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Polishing An Aluminum Boat [Guide]

When you polish your boat, you’re not truly polishing your boat. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s true: what you’re really doing is polishing a specific material on your boat. If you want your boat to look its best, you should know that material inside and out. For many people, that comes down to knowing what you need to do to fashion an effective and clean aluminum polish. Fortunately, aluminum is durable and withstands polishing easily—but you’ll want to know the proper steps. Here is a complete guide to effectively cleaning and polishing an aluminum boat.

Preparing to Polish an Aluminum Boat

It’s not as simple as taking a buffer to your aluminum and hoping for the best. To adequately prepare your aluminum boat for a polish, be sure to clean it thoroughly first. That means washing off debris and clearing away any dust that might have gathered. Some boat owners will even strip off old paint if they’re completely restoring their aluminum.

We recommend using Aluminum Cleaner. This product will save you money by offering three uses in one: cleaning, brightening, and polishing. Because it’s a low-micron cleaner and an
anti-oxidant, it’s effective even for treating old and worn out aluminum to restore it as best as possible.

Before you move on, make sure that you’ve satisfied the following requirements:

  • A free and clear aluminum surface
  • Debris removed
  • Thorough rinse
  • Time elapsed for drying

But even if you have the right product in mind, you’ll want a quick and effective way of applying it. That’s where the buffing comes in.

Buff Your Aluminum to a High Shine

Buffing simply refers to the act of applying and spreading polish on the boat, rubbing it in so that the polish can do its work. At this stage, boat owners go different routes. Some don’t mind hand-buffing their boat. This is better if you have a small boat or don’t mind taking a long time with this step. The drawback is that it’s labor-intensive, even on medium and small boats.

We recommend going for the Power Buffer to make quick work of your aluminum. Make sure to apply your chosen aluminum-grade polish with consistency, never over-working an area or under-working another. It’s going to be loud, and it’s going to take time, but you should notice immediate results when reviewing the look of your boat’s aluminum.

Reviewing Your Work

If you’ve done the buffing effectively and consistently throughout, you should have no more problems. Your boat should have a consistent shine that you’d expect from a quality polish. But you should still take the time for a full inspection. After all, you might spot little nooks and crannies that you missed along the way—and if you’re renting a power buffer, now’s the time to take care of them.

After inspection, give your boat time to rest before its next use. Polishing tends to be the final step in a cleaning and restorative process, so your reward will be a clean boat that looks years younger than its actual age.

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