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Oxalic acid for cleaning scum line quickly, easily and inexpensively

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Oxalic acid for cleaning scum line quickly, easily and inexpensively

Old 10-10-2020, 01:50 PM
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Default Oxalic acid for cleaning scum line quickly, easily and inexpensively

In the sea of too much information, this a friendly reminder

Something I ran across years ago:

All those special cleaners with "Oxy'" whatever are all just based on highly diluted oxalic acid.

You can buy oxalic acid directly from many a chemical supply house cheaply, on order of $50 for a pound of it, which would clean an aircraft carrier.
It has the consistency of baking soda.

Put a few teaspoons into a spray bottle of warm water. Stir until dissolved, then spray on the scum line and let sit for a few minutes..
With a light brush and a light touch it will easily come clean.

Do you youtube search and there are lots of videos now.

Oxalic acid is a hazmat because in pure form because on a microscopic level it looks like broken glass.
So take reasonable measures to not breath it in !!!

It will not burn or anything, and is inert and otherwise harmless.

Have been doing it for years.

Again, use reasonable safety measures and you will be amazed.


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Old 10-10-2020, 01:59 PM
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I use it as a paste to remove rust stains from the hull and rust from Stainless. It is the best cleaner for scum I have ever used!!!

Amazon Amazon
Old 10-10-2020, 02:32 PM
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$50 to buy way more than I could use in a life time and still have the hassle of mixing it, or $10 for a tub of Y-10 gel (oxalic acid suspensed in gel so it will stay on the stained areas whilst it does its stuff) that will last 5 years and is so convenient to use - Ill take the convenient route and cry into my beer at year 25 when I realise the money I could have saved

Last edited by Clinker; 10-10-2020 at 02:52 PM.
Old 10-10-2020, 02:39 PM
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Yes, I use the gel toilet bowl cleaner from Dollar Tree.

It works very well.

But, you need to buff and wax the hull afterwards or the scum stain will reappear.
Old 10-10-2020, 04:12 PM
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Yeah, Ox acid is the active ingredient in FSR, Bar Keepers friend and others. All that varies is the percentage and the price!
Old 10-10-2020, 04:19 PM
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mary kate on and off
its made for cleaning hulls fyi

edit: def need to wax it after it'll strip it clean
Old 10-10-2020, 05:23 PM
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You have been getting ripped off for a long time, if you pay $50 a lb. You can get 99.6% pure 5 lbs at WalMart for $18.99. Some of us have Oxalic acid crystalst for over 60 years.....
Old 10-10-2020, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by 96 sea ray View Post
In the sea of too much information, this a friendly reminder

Something I ran across years ago:

All those special cleaners with "Oxy'" whatever are all just based on highly diluted oxalic acid.

.
Your premise is incorrect. The basis for "oxy" cleaners, such as oxyclean, is sodium percabonate not oxalic acid.

Oxygen bleaches and oxalic acid solutions have different applications and properties. For example, oxalic acid great for rust stains. Oxygen bleach is effective as a mold killer. The two types of cleaners should not be confused.
Old 10-10-2020, 07:09 PM
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One Saturday about a year ago i was hauled out beside a big commercial cat. The yardman was spraying the yellow hull to make it white again. I stopped to chat and asked what he was using. Some waterline stain remover stuff at a horrendus price and he had just run out. Couldn't get more till Monday, but needed the job finshed today. Said the yard boss had forgot to order more.

I suggested he go to the local hardware store and buy some oxalic acid crystals at a fraction of the cost of what he was using. He wasn't sure so i went back to my boat and mixed some into a spray bottle. Went back and sprayed a bit of hull then turned to talk to the yard guy. Started to tell him wait 10 mins and wash off. He is busy looking over my shoulder and not listening. Turn to check out what he is looking at and the area i just sprayed was turning white as i watched. Told him i must have mixed it too strong. Saw him a few days later and he reckoned the yard would save over $2000 per year plus a lot of his hours because it worked faster. Just a small private yard so it all helps.
Old 10-10-2020, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by williamwallus View Post
mary kate on and off
its made for cleaning hulls fyi

edit: def need to wax it after it'll strip it clean
Just used that today, and its AMAZING! Almost no effort to scrub, easy peasy. But do not breath in, gotta use outside.
Old 10-10-2020, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by SouthpawHD View Post
Just used that today, and its AMAZING! Almost no effort to scrub, easy peasy. But do not breath in, gotta use outside.
And use rubber gloves AND do NOT get it on your trailer. Wax big time in areas you just used it.
I only use it for the worst stuff
Old 10-10-2020, 08:36 PM
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Also can use muriatic acid- its sub$10 for a gallon at places like Lowes. Mix it with water and spray it on!
Old 10-10-2020, 08:44 PM
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Topic has been discussed 1000 times, was just discussed last week
Old 10-10-2020, 08:50 PM
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Now it’s 1001. Thanks for keeping track.
Old 10-10-2020, 09:07 PM
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I'm wondering if any of these products remove stuff from the hull, or just bleach the stains white? From an optical engineering view, caustic or acid just etches the surface, randomizing the light reflected, so it no longer just reflects the frequencies that make it look brown or yellow or whatever color stain or paint is on the hull. Sun does that as well to colored surfaces, etching it so it reflects random frequencies (white), instead of the specific frequencies it was manufactured to reflect.

Soap and cleaners break up surface adhesions, and break down oils, trying to get materials to come off the hull. Etching might accomplish that as well, but seems like you would need to buff and polish smooth again.

My boat hasn't been cleaned in at least 25 years, has never been buffed in 46 years, and my first attempts to clean it with soap left plenty of dirt streaks. I'd like to get those dirt streaks off before buffing, so they don't just smear around in the gelcoat. But it is an off-white, don't want to bleach it. I had a restoration guy look at it, might be best to just pony up for him to make it right before I mess with it.
Old 10-10-2020, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by 30West View Post
I'm wondering if any of these products remove stuff from the hull, or just bleach the stains white? From an optical engineering view, caustic or acid just etches the surface, randomizing the light reflected, so it no longer just reflects the frequencies that make it look brown or yellow or whatever color stain or paint is on the hull. Sun does that as well to colored surfaces, etching it so it reflects random frequencies (white), instead of the specific frequencies it was manufactured to reflect.

Soap and cleaners break up surface adhesions, and break down oils, trying to get materials to come off the hull. Etching might accomplish that as well, but seems like you would need to buff and polish smooth again.

My boat hasn't been cleaned in at least 25 years, has never been buffed in 46 years, and my first attempts to clean it with soap left plenty of dirt streaks. I'd like to get those dirt streaks off before buffing, so they don't just smear around in the gelcoat. But it is an off-white, don't want to bleach it. I had a restoration guy look at it, might be best to just pony up for him to make it right before I mess with it.
It most likely does somthing similar to what sodium hypochlorite does to PVC. i say that because once the stain is going, you can compound it back and wax it and the stain is gone. If you did that prior to removing the stain, you would have to really get compounding to remove the stain.

I did a lot of boats with water stains after Katrina.

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