How to Clean a Boat Bottom: A Quick Guide

Step by step guide to cleaning the bottom of you boat

After taking your boat out on the water for a long fishing or leisure trip, you might be shocked to realize its hull no longer looks as perfect as before. The clean and clear bottom is now covered in algae, dirt, and various water-induced stains. You're probably also asking yourself how will you even begin to wash the bottom of your beloved boat or if the hull can ever go back to the way it was before. 

Rest assured, your boat bottom can indeed regain its impeccable form, but it will take some worthwhile elbow grease on your part. 

Ready to learn how to clean the bottom of your boat? All you need to do is keep on reading for a quick guide on how to clean your boat's bottom. 

Step 1: Remove Your Boat From the Water 

It is possible to clean your boat while it rests in water, but the cleaning process will require good scuba gear, water-safe cleaning supplies, and a lot of time. To make the boat bottom cleaning process easier on yourself, you need to bring your boat out of the water and place it in an area that's cleaning-friendly. A carwash, field, driveway, or parking lot are all good examples of spacious locations you can take your boat. 

Step 2: Gather Your Cleaning Supplies 

Once your boat is in the proper location, you'll need to gather a few supplies. The item you need will include:

  • Hull Cleaner  
  • Water Hose/Power Washer 
  • Bucket
  • Brushes
  • Sponges
  • Microfiber Towels
  • Marine Polish

Before you begin, you need to note you cannot use everyday cleaning products on your boat. These products are not safe for marine life and could be very harmful if transferred to the water from the boat's hull. Instead, read the label of each product you use and purchase marine cleaners designed to interact with wildlife safely. 

Step 3: Wet the Boat Bottom

To begin the cleaning process, wet your boat using a hose or pressure washer. If the grime on the boat bottom is thick, it is best to start with a pressure washer and use your hose later on. The blast from the pressure washer will remove the outer layer of dirt along with any loose materials clinging to the bottom. 

If you do not own a water source of your own, rent one or take your boat to a car wash and use the one provided. 

Step 4: Apply a Hull Cleaner 

After the boat is wet, take your hull cleaner and begin slathering it onto the boat bottom, covering problem areas first. You can either do this with cleaning tools such as rags, brushes, or sponges, just make sure you use gloves during application. Afterward, the cleaner will need to sit for at least two minutes. 

During this time, the chemicals in the hull cleaner will begin breaking down the grime and stains on the boat's bottom, loosening them for the next round of rinsing. When the product is ready for removal, take your hose and rinse the boat bottom until the cleaner is gone. One pass of hull cleaner may be enough to clean the bottom of your boat, but if it isn't, repeat this process until you're pleased with the results. 

Want to clean your boat hull in just 2 minutes? Try our hull cleaner  which has been featured in Coastal Angler Magazine

Our hull cleaner works great with our deck brush

Step 5: Dry the Boat 

Once your boat is thoroughly rinsed and you've reached your desired clean, take a clean towel and dry the exterior of your boat. Getting a good dry will help prevent water spots from forming on the hull and allow you to look for any missed grime. Drying also speeds up the cleaning process, allowing you to move on to the next step quicker. 

The only thing to avoid while drying your boat is hard or rough towels. Towels with those qualities may scratch the exterior of your boat and ruin the paint job. When in doubt, use microfiber or boat-specific towels designed to keep the exterior of your boat intact. 

Here's a great video of our chamois dry towel being used on V8 Jetski.

Step 6: Apply Boat Polish

The last step in your boat washing routine should always include applying polish to the hull of your boat. Polish will create a slick surface most dirt and grime cannot stick to, keeping your boat cleaner longer. The application of polish will also protect the exterior of your boat from sun damage and weathering. 

The directions on boat polish may vary depending on the kind you use, but you will always begin by applying the polish to the exterior of your boat in small circles with a microfiber towel and waiting for it to dry. For further protection against outside factors, consider applying a second coat to the outside of the vessel before putter her back in the water.

Our marine polish works great with microfiber sponge wax applicator set

How Often Should You Wash the Boat Hull? 

To prevent your boat's bottom from reaching an undesirable condition, wash it every month or as soon as you begin to notice stains and growth on the hull. Staying on top of your boat care will lengthen your boat's overall lifespan and shorten the amount of time it will take for you to clean the boat each month. Both you and your boat will thank your proactivity in the long run. 

Kickstarting Your Boat's Clean

Next time your boat bottom requires a cleaning, kickstart the process with a round of effective products designed by Better Boat. Our family-owned boat care company designs each product with you and your boat in mind.

Don't believe us? Let our products speak for themselves.

Explore our website to view our wide selection of products, read reviews directly from past and present customers, or contact our company.

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