April 27, 2010

Oxalic Acid – A Handy Chemical for Boat Owners

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Boat owners are continually looking for ways to keep their sea crafts looking great.  However, there are numerous challenges in maintaining that special shine, as the elements from air and sea are constantly getting in the way.  It can be a sad day when rust and other pesky stains begin to appear on one’s boat, but it should not be too discouraging.  The materials already exist to safely and effectively combat these effects.  Here is how to use oxalic acid to keep a boat sparkling at sea.

The best solution for rust: Oxalic acid has been in use for decades at this point.  Of all the different ways boat owners have made this substance work for them, removing rust stains is probably at the top of the list.  The trick is to clean the entire boat first and then approach the individual rust stains.  The solution of oxalic acid and water will make these stains disappear easily, without too much scrubbing.  In fact, one should never use a scrubbing device like a steel wool pad on the hull of a boat, as tiny specks of rust will appear as a result in the future.  Once the rust starts to disappear, rinse the oxalic acid solution from the boat and make sure there are no traces left before initiating the drying process.  Then, watch the boat’s sparkle return.

Removing algae from the hull: Algae is a substance that is guaranteed to arrive sooner or later on a boat’s hull.  Many different solutions have been proposed for this problem, but oxalic acid remains one of the most effective.  Again, the way to go is to create a solution of the acid and hot water, which will dissolve the crystals.  Using a spray machine (like the ones commonly used with gardens) can make the job easier.  Cover the entire area to be treated and let it all soak in for about twenty minutes before rinsing.  Once the solution starts to come off, the algae stains will accompany it.  It is a quick fix, but don’t forget about the powerful chemical properties of the acid.

Counteracting the aging of a boat’s wooden surfaces: Last but certainly not least, a boat’s wooden surfaces can benefit from a treatment with an oxalic acid solution.  Over time, the unsightly grime and fungal stains on wood will darken and generally diminish its brilliant finish.  Boat owners have found that an oxalic acid solution can counteract these effects by removing the stains and leaving a brightened appearance in their wake.  The decks of any boat will start to corrode immediately upon contact with the air, so it is even more important to have wood stained and treated.  Oxalic acid will help ease the burden of maintenance as time passes.

It goes without saying that all directions should be followed closely when using oxalic acid, most importantly the safety precautions.  Always have gloves and eye goggles on hand when dealing with chemicals of this grade.  At the same time, don’t fear this very useful cleaning agent which should be in every boat owner’s possession.

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