Soap. Water. Rinse. Repeat. It might sound like something out of a cleaner commercial, but far too many boat owners actually live their lives by the four words in the sentence above. They figure that soap and water is enough for their car, so naturally it must be good enough for their boat. They’re wrong.
Boats are different creatures entirely. They live in the water, which means they’re exposed to an entirely different set of rules when it comes to grime and stains. And boats can be highly valuable investments, which means you occasionally need to spring for something above and beyond the usual “rinse and repeat” routine. The only question remains: how do you find the right supplies? Here’s what you need to know.
Essential Boat Cleaning Supplies
Bilge Cleaner: Your boat bilge is one of the most important areas to keep clean—and one of the most difficult. If you think soap and water is going to cut it here, you’ll have another thing coming. Fortunately, effective bilge cleaner doesn’t have to break the bank. Look for a non-foaming, biodegradable formula like our Bilge Cleaner.
Aluminum Cleaner: Brightening, polishing, and protecting aluminum requires more than a casual wipe. It requires a cleaner that reacts well with aluminum, which can be a notoriously fickle metal. If you don’t want to do more harm than good, buy a specific aluminum cleaner you can trust.
Fiberglass Powder Cleaner: Look for something in the “heavy duty” department when it comes to your fiberglass. Fiberglass is really the lifeblood of your boat’s attractive appearance—anything that stains it or harms it will reflect on your entire boat. It’s a good idea to have dedicated fiberglass powder cleaner handy for when you first spot those unsightly stains.
Boat Cleaner: Soap and water? It’s not quite that simple. This general boat cleaner is environmentally safe, which is a critical component of any cleaner you’ll use to keep your boat looking fresh and new. Since this won’t remove any wax from your fiberglass, you won’t have to worry about coordinating your waxing and your cleaning efforts.
Live Well and Bait Well Cleaner: Your well is exposed to living creatures, so it’s going to need to be cleaned on a fairly regular basis if you want it to look (and smell) fresh. That’s why this cleaner also deodorizes: sometimes, a foul odor is the most important reason to clean.
Stainless Steel Cleaner: Stainless steel has an appropriately steely reputation, but that doesn’t mean it’s impervious to grease and stains.
More from BoatLIFE
If you really want to find the best boat cleaning supplies, you won’t have to look too far. Now that you know boat cleaning is more than a simple “apply soap and rinse” proposition, you’ll have the cleaners you need to make it feel that easy.