a Lund 1875 Crossover XS aluminum boat docked peacefully against an autumn sky.

Boat Cleaning Guide

May 05, 2020

As you cruise over open waters, your boat will collect two things: memories and gunk. Each time you ride your boat, it collects debris, dirty water, dirt, and so on. Regular boat cleaning helps you keep your boat looking like new. Leaving the grime opens you up to boat damage.

We created a beginner’s guide to boat cleaning below. For all your boat needs, visit Gordon Bay Marine. You’ll find us in Lake Joseph, Ontario.

Cleaning Prep

Your cleaning process will be much easier if you do a little prep work. Try to get in the habit of rinsing your boat after every outing. This is especially important if you ride in saltwater since saltwater buildup can corrode parts of your boat. Frequent rinsing helps reduce the buildup, which means less for you to clean later! Then rinse again before you clean to clear off loose debris or grime.

Clean the Boat’s Outside

When you are ready for a deeper cleaning, grab a marine boat wash and soft-bristle boat brush. This brush cleans without damaging the paint or hull. Car wash soap can work in a pinch, but specially-made boat wash is definitely ideal. Whichever you use, make sure it won’t remove wax.

You’ll want to clean in small sections as you’ll need to rinse the soap off before it dries. Otherwise, the soap can leave unappealing streaks and damage the finish. Start at the top and work your way down. The better you clean now, the better protection you’ll get when you wax your boat.

If you are pressed for time, you can let the water air dry. If you can, use a leather or synthetic chamois or squeegee blade to remove excess water. This will prevent water spots.

Wax the Boat

Aim for waxing your boat twice a season. Consider applying a coat before you put it away for winter and then again when you take it out of storage. Waxing offers many benefits for boat maintenance. It makes it harder for dirt and salt crystals to stick. It adds a protective layer against debris and grime so you have to detail less often. It adds an attractive shine. It’s worth the effort and elbow grease!

When shopping for waxes, seek out a special boat wax. After all, cars and boats endure different environments. Cars don’t experience continual contact with water, which means their waxes aren’t meant to endure lots of water. Boat waxes are formulated to deal with the high amount of water contact that boats endure. Keep in mind that cheaper liquid and spray-on carnauba wax products are cheaper for a reason. They don’t give as good of protection.

You also want to polish your boat. These remove oxidation from the gel coat and provide an extra shine. Many boat waxes also include a polish. If yours doesn’t, you’ll want to buy a polish.

Finishing Touches

You’re almost done! There are just a few more areas to clean starting with your upholstery and vinyl. Strong cleaners like bleach and ammonia work quick. But they can damage the material over time. Opt for a sponge and mild soapy water instead.

For your windows, you can use a simple glass cleaner. Opt for a streak-free product so you can stare off into the open waters without issue. Use a broom or hand vacuum to collect and remove any dust or debris on the floors.

For all your boating needs, visit Gordon Bay Marine. Check out our selection of new and used boats. Use our parts replacement and service department to get your current boat running like new. Whatever you need, you’ll find it with us. We proudly serve those in Lake Joseph, Muskoka, and Toronto, Ontario.