How to Choose the Best Cleaning Products for Your Boat

How to Choose the Best Cleaning Products for Your Boat
Man washing the boat
Every boat owner needs to know how to clean a boat, it’s not just about keeping your boat looking great, but it’s also a part of basic boat maintenance. 


Boats are regularly exposed to the elements. Boats can become damaged from the combination of sun, water, and wind over time. Every owner must know how to keep their boat clean and protected. 

While boat cleaning can be time-consuming and tedious, it is vital. Although you can pay someone to do it, professional detailing can be quite expensive. This article will give you a detailed guideline on cleaning your boat. 

Exterior Care  

Your hull’s material is important when it comes to cleaning. The same goes for your choice of cleaning products. Do not grab household cleaning products from under your kitchen sink. This could cause damage to your boat. You should instead choose marine-grade cleaning products with a neutral pH of 7. This will not harm your hull’s surface. 

Aluminium Boats 

To remove waterline marks and surface stains from aluminium boats, use a marine cleaner every few months. To ensure that the cleaner doesn’t leave marks on the surface, start at the bottom, and work your way up. Use a soft cloth to apply an aluminium polish. To keep your boat clean and free from oxidation or pollutants, rinse it every few weeks. 


A quick rinse with water and a hose once a week will keep the grime off fibreglass hulls. A boat soap should only be used if your boat is dirty. Otherwise, the gelcoat’s integrity could be compromised by washing it with soap every week. Avoid scratching your boat by using a chamois or fresh cloth to dry it. Finally, buff any water spots with a soft cloth. To maintain and restore the gelcoat, you can apply a boat wax two to three times a year. 

Canvas and Isinglass 

Regular cleaning is necessary to prevent mould and staining on your boat’s canvas or Isinglass panel. They can be kept clean by a simple hose-down, gentle scrub using a soft brush and mild soapy water. To avoid the formation of water spots, rinse with warm water and dry with a chamois. 


You probably know that your boat’s teak deck, panelling or other external structural timber needs to be maintained to protect it against UV damage, salt water, and the weathering effects from wind. You can keep your wooden surfaces clean by brushing them with mild soapy water. However, you should consult the manufacturer before applying any oiling, staining, or waxing. 


Boat engines need to be cleaned inside and out regularly, no matter if they are inboard or outboard. If you have an outboard engine, this involves waxing the cowl or exterior, then washing them down using soap and water. These surfaces are similar to automotive finishes. You should treat them like you would treat your car. Use microfiber towels or wash mitts. Do not use an abrasive bristle brush to touch the outboard cowl. 

What about under the cowl? Or the engine in the case of an Inboard? It is essential to remove all accumulated dirt and grime. Keep in mind, however, that some cleaners or chemicals can damage components and electrical wires. Engine cleaning should not be done on a surface. 

Maintain an interior of superior quality 

Now that your exterior is in order, it’s the right time to clean your interior. First, you should not use bleach. You should only use a product that is specifically made for boat care to remove mould and mildew. Regular household bleach is too harsh for boat surfaces. It can damage stitching and crack vinyl. Also, it tends to end up in places you don’t want, such as on carpets. 

When it comes to carpet care,  Marine Carpet can make an enormous difference in the freshness of your boat’s smell, dry or wet. Marine carpet is built to resist moisture, but it can quickly become stale if it’s not cleaned properly. You can improve your marine carpet’s life expectancy by up to 50% by regularly vacuuming it and doing spot cleans with soapy water. 

Cushions and seats 

To remove any mould, salt, or sunscreen products that might be embedded in cushions and seats, it is important to wipe them down with a special vinyl cleaner. You can buy boat vinyl cleaner from boat supply stores or online. You can wash fabric cushion covers in your washer, but make sure to read the care instructions of your manufacturer. Avoid tumble drying in cases where shrinkage is possible. 

Non-slip fibreglass 

Nonslip fibreglass surface will benefit from a regular brush using a stiff-bristle mop, followed by a non-skid deck treatment with polymers to protect the surface. 


Vinyl can be found on all kinds of boats, including those with lots of seating for cruising and water sports. The modern marine vinyls are made from anti-microbials, and these are the best protection against mould and mildew. Keep vinyls clean and give them a gentle wash with soapy water and a soft cloth every time you use your boat. You should use a marine vinyl cleaner to remove stubborn stains. Then rinse the boat thoroughly and apply a vinyl protector. 

Heads and bathrooms 

Bathrooms and heads can be cleaned as any other bathroom. However, it is important to remember that non-slip formulas are essential for your safety and the safety of your passengers. 

Protect your investment 

Boats can be a lot of work but they are also very enjoyable. Your boat, regardless of its size or value, is an investment. It’s important to maintain it in top condition and protect it so that you can continue to enjoy it.  

Need cover for your pride and joy? 

If you’d like an obligation-free quote for your marine insurance, please get in touch. 

We can review your existing cover to make sure it’s still the right fit for you. Coast Insurance can supply you with an obligation-free quote. Get started here. 

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