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Green Yacht Cleaning Tips

by Nicki Reynolds, Yacht Zen Again 18 Jun 2022 14:54 UTC
Green Yacht cleaning tips © Nicki Reynolds

Living on a boat, we are very mindful that whatever we flush down our drains also flows straight into the surrounding water systems and whatever is living in there.

With World Ocean Day happening last week, I began thinking about sharing with you some ways we've found to keep our boat clean without harming the marine critters that share the oceans with us.

An idyllic spot, but everything we use goes straight into the water! There are many products out there that are labelled as "eco-friendly" but these often come at a premium price. However, there are many products available that are just as effective but cost a great deal less. By using these instead, it's possible to create products for every household purpose that (literally) don't cost the earth!

For example, our general-purpose cleaner is a mixture of surgical spirit, white vinegar and water, with a few drops of eucalyptus oil for fragrance (it's also a very effective degreaser in itself). I've found this to be very effective in keeping surfaces spotless. As it cuts through grease easily, it's one of the most efficient ways I've found to keep our cooker clean, shiny and grease-free. It's helpful for preventing mould too, which is a big concern for liveaboards, especially in humid tropical environments. These can all be bought easily and cheaply.

As a cream cleaner, I make a mixture of liquid soap, glycerol and sodium bicarbonate. This is as effective as any proprietary product I've come across and is much gentler on surfaces. We're currently using a proprietary biodegradable laundry detergent which we bought from Ecovibe. However, I've also used just plain liquid or Castile soap and sodium carbonate, with some white vinegar added to the rinse water.

For more heavily soiled laundry, I've found that pre-soaking items in a solution of liquid soap and sodium carbonate for a few hours, before adding them to the wash, shifts even the most stubborn ingrained dirt. Sometimes I pre-soak my tea towels in a solution of sodium percarbonate ("green bleach" - this breaks down into water and hydrogen peroxide) if they need brightening up.

Many of these solutions I've described are based on Nancy Birtwhistle's excellent book, Clean & Green, and I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who wants to reduce their environmental impact on the planet. This book provides helpful tips and recipes from cheap and easily available materials to produce effective cleaning agents that won't harm the environment. The book covers all sorts of topics from bathroom cleaners and laundry detergents, to gardening, and I've found it to be an absolute godsend in creating environmentally-friendly household cleaning products that don't cost a fortune.

Many personal care products can be made using combinations of coconut oil, glycerol and liquid soap - for example, our handwash is simply liquid soap, glycerol and peppermint oil. Nuddy also sells fantastic vegan and plastic-free soaps and shampoo bars, which have the added advantage of taking up less space than conventional shampoo bottles.

Both Nuddy and Ecovibe also sell a range of other personal and petcare products, and accessories such as biodegradable toothbrushes and dental floss.

But I'm getting ahead of myself!

My next blog will cover how we try to minimise our single plastic usage. This is a huge issue, especially on small islands which just don't have the infrastructure to recycle.

So stay tuned for my next post...

Thanks for the sound tips, Nicki. Reproduced with permission (c) Nicki Reynolds.

This article has been provided by the courtesy of Ocean Cruising Club.

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