You take great pride in owning a boat and love seeing it glisten under the sunlight, both on the dock and in the water. To keep your vessel sparkling clean, however, you can’t just use any kind of cleaning supplies. Watercraft require specific types of cleaners and tools to safely remove dirt and grime. To help you keep your boat looking pristine, Boatline is breaking down nine essential supplies for cleaning your boat.
1. Marine Vinyl Cleaner and Furniture Polish
To keep your upholstery well-maintained, always keep a quality marine vinyl cleaner to remove grime, dirt, or spills. For best results, it is helpful to first use a damp cloth for your vinyl fixtures before you apply the vinyl cleaner. Once you have removed the dirt and grime, finish the job with a light film of furniture polish. Let it sit then wipe with a clean cloth. This polish is important as it will serve as a protectant by preserving your upholstery and help prevent future stains.
2. Metal Polish and Sealant
Find quality polish and sealants to keep your boat’s stainless steel, chrome, brass, and other metal fixtures protected and shiny. It is best to make this a regular routine if you want your boat looking extra sparkly. Apply a small layer of polish, let it sit for roughly half an hour, then wipe with a clean cloth.
If your boat’s metal fixtures are pitted or oxidized, apply metal wax to the area and let it sit overnight. Gently scrub the problem areas with fine bronze wool and repeat this process as needed. After a few times, your metalwork will look significantly better.
After you have cleaned and dried your boat, it is helpful to apply wax and buff to protect the fiberglass. Wax your boat at least once or twice during the boating season to preserve the hull’s luster and protect your vessel from the elements and impurities.
4. Biodegradable Bilge Cleaner and Bucket
Open your boat’s bilge area and apply bilge cleaner to all surfaces. Make sure the cleaner touches all nooks and crevices. Let the cleaner soak for a few hours and use your scrub brush to loosen dirt and grime. Spray water afterward to push grime and debris down to the bottom of the bilge. It is best to remove this residue using a sponge and bucket so you don’t discharge any oil runoff into the water.
5. Environmentally Friendly Soap
It is imperative to find the correct soap that is both tough on grime, salt, and marine matter while still easy on the environment. You should not use the same type of soap you typically use at home. Seek out a biodegradable cleaner, containing a neutral pH level. If you take your boat out for saltwater fishing, it is very important to completely remove the salt build-up with soap and fresh water since salt’s corrosive nature can eat away at your boat if you are not thoroughly cleaning it. When in doubt, read the instructions on the cleaning product’s bottle.
Likewise, when cleaning the deck, make sure you use the correct cleaning product. Some boat owners will use bleach to scrub their decks, however, it is more beneficial to use Borax or hydrogen peroxide, as bleach is detrimental to the environment.
6. Scrub Brushes
Avoid using scrub brushes that have rough bristles that could potentially damage your boat’s finish. Oftentimes, a brush with medium-soft bristles will effectively do the job. Make sure you use a scrub brush with a long, sturdy handle for hard-to-reach areas. This will also provide more leverage, minimizing strain on your back and arms.
Make sure to dry your boat with soft, highly absorbent cloths, such as chamois or microfiber. These materials will help prevent stripping or scratching your boat, while absorbing water efficiently. For best results, make sure you dry your boat immediately after washing and rinsing to avoid seeing water spots all over your vessel.
8. Teak Oil
Teak is a preferred wood for boats of all types, from powerboats to sailboats. Because of how expensive teak is, you’ll want to take extra care in cleaning it and keep teak oil handy. For best results, wash teak with mild detergent, rinse with water, dry with a soft towel, then apply the teak oil.
Vacuums are always handy, especially if your boat is carpeted. It is helpful to use hose attachments to suck up sand and dirt stuck in the nooks and crannies. When vacuuming, make sure to start from the front of the cabin, near the bow, and work your way backward toward the stern. This will prevent you from stepping on already cleaned areas.
Cleaning your boat is a labor of love, and utilizing these essential cleaning supplies will ensure that your vessel is looking good for future excursions on the water. Check out our previous article for more tips for washing your boat. And, make sure to check out the new and used boat listings on Boatline.com for your next watercraft purchase.