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How to Clean Your Boat: Comprehensive Guide

Posted by Louis Karpel on
How to Clean Your Boat: Comprehensive Guide

Nothing beats the feeling of stepping on a shiny deck of a brand new boat for the very first time. Thankfully, there’s a way for boat owners to preserve this brand-new-boat feeling: a regular cleaning routine

Keeping your boat clean isn’t just about aesthetics. It also maintains your boat’s value, makes it more enjoyable to use, and extends its lifespan - all the more reason to grab your favorite cleaning supplies and spend a weekend scrubbing your deck. 

Not sure where to begin? Follow the tips in this article to keep your boat looking its best. 

Get Your Boat Cleaning Supplies 

The very first step to cleaning your boat is gathering the right cleaning supplies. There are a few items that you’re going to want to keep on hand at all times for effective cleaning. 

→ Boat soap: whether you’re going regular everyday cleaning or a deep cleaning session, you’re going to need soap. Look for a gentle, high-quality soap with environmentally-friendly ingredients to protect marine life.

→ Bucket: you’re going to need a bucket to rinse your brushes and mix soap. It’s a good idea to have a couple of buckets on hand.

→ Soft washcloth or sponge: you’ll need it for cleaning glass, painted surfaces, and other places on your boat that you don’t want to scratch.

→ Shammy cloth/towel: these are great for gently drying wet spots.

→ Spot cleaning sponge: if you have a stubborn stain that you can’t remove with just soap and water, it’s a good idea to have a sponge dedicated to spot cleaning.

→ Scrub brushes: make sure you have a variety of scrub brushes with both stiff and soft bristles.

→ Boat-friendly deck cleaner: when soap and water don’t do the trick, use a cleaning solution like SoftScrub or Simple Green 

It’s helpful to keep all of your cleaning supplies in one place for easy access. Consider putting all of them into the same bucket or a box. You may also want to have a washcloth or two on your boat deck to easily clean up things like drink spills right away. 

How to Clean the Inside of Your Boat

It’s important to keep your boat interior clean, including your boat deck, surfaces, and carpet. Make sure to clean your boat interior regularly and use safe products that won’t cause damage to your boat. 

How to Clean Your Boat Deck 

To clean non-skid fiberglass, start with a generous rinse and a nice scrub using a bristle brush. Soapy water will generally do the trick, but you may consider using a dedicated cleaning solution for stubborn stains. However, it’s important to not go overboard and use a gentle cleaner as some of them can be tough on non-skid surfaces. 

Make sure to not use wax on non-skid surfaces. It’s going to make your boat deck slippery. 

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How to Replace Floor in a Boat: The Ultimate Guide

How to Clean Your Boat Carpet

Start with vacuuming your carpet to remove loose dirt and move on to scrubbing with a brush and a gentle carpet cleaner. Make sure to dry the carpet after you’re done cleaning. If not, it can get moldy. 

It’s important to regularly clean your marine carpet because it’s prone to accumulating dirt and bacteria, which can cause bad appearance, smell, and rotting. If you’re looking for a marine carpet alternative that’s significantly easier to maintain, try foam flooring.  

How to Clean Your Boat Cushions

Cleaning your boat cushions a couple of times per year helps them look their best and prevents mildew. Start with removing the cushion covers and washing them in cold water and letting them dry naturally. Washing them in hot water or using a dryer can cause shrinking. 

To clean the pillows, mix equal parts vinegar and water, mist or wipe the cushions, and let them dry until the smell of the vinegar goes away. 

How to Clean The Outside of Your Boat

Cleaning your hull, gel coat surfaces, and boat canvas is an important part of boat maintenance. Different boats have different needs, but it’s important to have a regular cleaning routine or even outsource to a professional cleaning service for tricky parts like your boat engine. 

To wash your boat exterior, start with a general rinse and remove things like stuck seaweed and dirt. Proceed to wash your boat with soapy water using a soft brush, give it another rinse, and leave it to dry. You may also consider waxing your hullsides and gel-coated surfaces to keep them shiny and minimize oxidation. 

How to Clean the Bottom of Your Boat

The bottom of your boat is prone to getting covered in algae and other water-related debris, especially if your boat spends a lot of time in the water. To clean your boat hull, start with removing your boat from the water and using a pressure washer or a hose to remove as much dirt and grime as possible.

Apply a dedicated, marine-friendly hull cleaner and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Once the cleaner loosens up the dirt, proceed to rinse and spot clean problem areas. You may have to repeat this process a few times to get the best result. Let your boat’s bottom dry and finish up with applying a boat polish. 

How to Clean Your Boat After Salt Water

Cleaning your boat after using it in salt water requires the same routine of rinsing and cleaning with soapy water and a brush. You don’t need to do anything special. 

However, it’s especially important to remember to clean your boat after it’s been in contact with salt water. Salt water is a harsh natural element that can scratch, rust, and cause abrasions to your boat. 

How to Keep Your Boat Clean 

Cleaning your boat clean is one of the most important responsibilities as a boat owner. Without regular cleaning, your boat will quickly deteriorate and become enjoyable to use. To keep your boat clean, make sure to always have appropriate cleaning supplies on hand and stick to a consistent cleaning schedule.

Moreover, consider investing in boat materials that are easy to clean. For example, you can replace marine carpet (which is prone to accumulating dirt) with marine-grade foam, which is significantly easier to clean. 

DEKit formulates industry-leading foam boat flooring to improve your boating experience with years of enjoyment, beauty, and comfort. DEKit foam flooring is: 

→ Easy to clean

→ Completely customizable

→ Resistant & reliable 

Learn more about DEKit foam flooring and how it can transform your boat and cleaning routine. 

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