Boat Cleaning 101: Your Easy Guide

Boat Cleaning 101: Your Easy Guide

Enjoying leisure time on your boat on the open water does make you feel good, but after a period of time, you may start to notice that your boat doesn’t look as conditioned as it used to be. Signs indicating that you may be due for a thorough session of boat cleaning and conditioning. After all, it has been collecting dirt particles and water contaminants, leaving both its interior and exterior a little dirty and worn out. Of course, you don’t want your boat to look like that or even worse. That’s why it’s time to detail it and really bring back that glorious marine appearance. Besides, boat owners who neglect to clean their vessels, may be subject to government fines for its environmental impact, especially when the water gest polluted. These fines will depend on the severity of the damage done and how long it has been since the boat has been cleaned.

Why You Should Regularly Wash Your Boat

You may not realise it, but salt water can greatly damage your boat if not properly dealt with. For instance, a stainless boat can remain mostly rust-free when left at the marina, but when taken out for a few months, you will start to see signs of corrosion on it.


That’s why it’s always a good idea to wipe down the stainless and varnished wood with the right boat cleaners. If you’re too lazy to do that, you will have to see your boat forming pox due to the accumulated salt and contaminants on its surface. The stainless will soon corrode, but the rest of the boat will also see damages.

boat cleaning

Boat Cleaning Steps and Equipment

  1. Rinse First

Rinsing is the first thing you need to do here. Spray your boat with clean water from top to bottom to get rid of any loose dirt or debris. This step is necessary to remove the loose grimes on the surface, although it won’t give your boat a total clean. You will want to use a good hose nozzle for this process, but it’s even better if you have a pressure washer. Our recommendation for rinsing when performing boat cleaning duties, if you had the choice, is to choose a pressure washer. It is very important to wash a boat before using it the first time. There are many different ways to do this, but the best way is to use a pressure washer. It should also be washed after each use to prevent any algae growth or other water damage.

  1. Lather It With Marine Wash Shampoo

After the loose bits of grimes and debris are gone, use a specialty boat cleaner to lather the exterior of the boat and agitate the stubborn dirt. Keep in mind that the shampoo must not be let dry onto the surface of your boat as it would potentially damage the finish. Work on small areas at a time and rinse the soap off immediately before you lather the next spot. It’s necessary to apply protective treatments after the wash. It’s worth noting, though, that a proper cleaning preparation will determine the strength of that protection. Choosing the right detergent that works for your boat makes it easier to clean and is just as important as well for tackling dirt and algae build up.

  1. Buff and Polish

After cleaning your boat the proper way, you should notice how it looks better than before. Now to make it even fresher, make it shine by buffing out its outside surface using a machine buffer. Alternatively, you can use a rotary polisher for a faster finish, but keep in mind that the rotary is a lot more aggressive than DA polishers. This process is important to eliminate oxidation and make the surface ready for waxing.

  1. Wax On, Wax Off

Following the meticulous boat cleaning, if you want your boat to gleam again like it’s brand new, you will have to apply wax to its surface. By doing this, you will not only make the surface more eye-catching, but also more resistant to grime and debris. This step also requires you to concentrate on small areas at a time. Buff the wax off as you go until the exterior of your boat is sparkling. For those who are more particular with their boat, we recommend marine ceramic coating or paint protection. This is where you can add a semi-permanent coating that offers fantastic resistance properties to scratch, abrasion, fading, oxidation and contamination. In other words, it makes cleaning your boat super easy. Although, we recommend doing plenty of research on applying these marine ceramic coatings as they can be easily applied wrong and in turn, become very hard to remove and correct. Always seek a professional mobile boat detailer if you are in doubt or prefer to have your car boat looking the best it possibly can.

  1. Clean the Interior

After the cleaning job is completely done on the outside, it’s time to get to work on the inside. A specialised interior boat cleaner is again needed here to deal with stubborn marks and stains without damaging the surfaces. For metal parts like aluminum poles, you can clean them with a specialty metal polish before applying wax to protect them like you did to the outside of your boat. Clean vinyl seats by wiping them down with a solution of mild soap and water. Boats should also have seats coated with antifouling paint in order for them not to deteriorate quickly from water exposure. Polish brass fittings using a good quality polish.

6.Maintenance – Antifouling

Boat antifouling is the application of a coating to the underwater part of a boat’s hull to prevent damage due to marine life.

A coating is applied in order to protect the boat from fouling. This can be achieved by using an antifoulant paint, an antifouling chemical treatment, or a combination of both. The purpose of the paint is that it provides protection against fouling organisms and prevents biofouling on a boat’s hull. Biofouling occurs when seaweed and other vegetation grows on the bottom side of boats near waterfalls and piers which create locations with low water movement. This can be a very difficult and dangerous process to perform, we always recommend using a professional boat detailer to provide this service.

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Benefits of Washing Your Boat

The processes of boat cleaning and boat detailing ensure the protection for your boat’s coating and paint. The goal of detailing itself is to refresh and reinforce the look and feel of your boat inside and out. Only through detailing your boat can get a long protection from oxidation. For those who are very particular with their boat and what the ultimate gloss and protection for their boat, MUST consider ceramic paint protection. Ceramic coating is very popular across industrial, marine, army and automotive industries for its super effective protection and gloss. Also note that it can be applied in the interior, windows and painted surface.


As you may know, your boat is mostly made of metal which is already containing rusts. Hence oxidation is the last thing it needs as it greatly contributes to further corrosion. You certainly agree that corroded metals are ugly. With detailing, however, the rusted metals can be perfectly cleansed to bring back the pristine look of your boat.

Want the BEST results?

Looking for the finish that brings that nostalgic new-boat purchase feeling? Then perhaps Schmicko can help, we offer premium mobile boat detailing services across all of Sydney. That’s right, we come fully equipped and ready to buff, polish and wax that boat to looking the best it could be. Don’t waste a great ocean view with a run down boat, give it the TLC it truly deserves today



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