How to Clean a Boat With the Right Boat Soap

How to clean a boat with soap
According to a Coast Guard Study done in 2020, there are about 25 million boats registered in the United States. Each one of these vessels requires regular maintenance and care to run for as long as possible. This is a responsibility that every boat owner takes when they purchase their first boat.

But how do you clean a boat? Is there such a thing as boat soap on the market? Can you just use an all-purpose cleaner on it?

The good news is that there is such a thing as boat soaps and boat cleaners. Read on to learn what materials you should be looking for to clean your boat.

Cleaning a Boat

Maintaining a boat is a lot of work and responsibility. Part of this maintenance is cleaning it. This ensures that your boat is sanitary for you and any guests that might join you on it. For those who like to fish, it also ensures that you have a clean space to store and clean your catch when you're ready.

Everything from the hull to the airhorn needs cleaning every once in a while. But before you can start cleaning a boat, you first need to know what cleaning materials you need.

Materials on Your Boat

You can't just use any of the all-purpose soaps you get at a grocery store on your boat. Each surface on your boat has different needs, and the cleaners you use should reflect that.


One of the first things that you should think about is any upholstery on your boat. This should mostly be any seating you have available. 

Most of the time, this is going to be made of either waterproof leather or synthetic leather. If you use just any cleaner on it, you could damage the waterproofing on it.

customer's review on Better Boat's fabric waterproof spray



If you have a larger boat that's meant for entertaining, then you probably have counters on it. There are a lot of materials that a counter could be made of such as wood or stone. You might even have a resin feature in your counters.

The material that makes up your counters will determine what kind of cleaner you should use. You should be aware of any protective coatings on your counters before you begin as well. This will help you determine what cleaning materials you should use on your boat's countertops.


Chances are, your deck was made with pressure-treated wood. There's also most likely a waterproof coating on it. This protects it from sunlight, water, and even termites.

Your goal with cleaning the deck is to wash away the dirt without making it slippery. The last thing that you want is to compromise your boat's safety while you're trying to clean it.

To accomplish this goal, you should be careful when selecting cleaners for your deck. You want to make sure it won't make the surface slick enough for someone to slip and fall overboard. It should also be strong enough to clean any stubborn stains on the deck.

Different Types of Boat Soap

Once you've determined what materials you have that need cleaning, then it's time to select your cleaners. Usually, these four cleaners are sufficient to get your boat as clean as the day you bought it.

Boat Soap

You may not be able to use just any all-purpose soaps from a grocery store, but you can use an all-purpose boat soap on virtually every surface of your boat. This includes the upholstery and the deck. 

The only word of caution you should follow is to make sure you know what surfaces are more delicate on your boat before you begin.

Better Boat premium boat soap concentrate cleaner

Deck Cleaner

If you're not entirely sure what cleaning materials you should use, then it's always best to use cleaners designed for the surface. Deck cleaner, in this case, is a good example of this.

This cuts through dirt, salt, and grime easily to leave your boat's deck nice and clean. At the same time, it doesn't leave your deck slippery. This means that you and any passengers feel safer knowing there's no risk of slipping. 

That makes it much easier to relax and enjoy yourself while you're out at sea in your nice clean boat.

Better Boat deck cleaner, brushes and extension Pole


Hull Cleaner

If you use your boat often, then it's recommended that you should raise your boat and clean the hull at least once every other month. This keeps barnacles and grime from building up on the sides of your boat and impeding your boat's speed.

For this job, you want to use a hull cleaner. This is designed to break down any of this grime and dirt so that you can get back to cruising to your heart's content.

Once you've finished cleaning it, you should also make sure to wax it afterward so that it stays cleaner longer and the paint stays protected.


Better Boat premium instant hull cleaner


Leather Cleaner

When it's time to clean any leather on your boat, you want to be sure you're taking care of it properly. Some cleaners might scratch or discolor the leather over time. That's why it's so important to select your cleaners carefully for your leather.

The good news is that you can find leather cleaners specifically for boat upholstery. This ensures that your leather is clean without damaging it. It won't damage any waterproof protection applied to the leather either. 

This is the best way to keep your leather as good as new for as long as possible.

Here's a great video on how to take care of your seats or interior using our leather and vinyl cleaner and upholstery brush!


Get Your Boat Soap Today

No matter what kind of boat you have, a good boat soap is essential to its care. Every vessel from the most luxurious superyacht to the smallest aluminum fishing boat should receive the utmost possible care.

That's why Better Boat has a wide selection of boat cleaners for you to choose from including brushes and rags. We're the best place to get everything you need to take care of your boat.

Pick out a selection of our green boat soaps today and see how we can help you take care of your boat.

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