Boat Cleaning Supplies
At the end of every boat day comes the dreaded task of washing the boat. Whether you’re washing off the last bits of tuna blood from a fishing trip, or rinsing off the last of the spilled drinks from the sandbar, the kind of cleaning supplies you use is important. » Read More
Boat Cleaners: The Right Tool for the Job!
Boats require constant upkeep, with cleaning being one of the most important tasks. Because a boat is built with so many different materials, it’s important to have specific cleaners for specific uses. Just like you wouldn’t wash your windows with wood floor cleaner, there are designated cleaners for their respective uses.
Boat Wash vs Household Soaps
While it might be tempting to use some household cleaners, like dish soap, it’s important to use soap designated for marine use. Household soaps can actually damage your boat. Dish soap is designed to take off grease and grime from your dishes. Typical dish soaps are more acidic than boat soaps, which usually have a pH of around 7, similar to water.
Dish soaps, on the other hand, have a pH of around 4. This acidity can eat away at the wax layer that protects your gelcoat. If you continue to use dish soap once your wax coat is gone, it’ll move on to destroying your gelcoat.
The most common boat cleaning product is typically labeled as “Boat Wash.” Products like Star Brite Boat Wash provide a concentrated formula to remove salt, road grime, exhaust smudges, and waterline stains. They’re safe for all marine surfaces, which could range from non-skid to vinyl seats. Star Brite also has a specific product made for cleaning the outside of your hull. It’s designed to remove the scum line that builds up around boat ramps and marinas.
These types of boat cleaners are a good standard product to have in your boat cleaning supplies arsenal. They do ninety percent of the cleaning you need for your boat, but for more specific uses, there are different products.
Non-skid decks can be a burden to clean. The same texture that provides traction creates a million crevices for dirt, blood, and grime to settle in. Many non-skid deck cleaners can work as an all-purpose cleaner, allowing you to use one product for routine cleaning. Some non-skid cleaners also provide a protective coating once dried, helping to repel dirt and stains over time.
Rust remover is one of the niche cleaners you may need to keep on hand. Some boats don’t have any issues with rust streaking, but it can be common on older boats. Most rust stain removers come in a spray bottle. They’re simple to use, only requiring a spray and wipe down.
Although it may be easier to keep rust stains wiped away and clean, some rust stains may be the result of a larger issue. This could include lower-quality fasteners that were exposed to moisture. In the event of saturated fiberglass coring, you might need more than just a cleaning product.
Some boats have expansive aluminum framing in the form of wakeboarding arches, T-tops, or tuna towers. Keeping your metalwork clean can be a chore. To help aid this cleaning, there are specific aluminum cleaners. These types of cleaners may not need to be used every trip, but it is important to keep your metalwork in good shape to avoid pitting and corrosion.
Marine Vinyl Cleaners
Many styles of boats have extensive vinyl seating to allow for lounging, cruising, and entertaining. Although vinyl is a durable material, it is prone to mildew and requires some upkeep. For removing mold and mildew, Ultimate Vinyl Clean Spray is a great product made by Star Brite. It is safe to use on vinyl, plastic, rubber, and leather surfaces. Once your vinyl is clean it’s a good idea to apply a mold blocker to keep your cushions in pristine condition.
Teak decking and accents are a staple on classic boats. Teak will weather and turn gray under the sun, but routine cleaning can keep it glowing. It is critical to avoid harsh chemicals on teak. Harsh chemicals can destroy the naturally protective oils present in teak, causing it to degrade. There are a multitude of products designed specifically to clean, brighten, and protect teak.
Once you have used the different boat cleaning products, be sure to protect your boat’s metal work, deck, and upholstery with maintenance products like teak oil on teak, rust shielder on certain metal work, and vinyl guard on your vinyl. These products will make it much easier to help you achieve a clean boat!
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