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7 Simple Recipes to Keep a Boat Shipshape

Who doesn’t like a clean house? Whether it be out to sea or ashore, we’ve found a few simple recipes that help us keep Kaleo shining inside from stem to stern.

Yet you won’t find Mr. Clean or Windex lurking under our galley sink.

With just a few basic items that you most likely have on hand (water, vinegar, baking soda, tea tree oil), you can do almost all of your household cleaning, save money, and keep your home free of the toxins found in many store-bought cleaning products.

Here are a few recipes that will help you do most of your everyday cleaning:

General Surface Cleaner

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon tea tree oil

Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and use to clean general surfaces such as counter tops, sinks and the stove. Do not rinse.

Tea tree oil is antiseptic, germicidal, antifungal, and antibacterial agent making it a very effective surface cleaner.

Mold and Mildew Eliminator

Using the same recipe as above, wipe down surfaces in high-mold or high-humidity areas. Tea tree oil is a natural fungus fighter but if you encounter large amounts of mold, or black mold, however, call a mold-removal specialist.

Head (Toilet) Cleaner

  • 50% water
  • 50% white vinegar

Mix in a small spray bottle and use for head surfaces, the toilet bowl and wiping down the gel coat shower pan. If you’re concerned about the smell of vinegar, you can add a few drops of essential oil to your mix, but know that the odor of vinegar disappears as it evaporates.

In addition, about once per month we run a pint of undiluted white vinegar into the toilet, flush once and let it sit overnight to fight the salt water deposits that build up.

Glass Cleaner

  • 1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Mix the ingredients into a spray bottle for an effective glass cleaner. It also works well on the chrome faucets in the galley and head and even on the stainless steel dorades and rails on deck.

Trash Can Deodorizer

Mix the two ingredients thoroughly, ensuring all lumps are removed. Place a (fresh) piece of absorbent cloth on the bottom of the trash can and sprinkle this mixture over it. Change the pad and deodorizer every other week or so.

A few other natural deodorizers

  • Boil 1 tablespoon of vinegar in 1 cup of water to eliminate unpleasant cooking odors
  • Baking soda is excellent for absorbing odors in the fridge or icebox

Laundry Detergent

  • 4 cups of water
  • ⅓ bar of natural soap, grated
 (this is where the scent will come from in the detergent, so go with something you like)
  • ½ cup washing soda (not baking soda)
  • ½ cup of Borax (20 Mule Team)
  • 5-gallon bucket for mixing
  • 3 gallons of water
  • (optional) A few drops of scented oil such as tea tree or lavender which will overpower the soap (especially if you choose unscented)

First, mix the grated soap in a saucepan with 4 cups of water, and heat on low until the soap is completely dissolved. Add hot water/soap mixture to 3 gallons of water in the 5-gallon bucket, stir in the washing soda and Borax, and continue stirring until thickened. Let the mix sit for 24 hours and it’s ready to go. Use 3/4 cup per full load. You can store this in gallon jugs aboard and fill a water bottle to take to the laundromat.

Bug Trap – Not really a cleaning product but one we use when those nasty fruit flies visit.

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 drops of dish soap

Cut the top off a small plastic cup. Add apple cider vinegar and drops of dish soap. Place on your kitchen counter and within minutes the little buggers will be swimming. Apple cider vinegar attracts the bugs and the dish soap traps them on entry.

Happy (and healthy) cleaning!

Inside Our Home

We had some down time while staying warm today and thought we’d share an inside tour of our little floating home. Kaleo has a salon (living/dining room), galley (kitchen), head (bathroom with hot water shower), v-berth and quarter berth (bedrooms) although our quarter berth has been converted into our garage, navigation station (home office), and a cockpit and deck (patios). There are several book nooks on board with the main one being tucked behind the fold-down salon table. Kaleo also has a ton of storage space in virtually every nook and cranny of the hull which helps keep the living spaces more organized. Ah, and there’s our trusty infirmary (Adventure Medical Marine 1000) tucked above our closet if needed. We even have a water car (dinghy) that resides on deck when we’re not using it. Welcome to our humble abode.

Entrance view of the salon and galley from the companionway (front door)

Inside the salon with hallway to the head and v-berth

The galley with refrigerator in the countertop cabinet on left and a pantry in the countertop cabinet on right

The v-berth

View of the galley, navigation station and companionway from the salon

Water Pump Weekend

This Saturday we wrapped up the fresh water system refit that has been ongoing since last summer. Matt installed the fresh water pump and accumulator tank, which now supplies water to the recently installed galley double sink and bathroom sink and shower.

We also managed to wash and scrub the entire deck, cleaning it of winter grime and dirt. Scrubbing 34 feet of boat deck took the better part of the morning but Kaleo shined like she hasn’t in a long time. Christie finished the to-do list by installing one of her Valentine’s Day presents, a new stainless throttle handle.

All this work was capped off by a great sail in Galveston Bay, where we saw Captain Kidd, a two-masted schooner. The sail also reminded us of how well the Aloha 34 is designed as she balanced herself (stayed on a course without any input from us) on the tack out and back in. The sail was capped off by the best slip-parking job to date, if only they all went that smoothly there would be a few less scratches on the hull.

On Sunday, we spent the afternoon at Christie’s grandmother’s house celebrating the most important date in history, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Everyday we thank Him for our talents, abilities and the desire to pursue this dream.

If Only They Could All Look Like This

It’s official. Today marks the LEAST amount of money we’ve spent at West Marine to date. That’s right, the decimal is in the right place … we spend a whopping $0.39 on 4 fasteners for the shower install.

Sailors Like To Be Clean Too

We spent the weekend getting a few new parts installed for liveaboard necessities. For some reason the former owner removed the shower system, but no worries Matt was able to install a more space and water efficient design that works perfectly for us.

Electric head install complete

This weekend’s refitting included Matt running wire from the breaker panel to the flush pump to power our new electric head.

Productive & Fun Labor Day Wknd

Deciding where to mount the manual back-up pump.
Installing the waste hose.Helping our marina neighbor load up his dinghy to be repaired.
Family stopped by for a fun visit and brought BBQ lunch for the crew.

Labor of Love

We spent this Labor Day weekend with one of our 1st major refit projects aboard Kaleo. September is dedicated to all things plumbing so we started with upgrading our manual-only toilet to an electric / manual back-up, Lavac. The 1st step was to have the holding tanks pumped out and rinsed followed by removing the old toilet. The greatest challenge was engineering a hose run that involved an electric pump, a manual back-up pump and a downhill run to the tank – all within the confines of the space below the v-berth.

We’re happy to report that with the help of Christie’s dad, Craig, the install was a success within “plan a” and without any sacrifices. We now have the convenience of an electric head with a manual back-up in case of power failure.

Visiting the Fam

Our Seattle weekend continued as we started Saturday with a visit to Pike Place for breakfast at The Crumpet Shop and to pick up some flowers to bring to Matt’s mom.
We then hit the road for a 5-hour road trip to Coeur d’ Alene to visit the family and celebrate Ken’s birthday.
Before heading out for Ken’s birthday dinner, he and Matt reviewed the test companionway doors and talked through their final design. We’ll leave the materials and plans in his good hands to be built. He even offered to build us an overlay for the bathroom countertop from some scrap granite he’s collected. It means a lot to us to have his craftsmanship aboard.
The boys taking a break while dad takes Jeff’s new bike out for a spin.

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