The Boating Forum - Pressure wash your boat?????

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View Full Version : Pressure wash your boat?????


skeller001
07-30-2006, 06:10 PM
Does anyone pressure wash the bottom of your boat? I used my neighbor’s old electric pressure washer yesterday and it got most of the green/brown off the bottom and also got a lot of dirt out of the non-skid surfaces. I was wondering if a stronger washer would do better or if it is bad for the fiberglass/gel coat. I looked at them today at Lowe’s and you can get electric models up to 1750psi. Is that enough? I would prefer electric since gas motors are a PITA.


Parthery
07-30-2006, 06:21 PM
I bought a 2600 PSI gas a couple months ago and use it to wash the boat all the time. Just be real careful and don't get too close or you can peel the gelcoat off. Also, the cushions and bolsters don't react well to the pressure. But, for everything else (non-skid, hardtop, trailer) its invaluable. Ton of uses around the house (deck, back of the house, sidewalks, eaves, etc...) as well.

I tried 2 different electric models but was disappointed. Not sure if it was because the pressure was "only" 1500 PSI, but they didn't seem to clean nearly as well.

tnsmith
07-30-2006, 06:26 PM
I used my gas 2750psi pressure washer on my bayboat after Katrina. Made the boat look better than it did before the storm. However, be careful around decals, etc... takes 'em right off. It didn't seem to do well on the brownish hue that plagues many white fiberglass hulls. But, it was great on the interior and carpet. Made my ten yr old marine carpet look like new. Ended up replacing it anyway. If you use gas, use the turbo-tip... works great, but packs a punch, so be careful with it.


abfish
07-30-2006, 06:39 PM
skeller001 - 7/30/2006 5:10 PM

Does anyone pressure wash the bottom of your boat? I used my neighbor’s old electric pressure washer yesterday and it got most of the green/brown off the bottom and also got a lot of dirt out of the non-skid surfaces. I was wondering if a stronger washer would do better or if it is bad for the fiberglass/gel coat. I looked at them today at Lowe’s and you can get electric models up to 1750psi. Is that enough? I would prefer electric since gas motors are a PITA.

Bought an electric Karcher and I've been well pleased. It doesn't have the power of a gas unit, but it's great for cleaning boats, washing cars, etc. (I've even washed an in-ground swimming pool with mine.) The lower pressure (I think it's 1600 psi) will keep you from doing a lot of unintended damage to fragile surfaces. You'll be surprised at how much less water you use, also, versus cleaning with your garden hose.

IMO it would be pretty hard to damage your boat with an electric washer. I also prefer the electric over gas due to much less noise and maintenance. Release the trigger on the electric and it shuts off. A lot more pleasant than listening to an gas motor running.

BTW, don't listen to anyone that tells you that you need a 16 hp gas washer for casual useage (I used to own one). These are the same people that tell you that you need a dually diesel pickup to pull a 20 ft. boat. You can do pretty much the same thing with the electric one (or a small gas model if you decide to go that way.) Using the proper cleaning solution, on your house for example, is as important as the size of the washer. To remove stains from your hull, you'll probably have to use some type of hull cleaner, no matter how much water pressure you have.

greyg8r
07-30-2006, 08:16 PM
I wouldn't think of buying an electric pressure washer, I think they're underpowered junk that requires you to drag an extension cord all over the place. Gas all the way. Honda engines specifically. But, I think a commercial 3500+ psi unit is overkill. You can get a very nice 5hp Honda 2400 - 2600 psi pressure washer for about $400 and you will find wondering how you ever got by without one.

Parthery
07-30-2006, 09:58 PM
greyg8r - 7/30/2006 7:16 PM I wouldn't think of buying an electric pressure washer, I think they're underpowered junk that requires you to drag an extension cord all over the place. Gas all the way. Honda engines specifically. But, I think a commercial 3500+ psi unit is overkill. You can get a very nice 5hp Honda 2400 - 2600 psi pressure washer for about $400 and you will find wondering how you ever got by without one.

Don't even need to spend that much...the 2500 psi one with a 5 hp Honda was $299 at Home Depot..

Doug in Bermuda
07-30-2006, 10:19 PM
Been using a 3000 PSI gas washer for many years primarily for bottom cleaning. For topsides great care needs to be taken. These are great machines but damage can be done with them very quickly. One needs to worry about richoceting water as well as the first point of hitting the boat.

Johnnie27
07-30-2006, 10:21 PM
tore rite thru the seats on my boat with the intense pressure!!!!

Took off pin-striping the side...

Great on non-skid and bimini tops though...

gotta learn the tolerance for the particular surface and how strong your machine is...

play with the nozzels, and if it seems to strong, just increase the distance between the material and the nozzel...

rwidman
07-30-2006, 10:47 PM
Doug in Bermuda - 7/30/2006 8:19 PM

Been using a 3000 PSI gas washer for many years primarily for bottom cleaning. For topsides great care needs to be taken. These are great machines but damage can be done with them very quickly. One needs to worry about richoceting water as well as the first point of hitting the boat.

Yes, use care. You can damage the outdrive bellows, wiring, cusions, canvas, etc.

Practice on something cheap before you tackle your boat. Don't use the pressure washer insteda of cleaning products, use it with them.

cowdogs
07-30-2006, 10:53 PM
skeller001 - 7/30/2006 5:10 PM

Does anyone pressure wash the bottom of your boat? I used my neighbor’s old electric pressure washer yesterday and it got most of the green/brown off the bottom and also got a lot of dirt out of the non-skid surfaces. I was wondering if a stronger washer would do better or if it is bad for the fiberglass/gel coat. I looked at them today at Lowe’s and you can get electric models up to 1750psi. Is that enough? I would prefer electric since gas motors are a PITA.

