10 Easy Boat Cleaning Tips and Maintenance Tasks

The water is a lovely experience to be out on under the summer sun with friends. Let’s face it though. When we come home, it’s typical to have ourselves or are boats covered in a mix of silt, mud, bugs, grass, and slime. It’s not the freshest feeling, is it?

Unless you are inclined to buy a new boat for yourself, you won’t want your current boat to deteriorate in its physical condition. Over time, all the dirt and grime can wear at the appearance of your boat. Here are ten boat cleaning tips to keep in mind to help maintain the look and function of your vessel.

1. Wipe down windows

Permanent water spotting happens. Using a microfiber towel, any excess water on a window’s easily removed. The minerals in the water will otherwise leave marks. This aside, regular glass cleaner also can work on boat windows however can be more time-consuming than simply wiping down with a microfiber towel or cloth.

2. Spray down with fresh water

When you start to clean, spray down the exterior with fresh water. Wait a few minutes and the water should dissolve any harsh chemicals that may be sticking. If you use your boat in saltwater regularly, it’s a necessary step to spray down the boat at least once a month to help clean off salt. If you don’t spray down, the salt is very corrosive and will damage your boat. Also, avoid a high-pressure nozzle. All you need is a normal garden hose nozzle to rinse a boat.

3. Spray down the hull

Using only water, a little bit of eco-friendly boat wash, and a soft sponge, you can give one heck of a wash. Underneath the seats and in all the corners, get going with your sponge. If the boat is fiberglass or aluminum, you may want to wash and wipe it down any time you pull it out of the water. This is all an effort to keep dirty water from staining fiberglass colors.

4. Choosing the right cleaner

Environmentally sustainable and eco-friendly soaps are highly recommended for boats over concentrated detergents which are known to damage finishes, strip away paint, and attack a boat’s aesthetic. This is perhaps the most basic rule to boat cleaning. You shouldn’t have to tap into chemicals to get the gunk off the outside of your boat.

5. Cleaning the canvas

Mold and mildew can quickly form on a canvas. Cleaning with a little lukewarm water and dish detergent goes a long way in preventing this from happening. Once completed, give it a clear water rinse and let it air dry. Canvas doesn’t need too much maintenance, as do your sails. A similar approach should be taken to your sails, with mild soap and water and a soft brush before letting it air-dry.

6. Drying the boat

If you are preparing your boat for waxing, you will need to use a soft cloth after a clean to dry it. Achieve a streak-free finish with a nice microfiber cloth or towel. After you’ve wiped away any product or wash left over, your boat’s ready to move forward with wax maintenance.

7. Applying wax

A lot of boat owners are in love with using wax as a coat can keep your boat looking shiny and new for a long time to come. The first step to getting this done is to buy high quality boat wax. From there, apply it in a circular motion to the hull. After your wax dries, you can remove any excess with a soft bath towel. This extra step is taken by a lot of boat owners invested in appearances and going the extra mile to maintain aesthetic.

8. Teak woodworking

Teak woodworking on boats require little maintenance. Cleaning with water, mild cleanser, and the softest bristle brush you can find is enough to get a good scrub across the grain. There’s no need to add teak sellers or oils other than for cosmetic reasons. Should you decide to go that route, a teak sealer is preferred as oils can darken the wood which will make it much higher in temperature and more slippery.

9. The outboard engine

The outboard engine can be cleaned with dish soap and water although you may run into tougher spots here and there requiring a commercial degreaser. You have a little more freedom here to do some more abrasive cleaning as you don’t need to factor in appearances. For hard-to-handle spots, spray on a degreaser and use a soft bristle brush or coarse sponge to do the job. Once done, give the engine a quick rinse and then dry it with a clean towel.

10. Cleaning vinyl boat seats

Vinyl seats in a boat are designed and made for being surrounded with water. Even so, they’ll appear tidier by cleaning them regularly. Once again, a mild soap and water can be used to clean these seats. Rinse them and then, wipe completely dry with a soft towel. Some may prefer to apply a UV protectant as well to help maintain appearances.

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