You have to invest in the best boat cleaners if you want your vessel to stay in tip-top condition and serve you for a long time.
The vast number of boat cleaning products presents quite a challenge when selecting the best one to use. You must consider factors such as the type of boat hull, versatility, ingredients used in the cleaning solution, and ease of use when selecting the best boat cleaner.
The best boat cleaners include Star Brite Instant Hull cleaners, Better Boat Instant Hull Cleaners, and Boat Juice Exterior cleaners. They are chosen based on their strong cleaning power, versatility, and ability to protect your boat from water elements.
Apart from the three listed here, there are more boat cleaning products you can consider using. Before buying any cleaning solution, you must consider the type of surfaces you want to clean and the ingredients used to determine compatibility.
This article explores various boat cleaners and their effectiveness and impact on the environment and people.
11 Best Boat Cleaners
These are the best boat cleaners you can use to keep your boat clean and maintain it in good condition.
1. Star Brite Instant Hull Cleaner
This is the best overall boat cleaning product for your boat's interior and exterior surfaces. You can use it on fiberglass, metal, and painted surfaces as it helps remove the scum line that forms on your boat's hull.
StarBrite Instant Hull cleaner is made of several ingredients, including oxalic acid, an organic compound that acts as an iron complexing agent, making it easy to get rid of rust. And since it contains acid, it's advisable to wear gloves and a mask when using this boat cleaner.
When washing your boat using starBrite Instant Hull Cleaner, you need to transfer the liquid into a spray bottle to ensure that you spray every nook and cranny that needs to be cleaned. After spraying, let it rest for a few minutes, then rinse with water.
Since it's a fast-acting cleaner, you will notice that the scum line, rust, and other stains are eliminated without a scrubbing brush. The only downside is that if the stain is deeply embedded on the boat's surface, you will need to use other cleaners.
2. Better Boat Instant Hull Cleaner
If your boat's exterior is marred with scum lines and grime, it can distort its appearance. You can restore its appearance by using Better Boat Instant Hull Cleaner. This boat cleaner best suits fiberglass, painted, and metal surfaces.
It can also be effective on gelcoat surfaces as it does not strip wax, unlike other cleaners with strong chemical ingredients.
You need to spray the cleaner, let it rest for a few minutes, and then rinse. However, if there are tough stains, you can scrub gently to remove the stain, then leave the cleaner on for 2 minutes before rinsing.
3. Boat Juice Exterior Cleaner
This boat cleaner is affordable and a favorite for boat owners as it's easy to use and delivers excellent results. Unlike many boat cleaners, Boat Juice Exterior cleaner ingredients do not include vinegar-like solutions.
The Boat Juice Exterior cleaner is a strong cleaning solution that helps remove hard water spots and grime. And the SiO2 sealant provides your boat with a long-lasting coating that gives it a fresh look and shine. And since the cleaner does not contain harsh chemical ingredients, it's safe to use on various surfaces, including fiberglass, plastic, gelcoat, and vinyl.
Since the cleaner is sold in a spray bottle, it's straightforward to use; you need to spray it on the boat's dirty surfaces and wipe it off using a microfiber cloth. The best part is that it has polymer wax, which makes it easy to wax your boat as you clean. It is available in a 32 oz bottle and leaves your boat with a tropical scent of pina colada.
4. Marykate On and Off Hull and Bottom Cleaner
This boat cleaner is suitable for fiberglass surfaces. Mary-Kate boat cleaner is a favorite among boat owners as you can use it to clean off water lines, rust, exhaust stains, barnacle, and algae. This boat cleaner is made of potent ingredients, thus delivering outstanding results.
It contains oxalic acid, which helps get rid of rust, and the hydrochloric acid in this cleaner helps eliminate stubborn stains that arise from corrosion. Phosphoric acid helps remove the scum lines formed on the boat's hull due to hard water. And together, all these ingredients leave your boat in pristine condition.
The only downside is that it cannot be used on metal surfaces as it is corrosive.
5. Bio-Kleenm006097 Hull Cleaner
Like its name, Bio-Kleen is biodegradable, thus environmentally friendly. Bio-Kleen is your best cleaning solution, especially for fiberglass hulls, if your boat's appearance has been distorted due to algae, waterline, and stains. The Bio-Kleen cleaners help restore your boat's appearance within minutes.
A pro tip when using Bio-Kleen M00607 is to use hot water to mix with the cleaning solutions as it enhances efficiency, quickly softening the scum and dirt. If you are dealing with darker and stubborn stains, leave the cleaner soak in for a longer time, preferably 30 minutes, before cleaning and rinsing. Since it's not corrosive, you can use it on aluminum hulls.
This boat cleaner has a potent smell that irritates the nose, so you must wear a mask when applying and cleaning.
6. Meguiar's Boat Wash
This is the best boat cleaning solution if you want versatility, as you can use it to clean sensitive surfaces such as fiberglass and vinyl. It is not corrosive, so you don't need to wear gloves when using it, and it delivers fantastic results.
However, unlike other boat cleaners, you can only use Meguiar's Boat wash on a sunny day because it would be hard to apply and clean it off when it's cold.
Pro tip: First, clean the surfaces to remove the grime and dirt before applying the cleaner. After applying, let it rest for two minutes before wiping it off using a microfiber cloth. It gives your boat a superb shine that helps deflect light and prevent oxidation. The cleaner also helps protect your boat from marine elements.
