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Boat Bottom Cleaning Guide

You do a great job of maintaining your boat and keeping it clean—above the water line. But when it comes to cleaning the bottom of your boat, the entire prospect can seem like a labor-intensive chore. Fortunately, with this boat bottom cleaning guide in your corner, you’ll have the tips and strategies to make quick work of your boat hull so you can get back to doing what you do best: enjoying your boat!

Find the Cleaning Products to Fit the Job

It starts with matching the products to the labor. Since your boat bottom is going to do almost nothing but interact with the marine environment, you need environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies. That means finding biodegradable formulas whenever possible.

Our Boat Cleaner is an effective general cleaner for a variety of uses around the boat. Mixing it with water will give you a little more volume, which means you can stretch your cleaner as much as possible. The product will remain a potent cleaner and keep your hull clear of debris.

Steps for Effective Boat Bottom Cleaning

First, get your boat out of the water and raised on a surface where you can use cleaning products and gray water. From there, you’ll want to tackle your boat’s hull with the following progression:

  • Rinse. This will eliminate any buildup of salt, algae, or mold that might be present on your hull over time. At the very least, it will eliminate dust and other debris, giving you a smooth surface to wash.
  • Cleaner selection. If you read our previous section, you know what to look for—you can also browse all of our Boat Cleaners to see if there might be another section on your boat that needs spot cleaning.
  • Scrub. Using a large sponge dipped in your cleaning solution of choice, wipe down your boat hull thoroughly, taking care to approach and even go above the waterline, just to be thorough. Go in circles and don’t scrub too hard, as you don’t want to damage your boat’s paint job.
  • Rinse again. Some professional boat cleaners will even recommend using a fresh sponge to spot-rinse any areas where cleaner or debris is still holding on.

Once dried, this approach should yield a clean boat with as few water spots as possible. But one more step remains if you want your boat to stay in clean condition.

Long-Term Maintenance with a Proper Waxing

If it’s been too long since last waxing your boat, its fresh condition after a wash is a perfect opportunity. Allow the most recent rinse to dry. Then take an old cloth (or a power buffer, if you have a large boat) with a spot of Life Wax and rub it gently—but thoroughly—into the hull. If you have extensive custom graphics, use Graphix Wax instead.

After buffing out the wax, allow it to set before returning to the water. You’ll now have a great looking boat with protection against sun damage, rust, and debris—protection that could last you years.

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