The Do's and Don'ts of Boat Cleaning

In days of boating past, ships would have their washrooms cleaned by the natural motion of the waves. Known as the heads, these natural latrines cut down on the tasks required when maintaining the vessel.

However, a modern boat requires a little more work, but do you know how to do it properly?

Boat cleaning is essential to keep your investment looking ship shape. Read on as we discuss the do and don't of boat cleaning. 

Do Stock Up

Boat maintenance, and especially cleaning, can be a lot quicker and efficient if you have the right equipment. Start by making sure you have a hose hook up or a light water washer. High impact pressure washers can be too harsh.

Get a bucket or two to rinse off the dirty water. This should be a light cloth or wash mitten. You will also need some long-handled brushes, both stiff and soft versions. 

Helpful, but not essential, are a dry microfibre cloth for the inside of the boat. Buffing balls affixed to a drill can give it a great, shiny finish. 

Don’t Choose the Wrong Cleaners

As well as the tools listed above, you will need cleaners and sealants for your vessel. One of the best boat care tips is that you get what you pay for. You will also need a good amount, as cleaning products for boats do not tend to have universal uses that you would find on products for a car. 

The first item on the list is boat soap and polish. If you are on saltwater, this is even more essential as you will be more prone to marine buildup. 

The chrome on the boat also needs special cleaner, as other products can result in pitting and rust. A quality metal polish will give it sparkle and shine, protecting it while making your boat look fantastic. By investing in better quality products now, you will save money down the line as your boats last longer and hold more value. 

Do Take Time on Glass

There are usually few glass areas on a boat, which means they can often be overlooked. However, even the most well-maintained boat can have its appearance tarnished by clouded and smeared glass fittings. 

One of the best glass cleaning solutions is to mix water and strong vinegar. Apply this using newspaper, cleaning in concentric circles. This does not leave marks and you will not get lint and fibers that would remain with a cloth. 

Unfortunately, scratches on plexiglass and glass can not be fixed. Guard against them occurring in the first instance by adding a silicone spray to the surfaces after washing and using a safe window squeegee.

Silicone squeegee for windows, cars and boat

Don’t Forget to Rinse Before

Just because your boat resides in the water, does not mean it is always clean. Salts, dirt, and marine residue can build up on the hull. If you apply treatments on top of this, then they can get locked in and scratch and corrode the surface. 

Make a habit of hosing down the boat every time it comes out of the water. Hose it again before giving it a clean to take off any surface residue. Once rinsed, you can carry on washing it as normal and get the excellent finish you desire. 

Be sure to take a look at our hose nozzle.

Better Boat Boat Soap Hose

Do Clean Carpets

If you have carpets on board, then cleaning them is an essential part of boat maintenance. As they have increased exposure to moisture and water, it is easy for them to quickly discolor and become unsightly. You should vacuum and spot clean your carpet regularly. 

Ideally, it should have a steam clean once in a while. If not, then you can use a DIY method. 

Park the boat trailer on a slope, so that the stern is on the lower end. Remove the drain plug, then soak the carpet with a solution of vinegar and water. Scrub it with a brush, making sure you get deep into the carpet fibers. 

Rinse it all down with a hose and let the water drain out through the plug. You can then vacuum the carpet to help it dry out quicker. Give it time to dry fully before putting the boat into storage or taking it out again. 

Don't Let It Air Dry

Water sources contain minerals. When they air dry, these can be left behind on the hull of your boat. This can cause it to look like it has white specks and patches.

While they won't do damage, they do not look great and can impact the appearance of the boat. Instead of letting the boat air dry, wipe it with a microfiber cloth, removing as much water as possible. This will give it a much more even finish. 

Do Degrease the Engine

Cleaning and degreasing the engine is essential at the end of a season. It should be included in your preparation for winterizing the boat. Many people prefer to hire a professional to do this, but you can complete it yourself. 

Get a high-quality degreaser and apply it to a cloth. Rub the engine's parts to remove accumulated oil, grease, and dirt. After this, you can protect it with a moisture shield, available from most good boat supply stores. Take a look at our marine degreaser.  People love it.

Boat Cleaning

Now you know the important tips for boat cleaning, you just need to stock up on equipment. Create a schedule for maintenance when you use the boat and a one for the beginning and end of the season. This will keep your boat maintained and prolong its life. 

Your first stop for cleaning products should be Better Boat. From bilge cleaners to sealants, we provide high-quality goods for all your needs. Click here to see our whole range of products. 

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