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10 Boat Cleaning Tips to Keep Your Vessel Shining

July 2, 2020

4 min read

Don't skip these 10 boat cleaning tips!

Blog Post-Jun-29-2020-01-21-13-71-PM

You love the water. But you can’t wait to hop in the shower after a day at the lake.

Why? Mud, silt, bugs, and algae don't exactly make you feel fresh. They get your boat filthy, too.

Don’t sweat it! We found 10 professional tips to help you keep your boat clean and ready for adventure.


10 Boat Cleaning Tips

1. Choose Your Cleaner Carefully

The American Boating Association recommends environmentally friendly soaps. That’s because concentrated detergents can strip away and damage finishes when left on for extended periods of time.

Sailors for the Sea recommends Shurhold Brite Wash and Meguiar's Mirror Glaze Boat/RV Gel Wash for their commitment to the environment and their cleaning ability.

When you head below deck, cleaners like Seventh Generation and Bon Ami are both excellent options.

2. Give It a Rinse

Scrubbing a dry boat can scratch and damage that beautiful finish. Start by rinsing your boat from the top down to remove loose dirt and grime.

3. Give the Hull a Wash

Give your boat a thorough wash using water, your boat wash, and a soft sponge. Make sure to get all the corners and underneath the seats.

What about fiberglass and aluminum boats? Mike Sneed, service manager of Tracker Boat Center® in Springfield, Missouri, says, "The best thing to do is wash, or at least wipe down, the boat every time it’s pulled out of the water. This will keep dirty lake water from staining the fiberglass colors."

4. Rinse Again

Starting at the top, give your boat another rinse. Make sure to remove all the soapy water.

5. Dry Your Boat

Use a soft cloth to dry your boat. It’ll leave a nice, streak-free finish to prepare your boat for waxing.

6. Wax On, Wax Off

A coat of wax keeps your boat looking shiny and new. In a circular motion, apply wax to the hull of your boat. Once it dries, remove the excess wax with a soft bath towel.

7. Clean the Canvas

Left unchecked, mold and mildew can quickly form on any canvas on your boat. The Great Lakes Boat Top Company suggests cleaning your canvas with lukewarm water and dish detergent, followed by a clear water rinse. Allow the canvas to air dry after it’s clean.

Your canvas or Dacron sails won't need too much maintenance. Sailmaker FX Sails recommends hosing your sails down after using them and giving them time to dry before stowing them. When you do need to wash them, mild soap, water, and a soft brush work in most cases.

8. What About Teak?

Boatmaker Chris-Craft is a company known for its teak woodworking. They recommend cleaning teak by scrubbing across the grain with water, a mild cleanser, and a soft plastic bristle brush.

Chris-Craft says, "There is no need to add coats of teak sealers or oils, other than for the cosmetic appearance. But if you wish to maintain this appearance, use a teak sealer rather than oil. Oils darken the wood, making it hotter and more slippery, negating teak's natural non-slip surface."

9. Clean Your Outboard Engine

Writing for Bass Pro Shops, Justin Hoffman suggests a simple mix of dish soap and water to clean your outboard engine.

"For tough spots, a commercial degreaser will get the job done,” Hoffman says. “Spray on and use a soft bristled brush or coarse sponge."

Once you are done, give it a rinse and dry the engine with a clean towel.


10. Clean Vinyl Boat Seats

Though they’re designed for watery environments, your boat seats last longer if you clean them regularly. The Dockside Canvas Company suggests using mild soap and water to clean the seats.

Rinse them with clean water and wipe them dry with a soft towel. Adding a UV protectant to the seats can prolong the life of the upholstery.

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Now that your boat is sparkling and clean, protect it from accidents. Your local, licensed Pekin Insurance agent will help you find the right insurance plan for your boat and budget.

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