By Carolyn Shearlock © 2012 • all rights reserved

Take a few minutes to think about how you'll wash an item by hand

Just a short bit with a quick demonstration about what happens when you buy something without thinking about cleaning it.

Last night I pulled one of my plastic containers out to put some leftovers in.  And I discovered the crud in the photo growing on the lid (yes, I’m showing off my mistake!). YUCK!

Oops!  I always preach about thinking about “cleanability” before buying items — you’re going to have to wash everything by hand on the boat, so make sure there’s no funky nooks or crannies, and nothing that can’t be easily taken apart.

And I violated my own rule and now I paid for it.  I’d just used the container a couple of days before and washed it with the dishes, then put it away.  Obviously, I didn’t get it totally clean, a little food residue was still there, and it got moldy in just a couple of days.

But, you know, I don’t do a bad job of washing dishes in general (I’m much better than I was as an 8-year-old who had to wash dishes before going water skiing).  The problem is really that I had chosen a design that made it hard to get the cover clean when washing by hand.  And it took way more time and water to clean that crud out than any boater should ever spend on such a thing. And to keep it clean when I use it in the future, I’m going to have to do the same thing every time I wash it, just so that I won’t have crud.  Or I can donate it to someone with a dishwasher and buy a new one.

Manufacturers always label things as “dishwasher safe” or “top rack dishwasher safe” — why don’t they label things as “easy to wash by hand?”

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  1. Diane Dashevsky says:

    Q-Tips work great for cleaning out those tight grooves quickly. I keep a few handy in one of my galley cupboards for just that purpose…along with a cheap toothbrush from the Dollar Store. That toothbrush has come in handy more times than I can count…fast, easy, and at my fingertips. Cheers!

    • Carolyn Shearlock says:

      Thanks Diane — that’s what I ended up using, along with some toothpicks in those little vent holes that were too small for the Q-Tips.

      I also keep a nail brush at the sink — guess I just didn’t spend enough time using it! A toothbrush might be even better on some of these small “crannies.”


  2. Some boat owners go overboard (pardon the pun) when it comes to cleaning their boats. They seem to spend more time scrubbing and polishing their vessels than actually cruising or fishing in them. While keeping a craft clean is definitely an important aspect of boat ownership, it’s not necessary to spend long, backbreaking hours to keep your boat looking like new. You simply have to equip yourself with the right tools/products and clean your boat regularly and efficiently. While a little bit of “elbow grease” never hurts, the key is to clean your boat “smarter” not “harder.”

  3. Helpful hint……if you can, pop stuff like this into the microwave for two minutes…..or spray with alcohol. I also put a piece of papertowel sprayed with alcohol inside of stuff like this when I store it. This kind of ick never happens. The paper towel idea also works with veggies……. spray the pt with some alcohol and store it with your veggies (especially mushrooms) and they will keep longer.

  4. one more thing…..I use a small amount of bleach in my dish washing detergent as well as rinse water…..then rinse again. Small amount is the key word. Been living onboard for going on 7 years and a little bleach goes a long way to keeping things germ free.

    also…..vinegar in the head gets raw water deposits out and loose ( especially in the SE).

  5. Yuck! I hate when that happens. I, too, wondered if a touch of bleach in the water would help with stuff like that? I think it’s hard to get certain kinds of things clean even in a regular kitchen and those kinds of lids are some of the worst. I wonder if bleach would degrade them over time.

  6. You know that happens with the Lock-N-Lock seals that we all know and love too. After a while, I noticed a “shadow” growing under the seal. Luckily it was easy enough to take out and scrub the grove with a toothbrush. Lucky for me, I have the time to scrub things with a toothbrush!

  7. That’s by I love our sea water foot pumps, one in the galley, one in the head. I can use as much water as I want and not care! Final suds and rinse with fresh.

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