Directions For Cleaning Your Boat:
Most cleaning products are not approved to run into open bodies of water. If you need a product to clean your boat while it’s on water, try one of our Simple Green Oxy Solve Total Outdoor Cleaner. Otherwise, take your vessel to an approved area that drains to a sanitiary sewer system.
*Biodegradable per OECD 301D.
What It Needs To Dry Out A Boat
There are several things you need to do to dry out a boat. Remove all equipment, electronics, batteries, and anything else that can get wet. If you are sure it isnt needed in the restoration process, put it somewhere dry.
Then let everything dry out for about a day or two before putting them back in storage. This will prevent condensation when stored after drying, which can damage things like speakers, electronic gadgets, seats.
Bilge pump all water out. If you have a manual bilge, use it to remove as much water as possible before turning on the main pumps.
If you have a powered bilge, make sure to check for power sources and fuel if needed before using it. Make sure all drains are open and free of debris so that water can flow through them properly.
After pumping out the bilge, wipe down the entire inside of the boat with a chamois or cloth. This helps remove water from all of the surfaces and pores in the hull so that it can dry faster. It also prevents salt creep from forming on your deck or floors after you have dried it.
Do this for about an hour if possible. Alternatively, you can use a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture content in the air before drying the vessel out with cloths or chamois.
After wiping down all of the surfaces and pores in your boat, wipe off all salt creep on decks, railing, and hull. After doing that, it is a good idea to dry the boat out again with cloths or chamois.
What Floats Your Boat
Is your boat a freshwater or saltwater boat? They both have different cleaning challenges. Pond scum is a common problem in freshwater hulls. Check out this video from one of BKFs satisfied customers that shows him restoring his freshwater boat using BKF. It shows how effective Bar Keepers Friend can be for removing pond scum and dirt that has built up over a number of years, and like the boat owner says in the video, Before you go out and buy one of the products meant for boat cleaning that cost $10 to $20, BKF only costs a couple of dollars, and it works.
Saltwater can be corrosive. For those who live in northern climes, we know what road salt can do to a vehicle. Its the same with boats even more so since the salt may run directly through the engine! So, what if the saltwater exposure has corroded your boat? How do you clean it? One way is to make a paste from water and BKF Powder Cleanser. Spread the paste on affected areas, then let it sit for no longer than five minutes. Once the five minutes are up, scrub with a sponge or cloth and rinse thoroughly with water.
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Weather And Time Of Day Matters
Your job underwater will be so much easier when you can actually see what you are doing. Not to mention it will help you make sure youve done the job properly too. Start as close to mid-day as possible and your visibility will improve drastically. I would not recommend doing this job on a cloudy day if it can be avoided. If youre in an area with a strong current, cleaning your boat underwater may be a lot easier during a slack tide so you are not fighting the current to stay nearby.
How To Clean A Boat: Cleaning Basics
Keeping your boat clean and looking good isnt just a matter of pure vanity, its also an important part of basic boat maintenanceknowing how to clean a boat is imperative for any boat owner. It extends the useful lifespan of materials that are exposed to the environment, improves functionality in many cases, and if you keep it looking good you can sell your boat for more when the time comes to upgrade. Ready to get scrubbing? Lets look at how to clean the different pieces and parts of your boat inside, and out.
Effective boat cleaning involves focusing on these specific areas:
- Interior surfaces
- Exterior surfaces
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Boat Cover Cleaning Basics
The best method of cleaning a boat cover is to use a hose and a soft bristle brush. If you are suffering from stubborn spots and stings youll need to mix up a cleaning solution. You can use a mild soap, but a properly formulated cleaning solution will work better.
You need to first make sure that your boat cover is properly secured. It also needs to be elevated. This prevents water from pooling. Ideally you would have secure your boat cover in place with some poles to allow for this. With your boat cover in the position you need it in you can simply brush off loose dirt. Spray it down with a hose. Use the soft bristle brush to scrub off any dirt or mildew growth.
If your boat canvas was not badly stained, the water and brush should be enough to clean it. You will need to let it air dry completely before you fold it up for storage. That will prevent any further mildew growth.
Clean The Boats Carpet
Now, you need to deal with the carpet. Much like a cars interior, your boats carpet receives all the dirt its visitors shoes are carrying.
There are multiple ways you can use to clean this carpet: you can scrub it, pressure wash, or for an ultimate cleansing, you can send it to professionals on washing services.
