How to Go Green and Stay Clean on Your #Canal Boat
I was recently researching online to find The Canal Boaters Top 10 Tips for Boat Bathrooms and this lead to a discussion on Facebook about the best cleaning products to use on board. The canal wildlife doesn’t always appreciate the disposing of strong cleaning chemicals into the canal. The boaters of Facebook therefore managed to come up with the top five eco tips for cleaning on board!
1) It’s not advisable to dispose of Flash, Jeyes fluid, and Dettol over the side of a canal boat, so Ecover products are a popular alternative. Ecover is a Belgium-based company that makes environmentally friendly cleaning products.
2) Bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar can also be very effective, (including on Pitch and Stockholm tar – according to one wooden boatowner.) It is also kinder to sensitive skin than a product like Jeyes fluid.
3) Don’t use ordinary household cleaning products in your toilet tank; the trick to a healthy toilet tank is all in the nurture of anaerobic reaction. Good excrement-eating enzymes die in bleach!
4) So, for your toilet: Elsan have been providing chemical sanitation products since 1924 and are still a popular choice for boaters, but there are also bio-based alternatives such as BlueBio which can be used for a pump-out or a cassette toilet. It’s multi-purpose so it can be used in both the waste tank and the flush tank.
The Elsan website suggests Elsan Boatkem because it is especially formulated for marine use and “completely harmless to the aquatic environment.”
Your nearest sewage disposal point will be indicated in your local canal guide, like the Nicholson’s waterway guides. The general opinion expressed on internet forums is that the water authorities don’t mind if you dispose of chemical toilet waste into the general domestic sewage system, but I don’t know if that is the official advice!
5) One boat-lady suggested that home-made rosemary shampoo is easier to rinse out then shop-bought shampoo. This is good if water on board is limited and some people prefer it to the shop-bought shampoo anyway.
It can be made by steeping a few rosemary leaves (the bits that look like pine needles) into a cup of boiling water. Steep it until it cools, fish out the leaves, and then add 1tsp of bicarb, and a couple of drops of glycerin.
Bonus Tip: Another boatwoman says, “I spend more time cleaning my bathroom than anything else. I found a toothbrush works for all the twiddly bits on the shower!”
And finally, a boat-mum asked, “Does buying disposable gloves count as a tip?! I know it’s not eco-friendly but it helps me deal with some pretty grim stuff!”
What are your favourite eco products to use on the boat? Let us know on Facebook.
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