A clean boat is the key to years of fun on the water. Not only does a clean boat look better, but it also has a lot of benefits for your vessel. A boat is a large investment, and in order to keep it functioning properly, it requires regular cleanings. The right equipment and the best boat cleaners is essential to getting the job done.
To properly clean a boat, you need a soap designed to work with your boat’s paint. Some cleaners contain harsh chemicals that actually strip the protective coating right off of your boat’s exterior. Over time, this will cause environmental conditions and the sun’s UV rays to damage your paint. Without this protective coating, your boat can suffer from cracks, fading, and other negative effects.
With so many cleaning products available, how do you choose the right one for your boat? We’ve taken a look at some of the top recommendations to bring you our top four choices. Keep reading to see how each of these cleaners can help you care for your boat this season.
When heading out to the open water, you want to be sure your boat is in pristine condition. A clean boat means less drag on the water for a smoother trip and a longer life for your boat’s paint job. To keep your boat traveling at its best, it is important to clean it with a high-quality cleaner. Here’s a look at some of our top choices to keep your boat looking its best.
Benefits of Using Boat Cleaner
Don’t Strip Your Paint
You could clean your boat with any old cleaner, but only cleaners specifically designed for boats will clean without stripping your paint. Harsh chemical cleaners can actually remove the protective coating on the outside of the boat that keeps the elements and marine organisms from damaging the surface of your boat. Without the protective coating, your boat will have a much shorter lifespan.
Any extra residue on the outside of a boat causes drag when traveling through the water. Drag reduces your fuel efficiency and makes your onboard motors work twice as hard to get you where you want to go. All of these factors lead to more wear and tear on your boat. By cleaning the outer surfaces, you can avoid slowing down your journey.
Protect From UV Damage
The sun’s rays can cause major damage to your boat. It can cause discoloration, cracks, and even flaking paint. Specialized boat cleaners contain ingredients that help to preserve and protect the outer coating on your boat. It can also help to protect any artwork or decals that are painted on your boat. By using a top-rated marine cleaner, you can ensure your boat will be protected from any UV damage.
We’ve taken a closer look at some of the best cleaners for boats to help you pick the right formula. It is a good idea to find out as much as you can about your boat before you clean it. Certain materials can react to the wrong cleaner, leaving you with the opposite effect. Keep reading to find out which formula is the best one for your boat this season.
4 Best Boat Cleaners Reviews for 2021
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
Boat Bling is more of a protective coating for your boat than your traditional soap and water wash. It comes in a spray bottle and acts as a wax. However, unlike wax, it requires half the application time. The convenient sprayer comes in three different strengths for easy application.
Boat Bling is one of the best boat fiberglass cleaners available and can also be used on motorcycles, cars, ATVs, RVs and more.
Once applied to the surface of your boat, Boat Bling dries with a hazy finish. This makes it easy to remove the excess residue and buff the surface to a shine. Just take a soft cloth and wipe off the haze.
It is easy to see your progress as you work. This shiny coating is what helps to reflect dangerous UV rays, keeping your boat in the best condition possible.
The formula is environmentally safe and biodegradable. The protection lasts up to 16 weeks after application. The one-quart bottle can be used three to four times on a 24-ft. Boat, making it a good investment to keep your boat looking its best. It is one of the best marine cleaners on the market and comes highly recommended by top boating groups and manufacturers. You can read the positive boat cleaner reviews here.
- Easy spray-on application
- Best boat fiberglass cleaner
- Half the application time of wax
- Environmentally safe and biodegradable
- Requires a wash before application
If you are looking for a more traditional boat wash, here is another one of the best marine cleaners. Meguiar’s Marine/RV Boat Wash is safe for all the surfaces of your boat.
It won’t strip off the protective wax coating, but rather removes the dirt and grime from the surface of your boat. It requires a scrub brush or a wash mitt and some soft cloths to wash the dirt off the outside surfaces.
You can use it anywhere dirt and grime build up on the boat’s exterior. It also leaves a fresh scent as you wash, making your boat even smell clean.
This streak-free formula uses conditioning agents to make the surface of your boat shine. The shiny surface the cleaner creates helps to protect against UV damage and helps your boat travel effortlessly through the water. It also keeps the pH level of your boat neutral, which helps to protect against paint damage. You can purchase this cleaner in bulk-size to keep your boat clean all season long. Keep your boat both clean and protected from the elements with this unique formula.
- Fresh scent
- Streak-free formula
- Protects against paint damage
- Won’t strip your boat’s protective coating
- Requires a scrub brush or mitt for washing
The materials on inflatable boats such as kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, rigid inflatable boats (RIBs), and any other models need special care.
A cleaner meant for regular wooden, fiberglass or metal surfaces won’t have the same desired effect on the fabrics of inflatable watercraft.
Star Brite Inflatable Boat Cleaner is specially designed to properly clean and treat Hypalon, PVC, and other inflatable boat fabrics. It also works on fiberglass, plastics and rubber surfaces, giving your boat and all-over clean.
