will chew away the softer grain and leave it ridged and ugly. This is a cheap trick user by irresponsible, or just ignorant, boat brokers to make gray teak look new. Puts years of wear on the wood in 60 seconds.
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Old 28-04-2019, 15:59   #3
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Re: Karcher usage for boat cleaning

The glue under the teal is probably bedding compound and screws or bolts are holding the teak in place. Possible that it is some sort of adhesive but mechanical fasteners are more likely.
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Old 29-04-2019, 04:29   #4
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Re: Karcher usage for boat cleaning

I use a power washer on my boat yearly during spring commissioning and also in the fall before I put cover on. I have non skid decks that would get little flecks of mold/mildew. No amount of hand washing would clean it. I have a 4000 psi gas beast and I set the fan wide to 40 degrees and turn the pressure down. I don't do wood other than from far away like a hose. Same thing with anything sensitive.

Makes a huge difference in really cleaning off the boat, the decks look almost new.

I originally bought mine when the Home Depot rental died just at the boat transport trailer left and the junk was starting to harden while on jackstands. I had borrowed a neighbors 2500psi home owner grade machine and that was taking forever. Decided that I wanted the biggest I can find and I don't regret it. Mine has an 11hp Honda. I would think that one of the electric power washers would be good for decks and such since they are likely 1800 PSI max. But those won't cut it for hull cleaning.

I agree about staying away from teak. I have removable teak grating in my cockpit that I power wash but I know I'm wearing it down. I also sand it!
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Old 29-04-2019, 04:45   #5
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Re: Karcher usage for boat cleaning

A pressure washer can get you quite a bit of water through a small leak in little time. For balsa cored decks, that might create issues. It can also strip paint or sealant or adhesive - some airplanes are stripped of old paint with pressurized water. If the pressure is high enough, it can cut soft material like the diaphragm seal on sail drives. So - use with care. Don't hold into hull openings, neither your engine likes water up its exhaust nor do you like the mess in the cabin if you reverse flow your sink or your toilet.
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Old 29-04-2019, 04:53   #6
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Re: Karcher usage for boat cleaning

Quote:
Originally Posted by olddog57 View Post
My question if it is safe to use high pressure water cleaners (like Karcher) for cleaning the teak, the windows, etc.
The previous owner of my Bf's boat used a pressure washer on the teak deck.
We removed the teak last winter, cos there was no restoring it after that kind of abuse Absolutely agree with billknny.

Use one below the waterline only.

Even when you don't have teak decking, as it's also a great way to wash away all the "useful sticky stuff", as Hesti already pointed out. I learned this the hard (and lazy) way on my own boat. Although at least that can be fixed.

By the way, giving the teak "a good scrub" will do a lot of damage too. If you want to keep your teak, handle it with great care.
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Old 29-04-2019, 06:30   #7
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Re: Karcher usage for boat cleaning

Thanks everybody for the replies.
I'll keep out of it, that's clear enough.
Even not for the deck: I have fine cut tread-master for non-skid, glued to the fiberglass.
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Old 29-04-2019, 09:02   #8
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Re: Karcher usage for boat cleaning

blasting your hull with high pressure is a really bad idea unless you are wanting to take down the covering and reapply. I watch the marina crew blasting away at the travel lift dock thinking they are doing a wonderful cleaning job... and thousands and thousands of dollars of anti-fouling go straight into the lake. A light rinse with some manual scrubbing in trouble spots is all that is needed if you want to keep your anti foul for the next year(s). This is at least for fresh water slime, I am not familiar with ocean bottom coverings. But pressure washers will take paint off backyard decks... they will certainly take off any anti foul covering in a hurry.
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Old 29-04-2019, 09:17   #9
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Re: Karcher usage for boat cleaning

Karcher do many pressure washer systems , I have their less powerful one and it is great for the boat (no teak) gets right into the toerail and cleans ropes and deck no issues ,you do not need the big boys ones that they use to strip of your yearly growth in the yard
a small simply one as I have which also fits into my lockers is great and saves a lot of scrubbing and on hands and knees
It is not powerful enough to do any damage , these are not industrial , but for the leisure market and if using it correctly i.e not sticking the nozzle right up to the seal you will have no issues , a good 1 to 2 feet away will give you good cleaning
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Old 29-04-2019, 09:29   #10
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Re: Karcher usage for boat cleaning

I don't think it is a very good idea to use them on lines either! can damage the material quickly
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Old 29-04-2019, 10:40   #11
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Re: Karcher usage for boat cleaning

Quote:
Originally Posted by olddog57 View Post
Hello everybody,
I tried to find anything about Karcher usage here, but couldn't; sorry if I bring anything previously discussed anew.