For manual scrubbing, you need a scrub that can remove the dirt and molds up to the innermost parts of the carpet. However, it should be gentle enough that it doesnt end up tearing or dismantling the carpets fibers.
Wash the carpet with detergent to take away all the molds and rinse it properly. Hang it to dry in the sun, which can kill any remnant spores.
Pressure washing is still like manual scrubbing except the pressure generated with the water is the one doing the labor. Some still use soap but the dirt and mold removal is more of a responsibility of proper application of the machine.
Finally, for professional washing services, its best to look for one that specializes in carpets. Doing so assures you that they know exactly how to deal with specific stains, specks of dirt, and even bacterial and fungal infestation, like molds.
If you want a specific process for this, you might want to check how to write a mold report so youll completely convey your needs to the professionals.
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Propeller Rudder And Thru
For these jobs, its best to use your 1-inch putty knife to prevent damaging these areas. For the thru-hull, a flat head screwdriver should work just fine.
Make certain any small openings are also free from slime, grim and growth using very small wire brushes. When these areas are free from debris and growth, your engine will run more efficiently and be less stressed, which also improves your fuel economy costs.
Cleaning Vinyl Boat Seats
There are few things more frustrating for a boat owner than mildew stains taking over your vinyl seats and comfy cushions. Not only are the black spots unattractive, but they can keep you from enjoying your time on board and even diminish the overall value of your boat. If you catch it early on, removing mold and mildew is fairly simple and can breathe new life into your boat’s interior. Keep reading to check out a few of our top tips for cleaning and maintaining vinyl boat seats on your pontoon boat.
One of the best ways to prevent mold and mildew from appearing on your vinyl seats is to keep up with a regular boat maintenance schedule. Stock your first-aid kit with alcohol wipes that you can grab for quick spot cleaning.
- Make a solution of 1 gallon of water and 1/4 cup of mild soap.
- Use a soft cloth or sponge to wipe the vinyl in a circular motion, avoiding pooling water in the seams.
- Rinse the seats with clean water and a clean cloth to remove excess soap.
Deep cleaning should be addressed whenever you put your boat away for the winter, mid-season and as you bring it back out in the spring.
- After cleaning with a mild soap solution and clean cloth, allow seats to dry completely and apply a vinyl cleaner with a soft-bristled brush or clean cloth.
Removing Deep Stains
Replacing Vinyl Seats
Proper Care for Your Bennington Pontoon Boat
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Boat Cleaning Supplies You Need To Get Started
The first step to boat cleaning and detailing is to gather the supplies you will need and make sure you will have access to a hose hookup. The materials needed could vary depending on how thorough of a cleaning project you are planning, but some of the basic boat cleaning supplies will be:
- A bucket or two
- A Wash Mitt its less abrasive than a washcloth, allowing you to protect the boats finishes, such as the gel coat
- A water hose with a nozzle
- Long-handled brushes, with both stiff and soft bristles
- The Absorber
- A paint-safe and environmentally friendly boat soap boat wax or sealant applicator pads chrome polish
- Buffing Balls, which affix to a 3/8-inch drill, to polish chrome and painted surfaces
- The Glosser, a quick detailing wipe saturated with cleaners and waxes for a final shine
- Dash Gear, a microfiber cloth for cleaning your instrument panel, etc.
- Safety clothing, gloves, and goggles as needed
How To Protect Wood And Metal Surfaces On A Boat
If your boat has a wooden deck, use a teak cleaner to remove any staining and weathering. Oil the wood to provide protection from sun, salt, acid and any other nasties that can cause stains or premature ageing of the wood.
Any metal surfaces on your boat should be polished regularly. Look over the boat for any aluminium, stainless steel, nickel, or brass copper parts and apply polish using a soft, clean cloth rubbing in a circular motion. The polish will clean and protect it from any rust, oxidation and staining. Make sure you use the right product for the right type of metal.
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Clean Drain And Treat Your Boat If You Take It From One Body Of Water To Another
Boats are the most common way for invasive species to contaminate lakes. Of course the best precaution is not to take your boat to another waterbody. But if you must, heres how to clean your boats before you bring them back to our lakes according to the regulations. NYS mandates reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of invasive species by boat traffic.
Reasonable precautions are to clean, drain, and treat before launching your boat into a body of water or relaunching it back home.
Cleaning means that any visible plant or animal materials have been removed from the boat and disposed away from the waterbody.
Draining removes water from the watercraft and the watercrafts motor, bilge, and all other areas of the watercraft. Drain offsite and so that drained water, potentially carrying invasives, does not run into any waterbody.
