Boat Cleaning Tips and Hacks

Owning a boat is expensive, especially when you have to keep it looking as good as new. But that is not as simple as it seems. You have friends and family members coming over to enjoy the day and by the time they leave, your boat is entirely a ruckus. Just like cars, boats need to be cleaned and maintained to ensure they are in perfect working condition. 

Designate a Trash Bin

The first thing you need to consider when it comes to cleaning and maintaining your boat is designating a trash bin. Unfortunately, people enjoying your boat think that they can get away with throwing stuff on the floor or wherever they can, which makes it tough to clean. 

Boats have numerous tight spaces and corners that are relatively hard to reach. Therefore, you cannot spend hours every day vacuuming the floor as well as the corners. With a designated trash bin aboard the boat, you can simply ask your friends and family members to throw the garbage inside. 

Once the trash is consolidated in one place, it makes cleaning a lot easier. It also prevents the trash from making its way to sensitive components, which might damage the boat mechanically.

Maintain a Cleaning Schedule

One of the best boat cleaning tips and tricks includes maintaining a cleaning schedule. What this means is that you can develop a cleaning program that is carried out once or twice a week depending on the boat’s usage. For instance, if your weekends are free, you can take some time out and designate a few hours of the day cleaning the boat. 

If you cannot do it yourself, you can ask someone to do the job and pay for the service. We understand that the service could be expensive but at least you will be able to keep your boat maintained.

Use Raw Water Washdown

Salt is the boat’s biggest enemy and this is why you should know how to clean a boat properly. Prolonged exposure to salt leads to the creation of rust and corrosion. With that being said, you should sometimes use the raw water washdown method even though many boaters are hesitant because they do not want saltwater on their boats. 

If you do not prefer using the vessel’s raw water washdown system, you can use the bucket system too. However, keep in mind that if your boat requires deep cleaning, then you cannot beat the convenience of having a powerful washdown pump and hose. Use a stiff deck brush and clean your way through the deck without making any mess, which is harder to clean later on.

Use Hot Water

Using hot water is amongst the best boat detailing tips and procedures. Even professionals who specialize in detailing cars suggest and prefer using hot water when it comes to breaking down stubborn dirt and grime. In addition to that, hot water is very effective at dissolving salt, which is the primary source of corrosion on your boat’s metal. 

If you are like many boaters out there who do not have access to hot water, consider purchasing an in-line hot water heater. Believe it or not, sometimes the only thing you need is a proper hot water wash that will rinse everything with ease. 

Use Vinegar

Like hot water, vinegar tends to be a great weapon when it comes to the ongoing battle between boat owners and salt-water corrosion. You mix or dilute the vinegar with some water and then spray it on the boat to dissolve any salt residue. Make sure that you wash the boat with fresh water afterward. 

To treat smaller spots of corrosion, you can make a vinegar solution spray. For deep cleaning, many boaters have resorted to using vinegar mixed with water to even clean the engine’s internal components. Remember, irrespective of the cleaning method you choose, you should always invest in a good quality deck brush.

You can easily find brushes that are specifically designed to clean boats preventing any scratches or swirls. Otherwise, a low-quality brush will damage the boat’s gel coat making it appear older than its actual age. 

Prioritize While Cleaning

Boat cleaning and maintenance mostly depend on how you use it and where you use it. Some areas tend to have relatively more salt content. Even if that isn’t the case, the boat parked directly under the sun for hours can be damaged by UV rays. Therefore, you have to consider both factors and prioritize cleaning accordingly. Both salt and UV are the biggest enemies of boats. 

Having a spotless deck and hull can be nice but there are a few things you must clean after the boat has spent several hours on the water to ensure that it looks as good as new the next time you use it. The engine should be washed using fresh water and any other metal aboard that comes in contact with saltwater. 

On the other hand, you might not need to clean the boat’s deck multiple times as the fiberglass and gel-coat tend to be fairly resilient but do not make a habit out of it. Simply clean the boat based on how many mental components come in contact with saltwater during usage. This will help you save yourself from expensive repairs and maintenance down the road. 

Bring Out the Pressure Washer

Using a pressure washer for boat cleaning is an ongoing debate. Some people like to use it while others don’t. However, if you know how to use it properly, you can make the cleaning process a breeze. After a long day of fishing, you can simply bring out the pressure washer and rinse the entire boat within seconds. 

Note, that you need to use the right tip, which can otherwise damage the boat. Furthermore, you do not need to use a commercial-grade gas unit, something in the range of 2,000 PSI will work perfectly. 

Clean Your Bilges

A clean bilge is a rare sight aboard a boat and it says a lot about how the boat is cared for. Most boat owners ignore cleaning the bilge as they have to put in an effort to reach the parts. However, there are a few simple tricks to clean. 

Simply use an environmentally friendly soap and dilute it with warm water to remove the grime and mildew buildup by allowing it to sit or slosh around in the bilge. And if you come across a particularly bad area, use the diluted vinegar solution, making sure to wash well using fresh water afterward. 

Final Word

Once you develop a cleaning routine, maintaining your boat will be comparatively easy. This routine maintenance will not only keep the boat in top-notch condition but also prevent rust and corrosion from occurring. Plus, invest in some good polishes to protect the boat and keep it shining for years to come.