Greener Cleaner

Jun 2, 2022 by Alene Keenan

DIY solutions offer a healthier, safer way to scrub, shine, and sanitize.

There’s an easy way to avoid the health risks and damage to the ecosystem caused by the strong chemicals and long-term toxicity of many cleaning products found on yachts: Make your own. These tried-and-true recipes are gentle, safe, and work well for basic cleaning and upkeep of most luxury surfaces on board.

✪ The basic recipe for a mild, all- purpose cleaner for wood, marble, or stone is half a teaspoon of pH-neutral, unscented dishwashing liquid (the white kind) and two cups of warm water. Mix gently to keep the bubbles down. Sponge over hard surfaces, then rinse completely to remove any soap residue. Buff with a soft cloth. Do not let these surfaces air-dry.

ALL-PURPOSE

  • This cleaner can also be used in a spray bottle and applied to a cleaning cloth. It works great in the galley, heads and hallways, and on most furniture. If residue remains, reduce the amount of dishwashing liquid.
  • For streak-free glass, add half a cup of white vinegar to two cups of water, then add a quarter cup of rubbing alcohol (70% concentration) or vodka (safer for your skin), and one to two drops of a citrus essential oil.

DISINFECTANTS

  • For a great basic disinfectant, mix one part water to one part rubbing alcohol or inexpensive vodka. Spray onto a cloth, not directly on the surface. Use this to disinfect after cleaning a hard surface, especially points of contact such as doorknobs and light switches, cutting boards, bathrooms, etc. It also works great on stainless steel.
  • For a nontoxic disinfectant, add three tablespoons of liquid castile soap or two tablespoons of mild dish soap to two cups of water in a spray bottle. Add 30 drops of tea tree oil and shake.
  • To get soap residue and scum off tubs, tile and glass, mix one part vinegar to one part dish liquid. Spray and let it sit for five minutes, then start to clean. It works best if you can spray to rinse it off. This can also be used in the toilet if the engineer says it’s OK.
  • For a mild abrasive cleaner, mix two tablespoons of baking soda with two cups of water.

LAUNDRY

  • To get soap residue and scum off tubs, tile and glass, mix one part vinegar to one part dish liquid. Spray and let it sit for five minutes, then start to clean. It works best if you can spray to rinse it off. This can also be used in the toilet if the engineer says it’s OK.
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About Alene Keenan

Alene Keenan is a veteran chief stew, interior training instructor/consultant, and author of The Yacht Guru’s Bible: The Service Manual for Every Yacht.

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