Tag Archives: boating

Just Add Water – Microfibers!!

  

The new “specific purpose” microfibers are a no-brainer for non toxic boat cleaning. These are amazing products – and as green as you can get. They are either “naked” or permanently impregnated with non-toxic substances that do the specific job for which they were intended. And for a little more oompf – just add water.

West Marine carries a line of generic microfiber towels – and even Wal-Mart sells them. But we really like the line put out by Casabella. The products are color coded so it is easy to recognize the one for the head, or for the electronics screens, or the table, or the galley counters, etc. and the colors are bright and fun – which makes the whole process much more pleasant.

Casabella also makes specialized mops and window cleaners that are just perfect for boats. There are also a couple of non-microfiber products that we really love because they are so well designed and boat perfect. The toilet bowl brush and holder is so slim that it fits in almost any head. the flexible dust pan and broom conform easily to the vagaries of the sole and tucks in to any available cranny. And the bright pink rubber gloves have a permanent place in the galley (the old yellow ones have been relegated to pump-out duty. Check out their line at http://www.casabella.com

Another useful resource for similar products is StarFiber http://www.starfibers.com/

What is microfiber? According to Starfiber, the term “microfiber” is based on the size of a fiber measuring below 1.0 denier (the diameter or fineness of a continuous or filament fiber—the lower the number, the finer the fiber, which in turn is more effective for cleaning surfaces). Each strand of microfiber is comprised of two components–wedge-shaped polyester filaments and a core of nylon. Made of both oil-attracting and water-attracting polymers, these strands are woven into masses of tiny “hooks & loops”. The sharp edges of millions of these fibers cut through dried-in stains, attracting and absorbing dirt and micro-particles, eliminating the need for additional chemical cleansers. Most microfiber products are not treated with any chemicals. The capillary effect between the filaments and nylon core creates a high absorbency, which in turn, enables the fiber to clean and polish at the same time. Therefore, only water is needed as a detergent to clean any type of surface.

The Green Galley – Helpful Provisioning Practices

Choosing what and how we eat affects both our environment and our personal health. Here are a few thoughts that will make it easier to live more healthfully on the boat while minimizing negative impacts on the environment. Pack a few string bags for short provisioning trips and some larger re-usables for bigger shops.  Stops at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, CostCo and/or Sam’s Club  makes provisioning easier.

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  • Eat locally and seasonally – with lots of fruits and veggies. Purchase produce in varying stages of ripeness. Put the unripe produce in nets hung from the handholds and check it daily, moving the ripened fruits and veggies to the refrigerator to hold them at that stage. Clean each item as needed with a home-made or commercial veggie wash and a stiff nylon brush. (i.e. water with grapefruit seed extract or apple cider vinegar and salt). And keep an eye out for local farmers’ markets.
  • Chill down the refrigerator with a block of ice to help the always challenged on-board cooling system. If the fridge is a top-open variety, then fill it with large, lidded plastic containers to hold all the food – this will keep the contents from getting waterlogged and allow you to add ice on top. And, to make the cooks job a little easier, try to load food in reverse order of potential use.
  • If your boat is local, then freeze everything freezable before leaving home in “direct to the oven” containers. It’ll keep much longer as it slowly defrosts and may actually assist the boat’s cooling system.
  • Stock the pantry with quick cooking whole grains (bulgar, whole wheat couscous, quinoa, par-boiled, seasoned rice, farro, barley), whole wheat pastas, legumes like red, green and brown lentils, and canned beans (garbanzo, black, red kidney). If you are cruising for a while, put bay leaves in all of the grains to thwart pantry flies.
  •  Think about multi-purpose foods that can also be used as home remedies and cleaning supplies. Ginger and umeboshi plums for seasickness, vanilla for deodorizing, oatmeal for “cream” soups and compresses, Worcestershire sauce (to clean brass) and cream of tarter (for aluminum).
  • Consider embracing a whole-foods, plant-based diet  – during your entire cruise,  or for just half or a third of the days, or just when you are eating onboard.  Whatever you choose, the impact on both the planet and your body will be meaningful.
  • Be flexible. Move meals around to accommodate weather, time, crew needs and the fatigue level of the cook. Be open to what’s available locally – you never know when fresh fish will appear on the deck or a local fisherman will happen by with too large a catch. Or an upland tour will wind past a bakery when the whole grain baguettes are just coming out of the oven.