Clean Boats and Waterways: An Ideal Pairing

Clean Boats and Waterways: An Ideal Pairing

Spring breezes, clear skies, and blue waters are calling. As boating fanatics prepare to take to the water this summer, there’s one crucial caveat to keep in mind—boat maintenance. Regularly cleaning your boat isn’t just about keeping it tidy. Without regular maintenance, you could be stuck with a case of marine fouling. Marine fouling is the accumulation of sea life on your boat’s hull. Eventually, this accumulation can cause drag and affect performance. Additionally, prolonged exposure to salt water without thorough cleaning can lead to damage, rust, and rot. 


So, avid boaters need to have a consistent cleaning routine. However, cleaning with popular boat products could have significant environmental ramifications. Many cleaners leave damaging pollutants and harsh chemicals in the waterways. Here’s what you need to know about your boat and the environment—and how Charlie’s Soap can keep both of them clean. 

The Dirt on Boat Cleaners

Salt, grime, plant life. Boats are regularly exposed to hard-to-clean elements. As they attempt to combat these, many regular boat cleaners are formulated with harsh detergents, degreasers, and chemicals that cause damage to the environment. 


Boating detergents, particularly those designed for cleaning hulls, tend to be acid-based. While some cleaning acids, such as citric acid, present minimal harm to aquatic life, other acids can significantly impact the waterways. In particular, oxalic and phosphoric acid, both common active ingredients in boat-cleaning detergents, can affect nutritional accessibility and pH balance for aquatic life. 

Toxic Degreasers 

In boat cleaning, degreasers are responsible for removing built-up oils. Even if they’re not labeled as degreasers, boat cleaning soaps often include degreasing agents. Unfortunately, degreasers typically come with mile-long ingredient lists. They can be made with highly processed chemicals, and, often, potential toxins. Some degreasers are even petroleum-based—meaning they’re full of air pollutants and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). 

Still, since degreasers are able to take on heavy oily residue, it’s good to have one in your cleaning arsenal. You just need to find the exception. Look for one that’s effective, safe, and completely eco-friendly. (Pssst….Stay tuned for some exciting news about an all new, all biodegradable degreaser from your pals at Charlie’s Soap, but you didn’t hear it from us!) The waters will thank you for watching out for degreasers full of toxins and pollutants. 

Caustic Bleaches and Ammonia

If you’re a boat-lover that wants to keep your raft squeaky clean, you may have been tempted to pull out the chlorine bleach or ammonia to burn through hard-to-clean residue. However, these cleaners are highly caustic. In the water, both chlorine bleaches and ammonia cleaners can increase acid deposits in the soil—which has a big impact on the underwater ecosystem. 

Contamination and Pollution

Due to the prevalence of these dangerous toxins in boat cleaners, many boating communities have taken precautions. Most marinas have washdown areas for safe in-water cleaning. Other boaters completely avoid cleaning their raft inside the water. 


In spite of these precautions, trace amounts of these chemicals are still likely to find their way to the water. Both washdown areas and on-land washing alike have to dispose of the cleaner-contaminated water. Though this water may be filtered and purified, occasional runoff is inevitable. Additionally, when you wash with these chemicals, your boat doesn’t come out unscathed. Trace amounts stick to the hulls and underside—then spread when you go out on the water. 


This contamination may not seem like much, but hundreds of boats can contribute to toxicity in a single area. Particularly along shores and within marinas, that means a measurable environmental impact. 

A Cleaner Way 

We’ve all got the responsibility to keep our waterways clean. Still, boat maintenance is a necessary part of good boating practices. The solution? Green cleaning products that handle the toughest boating grime without polluting the water. 

Powerful Green Cleaners

That’s where Charlie’s Soap comes in. Charlie’s Soap offers all-purpose cleaning products perfect for handling your boat, inside and out. Our Indoor & Outdoor Surface Cleaner can be used for cleaning fiberglass hulls, stainless steel panels, decks, and more. For extra-tough boating residue, try out our non-chlorine oxygen bleach. Our ultra-concentrated formulas are perfect for tackling salt, grime, oil, grease, and even marine fouling. 


How do we do it? Charlie’s Soap products are designed with simple yet effective ingredients. Our potent cleaning agents cling to dirt and grime. Then, they rinse away entirely with clean water, taking all that residue with them. We stick with the simple stuff. No toxins, acids, harsh chemicals, or artificial fragrances. We’re all about effective and eco-friendly products that clean your boat while protecting our planet. 


We don’t stop at boats. Charlie’s Soap has a powerful green cleaner to match whatever you’re cleaning. Check out our household cleaners, stain solutions, and more, and discover clean, for life. Shop Charlie’s Soap

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