As the days get longer and warmer, it’s time to enjoy being back on the water in your boat. Before you launch this spring, you should take a few hours to clean and inspect your vessel for optimal performance. Whether you have a sailboat, yacht, or just an inflatable kayak, these simple steps on how to spring clean your boat will ensure that every nautical excursion is safe and enjoyable. Whether you start by cleaning the interior or the exterior-–let’s get started on sprucing up our boats!
- Hose: Make sure it is long enough to reach the entire vessel and has a good spray nozzle.
- Brush: Soft brushes with a large surface area and dense bristle pattern work best to remove dirt and stains.
- Assorted mops and towels: Imitation chamois, also known as PVA, work great because they’re soft, absorbent, and durable. Squeegees are also a great option.
- Marine boat soap: Try using our MiracleMist RV and Boat Cleaner.
- Marine wax
Cleaning Your Boat’s Interior:
Marine carpets are used in cabins, cockpits, and sometimes head compartments of boats. You can keep them clean with a thorough vacuuming to remove loose dirt, followed by an effective scrubbing using a stiff-bristled brush along with soap and water. If there is standing water on the floor, it’s best to use a wet vac.
Non-slip Fiberglass requires special attention due to its unique non-slip properties. Cleaning it with wax, as you would for other fiberglass, would make the surface slippery defeating the purpose of being non-slip. For optimal results, scrub with a stiff bristle brush and soap solution. To tackle tough stains, apply an appropriate cleaner—such as one containing bleach, but be mindful to use small amounts of this substance and rinse thoroughly afterward to avoid damage. Finally, give it a treatment with specialized non-skid treatment that will let it shine while also preserving the non-skid surface without making it slippery. With careful maintenance, you’ll ensure your fiberglass is clean and maintains its non-slip feature.
Vinyl: Marine-grade vinyl is usually factory treated with antimicrobials to provide effective, long-term protection against mold and mildew. Though you’ll want to wash it down regularly with a soft cloth or rag and soapy water to keep your boat in pristine condition. Avoid harsh cleaners that can damage the material. For tough stains, use a dedicated marine vinyl cleaner followed by a thorough rinse and application of an appropriate protectant product for the best results.
For boat seat cleaning, get rid of any loose dirt and debris with a vacuum cleaner before you start. Make use of a marine vinyl-specific cleaner—there are certain products that can harm your cushions, so take the time to double-check if it’s meant for marine vinyl and follow the instructions carefully. If this is your first time using the product, try it out in an inconspicuous area on the cushion instead of applying it to the entire surface at once.
Cleaning Your Boat’s Exterior
Hull: To maintain a glossy hull, it is essential to protect the gel-coat surfaces on your boat. Start every spring with two layers of paste wax as a base coat and apply liquid carnauba wax monthly for an extra gleam. Once you’ve finished applying the waxes, rinse off your boat using soap that contains liquid wax, usually known as wash n’ wax–this boat hull cleaner will add even more protective power that keeps your boat shiny.
The underside of the hull should be treated just like the rest of the boat when it’s on a trailer, but if your boat is stored in a wet slip permanently, you’ll likely need to coat it with anti-fouling paint.
Canvas: To ensure that your boat canvas remains stain-free, clean it on a monthly basis by hosing it down and then lightly scrubbing it with a brush dipped in mild soap. Every few years you may need to do something more rigorous. If the material is small enough, consider machine washing it using cold or lukewarm water, plus some soap and two cups of baking soda. In case this doesn’t do the trick, manually scrub away any dirt. Additionally, don’t forget to refer back to the manufacturer’s instructions for suitable materials when cleaning your canvas.
For clear canvas, be sure to routinely wash it with soap and a non-abrasive cloth. Afterward, remove any residual droplets with either a squeegee or chamois to avoid water spots from forming when they dry. After washing, apply the manufacturer’s recommended polishes and protectants for maximum protection against harmful environmental elements such as UV rays and saltwater to prevent damage.
Engine: For an outboard engine, begin the cleaning process by properly waxing the cowl and exterior. Scrub down these surfaces with a soapy solution using microfiber cloths or wash mitts—not a bristle brush. When it comes to underneath the cowl or for inboard engines, delicately remove any dirt and grime that has accumulated; however, do be aware as electrical wires can easily be disrupted, leaving this type of deeper clean much better to leave in professional hands.
Teak: Teak is best washed with delicate soap and water on a regular basis. Depending on the living conditions and UV intensity in your area, your teak might start getting dark or mottled after a while. To restore its original beauty you need an acid-based teak cleaner that can come as either a mild one-part solution or a stronger two-part solution. Make sure you carefully follow the instructions of the manufacturer. Also, it’s important to remove the teak when using these kinds of cleaners as the acidic properties in them will harm your gel coat, paint, and metal.
To summarize, cleaning your boat is an important part of taking care of it and ensuring that you keep having fun. The process may seem daunting, but all it takes is the right supplies, some time, and a bit of elbow grease. Of course, having the right products makes the task much easier—and MiracleMist RV & Boat Cleaner is one of the best boat products for spring cleaning. If you’re ready to take your boat cleaning to the next level, then try out Miracle Mist Boat Cleaner today, and be sure to share your results with us! With these steps in mind, you’re sure to keep your boat spick-and-span summer after summer. Happy boating!