Guide to Boat Cleaning – Step-by-Step
- Use a hose to clean your boat of any dirt or debris. You should start at the highest point. Otherwise, dirty water will eventually be poured over areas you have already sprayed.
- Add soap made specifically for cleaning boats to a bucket of water. Use household cleaners only. They may damage the gel coat and cause pH imbalances.
- Wash small areas with a wash mitt or scrub with a soft toothbrush . Rinse immediately. Dry soap can leave a film on the skin or scratch the wax layer. Rinse from the top, just like with rinsing. You should not scrub too hard as you could scratch the surface and embed contaminants. Let the soap do all the work.
- To perform your final rinse remove the nozzle and let the water run to prevent water spots and beading.
- To dry everything you have washed, use a highly absorbent towel or chamois. Use the Absorber to dry your boat’s exterior and interior surfaces. This will prevent any water-borne residue. You can inspect your boat’s surface for any flaws and streaks, even if you do not have to use as much labor.
- Polish the surface in preparation for waxing or sealing. Follow the instructions for applying your wax or sealant.
How Often Do You Need to Clean a Boat?
There are many factors that influence how often you should wash your boats. It is a good idea to rinse your boat and dry it after every outing. It doesn’t matter if you use soap every time. In fact, it could cause the wax to break down. A quality sealant can protect your boat for up to a season. Other detailing work can be performed as needed.
Do it yourself or hire a professional?
It is not easy to detail a boat. You can do it if you have the time and the physical ability. There are many how-to-wash a boat yourself guides that will help. Detailing services can also be provided by boatyards, dealers and mobile services. Costs for hiring a professional can vary depending on the services you need and how big your boat is. Some companies charge $50 an hour, while others charge by the boat size.
Full Boat Detailing Tips & Topside Tasks:
- Use a soft brush to clean the windows and windshields. Dry with The Absorber
- Vacuum flooring and seats
- Use a stiff brush to scrub nonskid flooring and teak.
- Polish chrome railings, ladders and cleats.
- Apply a vinyl cleaner that has a UV blocker to vinyl seats
- Clean your instrumentation gauges with Dash Gear
- To prevent mildew and mold growth, cover the boat with a canvas.
Boat Sealants vs. boat wax
Both sealants and waxes are made to protect your boat from the elements, including salt, grime and UV rays. Although sealants were once considered too harsh, they have improved and are now much easier to use. They are able to fill the pores of the gel coat, and they dry to a hard finish that will last the entire season. However, it is important to choose a sealant that can be used with gel coat finishes. It must be micro-cleaning, polishing, and not abrasive. Avoid using an automotive sealant that doesn’t specifically state it can be used on gel coat surfaces.
How to Clean Boat Carpets Quickly
Regularly vacuum and spot clean your carpets. A steamer is the best option for deep cleaning. These are the steps for cleaning your carpet yourself if that is not possible.
- Place the boat on a trailer and park it on a slope, with the stern towards the bottom.
- Take out the drain plug.
- Use either a bucket with soapy water, or a 2-gallon pump-sprayer containing a solution containing water and 2 to 3 pints white vinegar, to soak the carpet. Then scrub it with a brush.
- You can rinse it with a hose to get as much soap as you want. The water will drain through the bilge drain plug.
- Vacuum the carpet to speed up drying.
Remove Hard Water Stains from Boats
Many boats are plagued by hard water stains, particularly below and along the waterline. You can use vinegar, water and other acid-based products to remove hard water spots. Wear long sleeves, gloves and goggles to ensure safety. After cleaning, rinse thoroughly and dry with The Absorber.