This cleaner attacks stains and dirt by penetrating the surface of the fabric clearing up salt, bird droppings, hard water marks and more. It works to dissolve the stain on contact, leaving your boat looking fresh and new. After application, you can either rinse off the cleaner with a hose or wipe it clean with a soft cloth. You may want to loosen tough stains with a brush for maximum results. With regular use, it also helps to repel future stains from the surface of your boat and it also lends a hand in preventing UV damage.
- Dissolves stains
- Easy to use spray bottle
- Helps protect from UV rays
- Specially designed for use on fabrics and inflatable boats
- Not for use on wood or metal boats
Looking for a quick and easy way to clean your boat? Meguiar’s One Step Cleaner Wax is your solution. It cleans, polishes and protects your boat in one easy step, saving you both time and money. It is designed for use on all fiberglass surfaces and can also be used on your RV.
The non-abrasive formula provides long-lasting protection for your boat from the harmful effects of saltwater, UV rays, and other outdoor elements. It can remove defects such as light oxidation, a haze on the finish of your boat, minor scratches and even swirls.
It comes in 16 oz, 32 oz, and gallon size to fit all your needs. Stock up for the season and keep your boat looking just like new.
To apply, first, wash the surface of your boat to remove any dirt that could scratch the paint. Then apply the cleaner with a 100% cotton towel or a soft microfiber cloth. After coating the boat’s surface, wipe it clean with a polishing cloth for a beautiful and protective shine. It is not recommended for use on cloth, rubber, or vinyl surfaces.
- Cleans and protects
- Non-abrasive solution
- Easy one-step application
- Provides long-lasting protection
- Not recommended for cloth, rubber or vinyl
4 Best Boat Cleaners Reviews for 2021 Buying Guide
Type of Boat
There are several things to consider before picking the perfect boat cleaner for your craft. The first is the type of materials that make up your boat. If you have a wooden or fiberglass boat, you will need a cleaner specific to these materials. If you have a fabric or inflatable boat, you will need a cleaner that can penetrate the fabric without damaging it. Once you know what kind of cleaner you need, you can begin to weed out the ones that are right for your boat.
How you store your boat has a lot to do with the level of protection you need from your cleaner. A boat with indoor storage needs less protection than one that sits outside all season. If your boat is constantly subjected to the sun’s rays, you should pick a cleaner that provides long-lasting UV protection. It will help to protect your boat from damage and will keep it protected all season long.
Another thing to consider is the environmental factors of the area you plan to use your boat. The saltwater of the ocean brings a different set of concerns from a body of freshwater. If you plan to use or store your boat in saltwater, you will want to invest in a cleaner meant for cleaning salt off your paint. You may also want to consider a cleaner that is reef safe and eco-friendly. Certain cleaning chemicals can be dangerous to the ocean life around you. Taking the time to research your cleaner means you will keep all the marine life safe too.
What type of cleaning power do you need for your boat? If you have deep stains, you will need a cleaner that penetrates the protective layer to get down to the actual stain. If you just need a cleaner that will remove surface dirt, you can go with an all-in-one solution rather than a stain remover. Pinpointing your cleaning needs will help you to pick the cleaner that will work best for your particular conditions.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR BOAT
The first step in cleaning your boat is to choose the right equipment for the job. Some cleaners come with a spray applicator and only require a soft cloth like a microfiber cloth to rub the surface. Other cleaners require a scrub brush and a little more elbow grease. You will want to gather all the proper tools before you get started to avoid a delay in the cleaning process.
First, you should wash any debris off the exterior of your boat. Dirt and other debris can cause scratches to your paint and the protective coating as you apply the cleaner. Plus, surface dirt will block the protection from actually reaching the surface of your boat. Once you have removed all the dirt, you are ready to apply your cleaner.
If you are not using an all-in-one formula, you should consider applying a protective wax coating after you clean your boat. It will help to protect your boat’s paint and also will make your cleaning job last a lot longer. Find a wax that works with the materials of your boat for a smooth application.
After washing the surface of your boat, give it the final touches. Wash the windows with glass cleaner and shine up any metal surfaces to give it the look of a brand new boat. Not only will your boat look clean, but it will also perform at a much higher capacity. For more tips and tricks, check out this helpful video.
Frequently Asked Questions
What supplies should I have for washing my boat?
Answer: It is best to have a bucket, a scrub brush, and hose readily available. You will also need a pile of soft cloths like microfiber to wipe off the surface. A mop and a wash mitt are also good tools to keep in your box for expert-level cleaning.
What’s the difference between sealers and wax?
Answer: Sealers and wax have two similar jobs but are actually two completely different substances. Wax sits on the outside surface of your boat, giving it a protective coating. Sealers form a chemical bond with the paint or the surface of your boat to fill in small cracks and any other imperfections.
How often should you clean your boat?
Answer: Ideally, you should wipe your boat down after every outing on the water. This helps to prevent the spread of invasive species and keeps your boat’s surface clean of unwanted guests. Apply a wax coating every three to four months, and use soap to wash down your boat as needed.
Cleaning your boat is one of the best ways to maintain the protective coating and keep your boat looking like new. With regular care, your boat can withstand environmental conditions such as UV rays, pH levels, saltwater and more. Choosing the best boat cleaners ensures you will get the best life out of your investment and that you can enjoy it for many years to come.