How to Clean and Wax Your Boat

Woman waxing boat

Let’s be honest: waxing your boat isn’t the easiest task in the world. Even if you enjoy a relaxing Saturday afternoon spent rubbing down your boat and listening to some of your favorite tunes, a decent wax job will cost a good chunk of time—and that’s assuming that you do it right the first time.

But waxing your boat doesn’t have to be a chore, either. If you know what you’re doing, you can minimize your time and labor while maximizing the protection, shine, and durability you’ll get after applying a new coat of wax. But here’s the twist: very few of these tips have to do with the wax itself.

Only Wax a Clean Boat

This is perhaps one of the most commonly overlooked necessities to an effective waxing of your boat. Waxing a clean boat means offering the most possible protection to the greatest possible surface area—with no debris or water scum coming in between the wax and your boat’s hull.

Cleaning your boat is simple—we recommend getting it out of the water by positioning it securely to your trailer. Once secured, you can then hose down the exterior of your boat—the fresh water will help to clean out any of the residual natural water that might have an effect on your boat’s sheen. And one often overlooked step before washing with a proper detergent: clean the old wax off with a dewaxing solvent. Our general purpose Solvent & Cleaner from BoatLIFE  can do a good job in preparing a good clean hull for waxing.

The Pre-Wax: Use a Good Rubbing Compound

Your job in prepping the boat isn’t quite ready. Many outlets will recommend that you use a rubbing compound of some sort to get away any remaining debris that can’t be whisked away by the hose or a simple wash. We offer a Fiberglass Rubbing Compound for this very purpose. Cleaning out any remaining debris will do a lot to restore the original quality of the hull itself even before the wax is ready—and remember, that’s the goal: the wax is simply there to restore the shine and protect the boat from damage. If you don’t use a good rubbing compound first, you’re just putting wax over an underprepared hull.

The Wax: Choose Wisely

It’s important to pick a wax for your boat that is appropriate to your boat’s hull. For example, we offer Graphix Wax for coating a boat with a lot of painted-on graphics. You’re the one investing in the quality of your boat—it’s worth taking a minute or two to shop around for the right wax. The right wax will protect the quality of your hull, the quality of the paint job, and ultimately offer long-term protection.

After that, enjoy the process. Waxing your boat should be a fun, relaxing experience. It shouldn’t feel like a chore. True, boat maintenance isn’t always the ideal way to spend an afternoon—but for those who really love their boat, they wouldn’t prefer to be anywhere else.

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