cleaning boats

CNT

Petty Officer 2nd Class
Joined
Aug 26, 2019
Messages
152
How do clean boats? Regular dish soap? Meaning different cleaning methods for:

fiberglass hull

aluminum hull

plastic hull

What works best for me cleaning ceramic tiles (and grout) is Soft Scrub. Would that be too harsh for any of the above hulls? I am seeing boats that have "rust" color on sides of hulls, some looks heavy. Do those stains completely come off (back to bright white for fiberglass)? Then after cleaning, need apply Johnson Paste Wax? Buffer?

Example... correct me here... for aluminum, can use wire brush, go long way or wherever want to show the scratch lines. Can even use steel wool. What about power drill wire brush? Aluminum can weaken if sanding too much. If found holes, only use aluminum brazing (and yellow MAP torch).

I know there's specific cleaning bottles at boat retailers for cleaning. I just want to know what at-home or kitchen bottles can use. So I understand the cleaning, before buying specific bottle without understanding why.
 

dingbat

Supreme Mariner
Joined
Nov 20, 2001
Messages
11,972
The only time I “wash” the boat is before applying wax in the Spring. Typically use automotive car wash.

After I let the wax do it’s job. Liberal use of the washdown system and deck brush throughout the day keeps things fairly clean. Once back at the dock, a shot of OrPine wash and wax in the fish boxes and maybe a splash of Marykate non-skid cleaner on the floor if needed. Maybe robber it down with freshwater if I’m not going to use it for a couple of days

We have an early season tannic acid ​Oxalic Acid Solutiosue early. Spray the bottom down with 50/50 cut ​Oxalic Acid and water when I pull the boat for the summer in mid-May.
 

wahlejim

Master Chief Petty Officer
Joined
Jul 23, 2015
Messages
884
Acidic cleaners for boat hulls. Type and strength depend on the material. Always perform a test area first to see how it performs without causing damage.

Specific boat hull cleaners are all some sort of acid that is marked up because it has the word boat or marine on it. Dollar store toilet bowl cleaner works just as well, if not better than a $20 bottle of fiberglass hull cleaner.

If $1 per cleaning is too much to spend, you can order it in crystal form and get a good hull cleaning for about .60 after you mix it.

This stuff literally works like magic. Get yout dillution right, apply toilet bowl cleaner, and it will literally make the stain disappear in front of your eyes. Goes from brown to white in a matter of seconds.

Careful around aluminum as it can etch metal. Also, does not play well with glass. Vinegar works wonders on glass.
 

cptbill

Petty Officer 1st Class
Joined
Oct 6, 2012
Messages
348
I agree with the really good clean and wax once a year but also my boat gets cleaned before it leaves the lift and when it returns. Now as far as house hold stuff goes I do use Dawn in the bilge and fish boxes and some time comet on the nonskid
and it I was going to us any kind of house hold soap on the rest of the boat I might try laundry detergent but I use ether a boat wash and wax or an automotive wash and wax for the every day cleaning. Simple green is also a good product to use on tuff stains and also general cleaning such as counters and seats and the head
 

jkust

Rear Admiral
Joined
Aug 2, 2008
Messages
4,942
On my fiberglass hull, I use a boat wash in the spring and hit it with a power buffer with some fiberglass wax above the water line. I did a several step buff/polish a few years back and so just wax keeps that up. Then it lives on my shore on the lift all summer. My seats are still in like new shape as is the rest of the interior so I just use a micro fiber cloth/several of them to clean the whole interior and then follow up with some 303 on the vinyl. I keep a hand broom and dustpan onboard to get the sand each day. People use 'The Works' toilet bowl cleaner to clean the hull below the water line to get it to look white again. Below deck I use marine spray nine.
 

Scott Danforth

Grumpy old guy who plays with boats
Joined
Jul 23, 2011
Messages
33,384
the cleaning "stuff" is dependent on what you are cleaning off of what material

for deeply soiled fiberglass, oxalic acid and water
for deeply soiled aluminum, oxalic acid works

for mildly dirty, I use simple green

for rust stains, what oxalic acid wont touch, there is CLR
 

CNT

Petty Officer 2nd Class
Joined
Aug 26, 2019
Messages
152
OK, I see. So, after it's been cleaned, it's not required to WAX the hull? Doesn't matter if it's fiberglass or aluminum?
 

Grub54891

Rear Admiral
Joined
Jun 17, 2012
Messages
4,578
I don't care if its painted aluminum, non painted aluminum, or gelcoat. If it's clean. Wax it. Keep it looking good. It'll keep the dirt from sticking, and make ya feel good driving it around. My old 1984 Chaparral bowrider looked like a blue chalkboard when I got it. Wet sanding and buffing/waxing did it real good. Not factory new but at least it's presentable.
 

tacx

Petty Officer 1st Class
Joined
Aug 26, 2017
Messages
215
Use Muriatic acid for cleaning the water stains on the bottom and sides of a fiberglass hull. Works wonders. Been using it for years. Says right on the jug "for fiberglass boat hulls".

Just make sure you do not get it on anything else. Keep rinsing your trailer as you go. Best hull cleaner I have found.

oh yea, and its really cheap.
 
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