Splashing around in the salt water or gliding across a freshwater lake will eventually take a toll on the hull of your boat. Rust stains form, colors fade, and grime build up.
Since each area of your boat requires a different cleanser, we highlight the top cleaners that will help you return it to its original glory from hull to seat.
Choose the best boat cleaner for your needs from our list below and read our guide to find some useful tips that will make your cleaning job a whole lot easier.
What You Need to Clean
As we mentioned, you’ll need different products to clean different areas of your boat, so be sure to match the cleaner to the surface.
- Seats and Covers (in leather or vinyl)
You should also choose based on the type of stain you are removing, from rust to mildew and hard water stains to soap scum.
Number 6 below is great at removing mold and mildew from all vinyl surfaces, from seats to covers and even wall vinyl panels on the inside of the boat.
Be Careful Pressure Washer
What is the fastest way to blast paint and decals right off your boat? By using a pressure washer.
Be careful if you plan to use a pressure washer for cleaning. While it may be great at applying even coats of wax or cleaner at low pressures, the high-pressure jet stream can blast of loose paint and your decals.
In general, it’s best to stick with a normal garden hose with no attachment or use an attachment that allows you to control the water flow.
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Clean at the Right Temperature
Many cleaning products behave best when you clean in cooler temperatures.
Avoid cleaning in direct sunlight (it is too harsh) and move your boat to the shade or wait until the cooler morning or evening hours when the sun is less intense.
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For cleaning your boat’s vinyl seats, covers and any stained rubber areas, you need a bottle of Meguiar’s.
This stuff is great at restoring these materials to their original shine and rejuvenating the color that fades with constant sun (UV) exposure.
It also nourishes vinyl and rubber surfaces, and as you know, these surfaces start to dry out and crack pretty easily if you don’t tend to them soon enough.
It’s like a polish and sunscreen all in one! Great for seats, covers and any other vinyl or rubber surface in your boat.
This is the best boat cleaner for light spot cleaning. It works to rid the surface of dried water stains and adds a shine without removing any wax coatings that you have already applied. Basically, it’s cleaning the wax.
This spray is great for those of you who make it a regular habit of wiping your boat down after every use. It will help you maintain the shine and keep your boat looking brand new all year long.
Just spray it directly on the hull surface and wipe it clean. For those of you who are really picky, you can buff it with a few different rags after the initial wipe down.
For those of you who need a deeper clean (did you take your boat out of the water six months ago and avoid cleaning it until today!?), check out the Star brite cleaner next!
It’s time for a thorough cleaning with Star brite.
Avoid using bleach and other harsh chemicals on the hull that will eat away at the gel coating on your boat. Opt for this instead.
Just apply some of the liquid to a damp sponge or in a low-pressure sprayer and let the product sit on the surface for two minutes. If the stains or grime haven’t been there for long, you can probably just rinse them away once the two minutes is up.
For dirtier hulls, you’ll probably need to use a bit of elbow grease and rub the areas down with a sponge after a second coating, but the results are awesome.
This stuff is pretty strong, so make sure you use a pair of gloves while applying it. You might even feel better with a mask and/or safety goggles.
You won’t realize how dirty your boat actually was until you see this cleaner in action. It works!