Treat the watercraft. Treat by at least one of three methods: air drying, rinsing or, as a last resort, towel drying.
Air Dry either in dry, warm conditions or subfreezing temperatures.
- Air dry watercraft and trailers, uncovered, out of the water, and exposed to the sun or in a heated building for at least five days.
- Alternatively, store watercraft and trailers in continuous subfreezing temperatures for at least three days.
Rinse. Follow the steps as appropriate to the watercraft. In all cases make sure the water used does not drain into a waterbody.
Notice that just taking the visible plants, animals, and mud off the boats is never enough.
Don’t Forget To Clean The Boat Bilges
The bilge area can certainly take the title for concealing some of the grimiest dirt, sludge and oil residue. A commercial bilge cleaner will allow you to get the bottom of the boat clean, without having to get your hands dirty. These specific cleaners will break down oil, gas, grease and sludge, while cleaning and deodorizing the area. They will not affect metals, plastics or paint, so are very safe to use.
The dirty water or residue can then be pumped out through your bilge, or sucked up with the use of a wet vac.
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Have The Right Gear For Yourself
- Mask + snorkel, we love anything Cressi like this snorkel set
It should go without saying that youll need a mask at the very least to clean your boat underwater. I highly recommend you go the extra mile for a snorkel and fins though this will make a major difference. But to really make it easy , use a hookah system so you can stay underwater for extended periods of time. We currently dont have this so we hold our breath while we dive down and scrub, though this may be a purchase we make eventually. I have heard having a hookah system can be a game changer, but cant speak on this from experience. Also, if you happen to be in cold waters, do yourself a favor and wear an appropriate wetsuit.
Problem: Hard Water Stains
Those icky white spots that appear on your hull, glass, or engine cowlings from mineral deposits mar your freshly cleaned finish.
Solution: Spray a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water, let sit for 5 minutes, then wipe off. Or keep a box of dryer sheets onboard. Moisten one with water, gently rub over the spots, then rinse for a sparkling shine.
Prevention: Immediately after washing in a shady area, spritz the surface with a 4:1 water/vinegar mix. Use a wrung-out chamois to remove water droplets before they dry. Then apply a coat or two of wax, like Woody Wax, to help keep water spots at bay. For very hard water, consider adding a dockside or inline water filter to remove the minerals.
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How To Clean Anchors Of Your Boat
Anchors are very important for the safety of your boat. If you are out on a lake or ocean, they are an absolute must to keep your boat in one place. A lot of things can be done with anchors, but most importantly they keep boats from floating away when left unattended.
When cleaning anchors, you will need to start by getting rid of any algae or grime. This can be done with a brush and some paint thinner. If your anchors are too rusty, then get yourself sandpaper and clear the rust off. After that, check for any cracks or breaks in the anchor, which is very important for its safety. Once all that is done, then you are good to go on adding your new rust-proofing compound.
If you want to be able to haul your boat without getting your anchor all gummy with muck, then you must clean your anchors regularly. You can also apply wax or vinyl protectant to them to help with the cleaning process.
Anchors are very important to have properly, so be sure you take good care of them. If your anchor is broken or not working properly, make sure you get it inspected by a professional before taking your boat out on the water where it might drift away.
Now that you know how to clean your boat anchors, you can take great care of them. This way, you will always have a safe anchor that wont drift away on the water.
Truth: Use Less Clean More
A trip to your local nautical supplies store will make you aware of the multitude of different boat soaps available on the market. Whats the best? Whats the worst? How much should you use?
A few years ago, the BoatUS Foundation conducted a study of 20 so-called green boat soaps on the market to evaluate their effectiveness, and among the findings was that using more than the recommended amount of a product did not make a boat any cleaner.
If youre cleaning your boat with lots of soap and not diluting it like youre supposed to , and then rinsing it all off into the water, says Susan Shingledecker of BoatUS, it doesnt matter if youre using the greenest boat soap out there because youll have more of an impact than the person whos working with a really toxic product but wiping it off with a rag.
Jeff Beane, a professional yacht broker and boat detailer from Maryland, adds that having a high-quality wax protectant is one of the most important aspects of keeping a boat clean.
After we wax a boat, we recommend not using any soap for the first two weeks to allow the protectant to bond to the surface, says Beane, who has also created a full line of phosphate-free boat care products called Smoove. Once you have a good wax protectant, you should have a very easy cleanup. And not using any soap will also prolong the life of the protectant.
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