My question if it is safe to use high pressure water cleaners (like Karcher) for cleaning the teak, the windows, etc.
It should be safe to clean the hull - as seen every time when a boat is lifted, but can I damage the wood, or remove the glue (my gunwale is all-teak siting visibly on a glue, and I have more glued teak on the sides).
Would it be dangerous for window rubber, etc.?

Does anyone have a positive or negative experience with this?
I use an electric Husky 1550 psi (Home Depot) to pressure wash my boat every spring at a neighbor/local dock. As I secure my boat to a buoy 24/7/365 it is usually pretty dirty from all the seagulls come spring. I have been doing this for 11 years now and the job usually takes me the better part of the day. I've tried scrubbing with brush and boat wash but this gives the only acceptable result. The previous owner did a terrible job painting the deck and each year this gets rid of just a little bit more of it...I'll be painting it in the new future.

I think part of the trick to pressure washing is to not be in a hurry and keep a good distance from what your washing to minimize the pressure...too many folks are in a hurry and blast away with big mega thousand psi pressure washers up too close...take your time and watch the dirt flowing away to regulate what your doing. My previous machine was of even lower pressure, I think 1100-1200 psi, and it worked fine.

Yes, I do the teak as well but very cautiously with minimal pressure and never the lines because you can't get the pressure low enough for them.

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Old 29-04-2019, 16:14   #12
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Re: Karcher usage for boat cleaning

I purchased a 'SIMONIZ' 2,000psi light duty electric power washer specifically to clean my boat, including the teak Deck. Nothing wrong using it on the teak as long as you use the widest angle nozzle & keep it a minimum of a foot above the wood.

Many folk use a power washer far too aggressively, holding the nozzle only a few inches off the surface to be cleaned. Oh, it will certainly move the dirt faster, but it will also remove wood too if you persist in doing it this way.
Wash the deck first using a soft brush & a product called "30 Seconds". this basically kills off the green grunge spores that accumulated over the winter then, power-wash the deck using the widest angle nozzle. This removes all signs of winter grunge. It does NOT damage the teak unless one becomes too aggressive as mentioned previously.
The secret is in learning how to use your power washer for best results.

As for cleaning the hull, a pressure washer is by far the best thing to remove any accumulation of Mussels & other salt water marine life.
Prior to the introduction of power washers, marina staff used to scrape such growth off with various types of scrapers, at the risk of damaging the anti-fouling or even worse, the gelcoat.

The power washer does a far better job in the hands of an "experienced & knowledgeable" user. The problem with most DIY guys is, it is a once-in-a-while job, with an urgency to "get 'er done boy' … but no real experience on how to do the job well. I know, you'd much rather be out sailing!

Like many pieces of power equipment, your washer comes complete with a Users Manual. On the very first page I'm quite sure it says: "Do not use this machine until you have read this manual of instruction." . . . How many of you did? I'm willing to bet not very many . . . if any. No, most guys will unpack the washer, assemble it with only a cursory glance at the manual, all the time telling himself "I don't need instructions on how to use a freekin' power washer" & immediately put it to work.

BTW, I'm just your average Joe who bothers to read the manual. Try it sometime, you may learn a thing or two. Hands up all if you do not fit this scenario . . . & if you deny it, you are only lying to yourself.
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Old 29-04-2019, 18:19   #13
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Re: Karcher usage for boat cleaning

Like sailorbob says, learn how to use it.

I have a Karcher K2 Ergo 1600 psi washer. The spray wand adjusts from hard to soft. Hard will sand your garden furniture. Soft is perfect for rinsing your car after a hand wash...uses far less water than a garden hose. Mid-range is good for the boat. I have not and will not use it on wood. I have also used it on fabric...soft setting.

Experiment. Distance between wand and surface to be cleaned is key to good results. Too close even at soft setting is going to be harmful.
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Old 15-08-2019, 10:01   #14
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Re: Karcher usage for boat cleaning

Ones more about pressure washers: I found there us a kind of sandblasting accessories for them: might these be used for removing the old primer from the underwater part?
I suppose it is safe enough (at least with sodablasting), but is it doable, is it effective enough?
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