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Can I use ammonia to kill zebra mussels without damage to my pontoons


Dan Wixted asked:

I have a pontoon boat on a trailer with carpeted bunks that just came out of a lake infested with zebra mussels. If I pour some ammonia solution (say 20%) along the bunks so that it seeps in between the carpets and the bottoms of the pontoons and leave it like that for a couple of days, will the ammonia damage the aluminum pontoons? The goal is to kill any mussel larvae that are between the carpets and the pontoons. The area where the carpets meet the pontoons won’t dry anytime soon because it is not exposed to air and I don’t know of another way to disinfect the area before putting the boat in a mussel-free lake.


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Ammonia can cause corrosion to your aluminum if left in contact for a prolonged period of time. The recommended disinfectant to kill zebra mussel larvae is chlorine bleach, but this can also cause corrosion if used the way you propose.

I suggest that you lift you boat off the trailer, spray the pontoons and undercarriage liberally with chlorine bleach, let it work for about 20 to 30 minutes and then rinse it well with water. To lift you boat off the trailer follow the instruction in the following link:


I also recommend applying VS721 to the pontoons to protect them against future zebra mussel attachment. Zebra mussels can’t stick to VS721. If you pontoons are stained, you can use Alumabrite CBX to brighten them.

Thanks for your question,

Captain Aurora
Richard Kittar

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