boat cleaning

Great Tips for Boat Cleaning

The weather is warmer, and open waters are calling! If you have the blessing of owning your own boat, you’ll know how much of a responsibility it is. Besides keeping it running well, you want it to look good. Beyond looking good though, keeping the boat clean can extend the lifespan, as you are keeping it safe from the elements. Before you launch that baby to water, here is a helpful boat cleaning list to go over!

Boat Exterior Cleaning

Teak Flooring

Regular Cleaning: Simply scrub with soapy water, at least on a monthly basis, depending on usage.

Deep Cleaning: If your teak is looking mottled and black, you will need a deeper clean. Before getting into the hard-core cleaners, it is best to remove it so that you don’t damage the surrounding gel coat, metals, and paint. Use a mild-moderate acid-based teak cleaner. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.


Hose down the canvasing, then lightly scrub with a soft brush using light soap. Rinse it well. If it’s a small canvas, you might be able to stick it in the washing machine. Wash on warm with a little soap and 2 whole cups of baking soda. Some use bleach, but go with the less abrasive option first or refer to the manufacturers cleaning instructions.

If you have clear canvas made from polyvinyl or acrylic, gently wash it with soapy water and a microfiber cloth or non-abrasive sponge. You will need to clean this type more often to keep it in good shape. Use a squeegee to avoid water spots. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on polishing and protecting procedures.

Gel-Coat Surfaces / Hull

These surfaces will need serious maintenance and protection to avoid oxidation and continue to shine. Once a year, apply a base coat of two layers of paste wax. Once a month, apply a liquid carnauba wax for added shine. After every use, wash the boat down with boat soap containing liquid wax. For a hull bottom that sits in a wet slip, have it painted with an anti-fouling paint.

Boat Engine

Your boat engine will need regular cleaning both inside and out no matter where it is located. If your engine is inboard, it is best to leave it to a boat cleaning pro, as there are electrical components that can get damaged by cleaning chemicals. If your engine is outboard, wax the exterior and cowl. Wash them down with soapy water after every use. The surfaces are much like an automotive’s. Treat them as you would treat a car’s. Use wash mitts or microfiber cloths. Never use abrasive cleaning tools. Here’s a helpful article with more tips to follow on cleaning your outboard engine.

Boat Interior Cleaning

Carpet: Vacuum first, then use your elbow grease to scrub it down with a stiff bristle brush, soap, and water. Make sure you have a good drying method, using either a wet-vac or fans.

Vinyl: Stay away from harsh chemicals and stick to gentle soapy water and a soft rag. Clean the vinyl surfaces every time you use the boat to keep it as clean as possible. If you run into a tough stain, use a marine vinyl cleaner followed by a vinyl protectant.

Fiberglass: If it is a non-slip surface, be sure to avoid a cleaner containing wax. Instead, use mild soap, water, and a stiff bristle brush. You may consider bleach for tough stains, but be aware that it is rough on fiberglass. Treat it after the clean with a specialized non-skid treatment.

Bottom Line

Having a boat is a joy for so many reasons. The cleaning and maintaining can definitely be worth the use you’ll get out of it. If you are bad about remembering when to clean it, make a schedule to post inside the boat or put it on your calendar. Don’t forget to take the time to clean your boat after each use.

Don’t feel like doing the deep scrub down it needs to get it ready for the season? So Clean has a wonderful team of partners that will exceed your boat cleaning expectations! We know trained and experienced professionals at handling boat cleaning, so you can trust your boat will get the best treatment. Contact us today to get booked!

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