Boat Cleaning Do’s and Don’ts
Cover your boat for long-term storage, preferably with shrinkwrap, which offers better protection, lessens chafe and keeps the boat appreciably cleaner.
Use alkaline cleaning products that can damage surfaces and the marine environment.
Before using any product, read the application and first aid instructions on the back label and then follow them.
Use a metal hose nozzle as it will chip or crack the gelcoat when (not if ... ) dropped.
When washing a boat in a slip or a mooring, use a biodegradable, environmentally friendly soap.
Dry wipe bird droppings with a towel or you'll scratch the surface area with the excreted seeds and nuts that birds eat.
Start rinsing and cleaning at the highest point and work your way down.
Use a towel or rag as contaminants might scratch the surface. Use microfiber towels, which gently lift and remove dirt and grime without smearing or streaking. When dirty, toss them into a washing machine and machine dry.
When cleaning a very dirty boat, have a second large bucket filled with clean water to rinse the brush or wash mitt often to remove dirt and grime.
Use a fabric softener, dryer softener sheets or a detergent with fabric softener when washing any rag.
Minimize soapsuds so you can see what you're cleaning.
Scrub hard or you'll scratch surfaces. Let the cleaning products do all the work.
For the final rinse, remove the hose nozzle and reduce the water pressure so water sheets rather than beads on the surface.
Use any products that contain silicone oil.
Dry surfaces after washing, rain or heavy dew.
Let any soap dry on surfaces. Keep a rinse hose handy.
Vigorously shake product bottles for a few seconds prior to opening.
Apply rubbing compounds, polishes or waxes on hot surfaces and never apply in sunlight.
Apply rubbing compounds in a back-and-forth motion. Apply polish (or wax) in a circular motion.
Apply polish on a wet surface as water droplets can cause streaking or make the polish difficult to remove.
Apply polish to everything onboard, including painted (except Awlgrip) and varnished finishes, metals and plastics, for a glossy, easy-to-clean protective layer.
Apply a polish or wax to non-skid surfaces. Woody Wax, when applied according to label directions, offers good non-slip protection to non-skid surfaces.
On painted boats, use products that are not approved for use on painted surfaces.