Your boat is like a member of the family, and since you use it regularly (especially during the summer months) it’s important to keep it clean and looking good. Not just for aesthetic purposes, but to ensure it lasts for years to come.

Before you run out to the store to pick up a bunch of unnecessary cleaning supplies, let’s take a look at the basic tools you’ll need to do a thorough, efficient job.

Tools Needed for Cleaning

  • How to Clean a BoatScrubbing tool – brush, sponge, or scrubber stick
  • Environmentally friendly soap or other green cleaner
  • Plenty of water
  • Boat wax or polish
  • Portable vacuum
  • Windex or another type of window cleaner
  • Carpet cleaner
  • Upholstery cleaner
  • WD-40
  • Degreaser
  • Micro fiber cloths
  • Feather duster (for hard to reach places)
  • Towels for drying

Scrub Your Boat Down

Now that you have the proper cleaning supplies at the ready, it’s time to get started.

Before you begin scrubbing, make sure to rinse the boat down. Depending on your vessel’s finish, scrubbing prior to a full water rinse, can lead to scratching or chipping, and that’s the last thing you want.

Once the rinse is out of the way, it’s time to get to work. Using a sponge, brush, or scrubber stick, and warm soapy water, begin carefully wiping your boat down with firm and steady clockwise motions.

Depending on the size, this can take a while, but a thorough, careful wipe down is sure to get rid of dust, dirt, algae and other water gunk that’s built up on the hull and interior over time.

Make sure to get every nook and cranny and then do another full rinse.

How to Clean a Boat and enjoy it in the water

Upholstery and Carpeting

Depending on what kind of boat you own, this step may not apply to you.

If you have carpet or upholstery though, you’ll want to focus your attention on that area next. Since people are generally wearing their swim suits while spending time out on the water, it’s important to utilize upholstery and carpet cleaners to help fight stains and keep potential mold and bacteria at bay.

Since every cleaning product is different, make sure to follow the directions carefully. This includes any green cleaner you may choose to use. Doing so will ensure your boat’s interior stays looking new for years to come.

Windows—Spotless and Shiny

Now that you’ve taken care of both the interior and exterior, it’s time to move onto the windows.

Just like your car, these encounter all kinds of insects and bird droppings which can leave them stained and looking mucky.

Simply grab a bottle of your favorite glass cleaner and wipe the windows down.

How to Clean a Boat and leave it shiny cleanMake the Exterior Sing

Once most of the menial cleaning tasks are out of the way, it’s time to make your water vessel really pop. This is easily accomplished with boat wax or a nice, glossy boat finish.

While waxing isn’t a requirement every time you clean your boat, doing it a couple of times per year helps keep it looking new, and can hide dents, scratches, or other imperfections that might be noticed otherwise.

Give the Engine Some TLC

Last, but not least, it’s important to spend some time focusing on the engine and motor components. A little WD-40 can go a long way in making sure the mechanical gears continue to run smoothly, ensuring fun on the water all summer long.

Getting ready to store your boat for the winter? Before putting it away whether in the garage or it’s own storage building, take a rag and try cleaning out the dirt, gunk, or extra oil that’s built up over the course of the year.

There’s no need to go overboard, but you do want the motor to function properly. Also, if you are hearing unusual noises, or notice a lack in performance, it’s worth having an expert take a look.

By following these simple tips, your boat is sure to look beautiful for years to come. Did we miss anything? Tell us how you like to do your own cleaning, and which green cleaner you like the best. The more suggestions, the better!