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How To Clean Your Boat

Being the beautiful creatures that boats are, it isn’t surprising that they’re also a little high maintenance. In order to really enjoy using your boat and keep it in top shape, however, you don’t have to spend too much time cleaning and re-cleaning it again and again.

In fact, if you are smart about how you maintain your boat, you’ll find that it actually takes a lot less effort than you imagined. The following tips will help you keep it slick and new:


Buffing your boat is important, but save that for after a thorough cleaning. Otherwise, the finished waxing results will not look as impressive. While cleaning, you should make sure that you’ve bought the right cleaning equipment and cleaning agents.

Think about your own convenience and the problems you normally encounter while cleaning your boat. In order to reach all the pesky nooks and crannies of your boat, get a brush with a long handle. Bristles that are too hard might scratch the surfaces you clean, so use medium-soft bristles.

When it comes to cleaning agents, remember that the regular products you use for home will not be able to do proper justice to your boat. If you use your boat on sea or ocean-water or otherwise brackish waters, then scrubbing away the build-up of salt is tough to do for normal cleaning agents.

There are also ethical concerns—you don’t want to use cleaning agents such as bleach that hamper the biodiversity in those waters either.

Your best option is to get a biodegradable soap with a balanced pH, which is mild enough to not be corrosive but strong enough to be effective.

Your boat is likely to be exposed frequently to sunlight, salt-water, so make sure both your equipment and cleaning agents can withstand these pressures. Your equipment should also be able to withstand regular use and contact with cleaning agents. Store them in a dry and cool area when not in use.

Rinse your boat completely before you begin scrubbing, otherwise the gel finish of your boat will be compromised. Finish one section of the boat at a time, and remember to cover every area where grime or salt may have accumulated.

Dry up the surfaces immediately after washing to avoid unsightly spots. Use soft cloths and mops that won’t cause scratching but will absorb water fast, such as chamois.

Some Extra Steps

Parts of your boat might contain glass, wood, metal, and synthetic resins that require additional care. Make sure your glasses have a silicon polish in place, and clean simply with water and some vinegar mixed.

For stainless steel or chrome surfaces, use quality oxidation removers and cleaners designed for such use. The vinyl upholstery of your boat too require special cleaning agents, and at times stain removers.

For teak surfaces, you can stick with the cleansers used for the rest of the boat, but follow up with teak oil. Also use sandpaper to restore its initial quality if it loses its vigor. For rubrails, use the tire cleaners you use for your cars.

After all the cleaning is done, you can get on to waxing your boat. You don’t have to do this after every cleaning session but it’s smart to wax a few times every season. Use a thick paste wax instead of a spray-on carnauba wax.

Although it takes more effort and time, the result is a more durable wax finish. Apply two coats to really protect the fiberglass properly, and then a further coat of the liquid spray-on wax for that extra gleam.

Remember that boat maintenance is also about prevention, and steps like rinsing off salt after every ride in freshwater, or storing your boat in a shady area too can go a long way in keeping your boat looking good.


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