I use a small gas model. 2250psi, and I use it top and bottom. I think the electrics are a pain. A tank of fuel lasts for 3 cleanups. One good pull and it runs, no cords to mess with. To each his own I guess.

mikeym
07-31-2006, 02:45 AM
3500psi works wonders on non-skid. does nothing for stain though, thats left for muriatic acid...

skeller001
07-31-2006, 01:56 PM
Thanks for the opinions! I will go look at them one night this week. What is good at taking the brown stains off?

ReelFun1
07-31-2006, 03:12 PM
Be careful electrical shocks from electrical pressure washers can ruin your day ;?, Also don't forget to plug them into a GFI protected outlet it could help save a life. Either way they speed up time spent cleaning and save a lot of elbow grease. Moral of the story it will let you have more time to enjoy the greater things in life. :thumbsup:

rwidman
07-31-2006, 04:22 PM
skeller001 - 7/31/2006 11:56 AM

What is good at taking the brown stains off?

"Hull Cleaner" from the marine center. Starbrite is one brand.

The main ingredient in Starbrite hull cleaner is oxalic acid. You can save money by buying this at the home center as "Deckswood" (I'm not sure of the spelling) deck cleaner. Dilute it with 5 or six parts water, spray or brush it on, wait a few minutes, and rinse. Keep it off your skin, out of your eyes, and off your galvanized trailer (if you're concerned about its looks).

pioneer197
07-31-2006, 05:19 PM
How is a gas one that much more convenient than an electric one? You still have to run a hose to it. I have an electric and running an extension cord takes no time compared to running and hooking up the hose. It is the least of my concerns and shouldn't really influence your decision. Now - I wish I had a gas PW because my electric just isn't powerful enough. It does a pretty good job but leaves a lot to be desired.

cowdogs
07-31-2006, 09:51 PM
pioneer197 - 7/31/2006 4:19 PM

How is a gas one that much more convenient than an electric one? You still have to run a hose to it. I have an electric and running an extension cord takes no time compared to running and hooking up the hose. It is the least of my concerns and shouldn't really influence your decision. Now - I wish I had a gas PW because my electric just isn't powerful enough. It does a pretty good job but leaves a lot to be desired.
The hose is a given when cleaning boat/flushing engine, so it does not count. Not pulling an extension cord out is much easier than pulling one. Gas line trimmer. Gas chainsaw. Gas lawnmower. Gas pressure washer. I tried them all in electric, and you can keep them.

rwidman
08-01-2006, 08:54 AM
..................... I wish I had a gas PW because my electric just isn't powerful enough. It does a pretty good job but leaves a lot to be desired.

You don't really want to apply the full pressure of the larger pressure washers to your boat. Trailer OK (not the tires though), but not gelcoat. You can actually cut concrete or brick with a gas pressure washer if you're not carefull.

What works for me and does not damage the boat is to wet the gelcoat, apply the appropriate cleaning product, brush it around, wait a few minutes, and rinse with the pressure washer using just enough pressure (backing away reduces the pressure applied to the boat) to remove the soil. Don't get closer than about eight inches to the surface and never use the pinpoint nozzle.

Stay away from wiring, cables, bellows, anything not gelcoat or metal.

pioneer197
08-01-2006, 10:57 AM
The electric does fine for the boat. I do rely mostly on cleaning products anyway. The pressure washer does a great job of rinsing every nook and cranny and that is my primary reason for using it - to rinse out the salt. I could use more pressure for the nonskid. My desire for more power isn't because I want to use it at max power all the time. I did clean the driveway earlier in the summer and it looked great when finished. Biggest problem I had was after a half hour or so the pressure washer kept overheating and cutting off on me. Wasn't a problem when I got it in the winter, but here in Carolina the summer is hot. That wouldn't happen with gas. I expect my tools to work as hard as I do and it irritates me when they don't. Usually I buy quality tools that can handle the job. Unfortunately this was an unexpected Christmas present and I am stuck with it for a while...no way would I have bought an electric.

Having any pressure washer is better than nothing though. I use it all the time despite its shortcomings.

Cowdogs - an electric line trimmer, chainsaw and lawnmower I agree would be a PITA, but I would think thats mostly because you have to fight the cord while using them. My pressure washer usually just sits in one place. I don't know why I'm arguing with you though since I don't like electric pressure washers :-)

wellcraft290
08-01-2006, 01:41 PM
I agree I have an electric 1700 psi and only good for minor things like the underside of my car with salt etc.... I need to get a gas powered and i see then at Home depot for only 299 and that seems to be a great deal...

gibbsb
08-01-2006, 02:04 PM
We use an electric pressure washer in our shop and have had it for almost 20 years. It gets used every day and is rated at 3000 PSI. The main thing that helps with cleaning is hot water. Ours uses kerosine for the burner and puts out 200 deg F water. Using it with and without the heat makes all the difference in the world. It would not be good for home use because of its size and its cost, but if you want to go first class, it's the way to go. Made by Hotsy and I think Northern Tool sells the same model under their brand name. At least it really looks similar.

So don't make a blanket statement that gas is the only way to go. There are electric models out there that will give any gas washer a run for its money.

Regards,



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