7. Brite Non-Skid Deck Cleaner
This is the best cleaning solution for your boat's deck. It helps remove all the dirt and grime found on non-skid surfaces and leaves a non-slippery and polymer-coated surface, protecting your deck from future stains. Star Brite Non-Skid Deck cleaner works on painted surfaces, wood, vinyl, plastic, fiberglass, and metal.
You only need to apply the solution to the surfaces; you can scrub in case of stubborn stains, rinse, and leave it to air-dry. If the surfaces are not clean with the first one, you can repeat the process until you have a clean deck. It is suitable for cleaning non-textured surfaces as it does not peel, wax, or polish.
Some ingredients in this boat cleaner include water, alcohol, sodium hydroxide, ethanol, acid green, and terpenes. It is available in a one-gallon container that can be used for several washes, thus giving you value for money.
8. Davis 792 Stain Remover
This boat cleaner is effective in removing dirt, waterlines, and grime. Davis 792 Stain Remover is an economical purchase as it comes in a 2-liter bottle, thus giving you many washes.
It is easy to use as you need to apply; let it soak up the dirt, grime, and rust for a few minutes, and then wipe it off. The cleaner is in the form of gel and works like magic, restoring your boat to its original color. It is best for us on fiberglass and white painted surfaces. And the best part is that it is biodegradable, thus does not cause harm to marine life and the environment.
When facing stubborn stains, you'd have to apply this cleaning solution twice or thrice and use a brush to scrub them off gently.
9. Simple Green Boat Cleaner For Hulls
Simple Green Boat cleaner is biodegradable, thus perfect for eco-conscious people as it causes no harm to the environment or marine life. This boat cleaner is easy to use and delivers the best results when faced with grime and dirt.
You are required to mix it with hot water before using it. The hot water helps lift off the dirt and grime faster. When dealing with too much dirt, you can use a concentrated mixture in the ratio of 1:1, but for a mild wash, you can use a less concentrated solution by using more water in the ratio of 1:30.
Before applying the cleaning solution, ensure the place is wet to soak up the dirt better. Then leave it for a few minutes before wiping it with a damp cloth or rinsing it with clean water.
Like other biodegradable cleaning solutions, you must apply them several times and scrub gently in case of stubborn stains.
10. Slimy Grimy Boat Hull Cleaner
Slimy Grimy is your best bet if you are looking for a bottom boat cleaner. It is fast acting and delivers outstanding results. Slimy Grimy helps dissolve dirt, grime, and stains, lifting them off the boat's surface. It's not only limited to your boat's bottom and hull; it can also be used to clean other surfaces on the boat, including the seats and other accessories, leaving them spotless.
Slimy Grimy can also be used on wooden decks and ceramic tiles. This boat cleaner is formulated to clean large surfaces as it is available in granular form, which requires you to mix with water. The solution is put in a spray bottle to make it easy to apply on every nook found in your boat.
It also cleans off rust and algae, restoring your boat to its original color. Unlike other boat cleaners, Slimy Grimy does not contain toxic chemicals; therefore, you don't have to worry about skin or eye irritation.
It is biodegradable as it does not contain phosphates or other chemicals, thus safe to clean while in the water. That said, this cleaning solution is only effective on light stains.
11. 3M 09005 Restorer and Wax
This is the best cleaning solution for fiberglass boats. 3M Metal Restorer and Wax help remove oxidation and restore your boat to its original color.
It has plenty of positive reviews from boat owners, thus worth a try.
It is easy to apply, and you can choose whether to do it manually or use a machine. When using a machine, apply the cleaner to the boat’s surface, then activate it. Using a machine to apply is the best as it’s fast and ensures that it’s spread evenly. When using a machine, apply the cleaner on the boat's surface, then activate it. When the cleaning solution starts drying up, use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe.
And since it’s meant to be restored and has wax, you can expect your boat to have a shiny appearance once you wipe it off. You can use it to clean the deck, hull, and gunwale. It also helps reflect light, thus protecting your boat from UV rays that cause fading.
Pro tip: Set aside several hours to work on the boat as you’ll have to work on small segments simultaneously for optimal results.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Boat Cleaner
Buying a boat cleaner can be overwhelming as many brands sell boat cleaning solutions, and identifying the correct one for your boat can be daunting.
Consider the following factors before making a purchase. These factors include:
There are several boat cleaning products: fiberglass and multi-material hull cleaners.
Fiberglass hull cleaner: This boat cleaning solution only applies to fiberglass hulls. It provides your boat's hull with a gelcoat resin that protects it from water elements. Using the wrong cleaner will damage your boat's gelcoat, causing cracks or peeling.
Multi-material hull cleaner: This is a versatile cleaning solution applicable on multiple surfaces, including aluminum, steel, vinyl, and metal. And the best part is, most often, it's not corrosive.
Boat cleaning solutions can be expensive, especially if your boat is made of several materials that need varying cleaning products. As such, you'll need to look at the versatility of the cleaning product to save on cost.
Consider buying a product that can be used on various surfaces, such as metal, vinyl, and painted, without causing any damage.
You must read the product packaging to identify the ingredients used to make the cleaning products. There are two main ingredients to watch out for:
Acid cleaner: This cleaning solution contains oxalic, hydrochloric, and phosphoric acid. Boat cleaning products containing these acids are fast-acting and get rid of even the most stubborn stains. However, they are not environmentally friendly and can irritate your skin and eyes.
Non-acid cleaners: they are biodegradable boat cleaning products. Although they are not as effective, they can get rid of stubborn stains after several applications and a gentle scrub. They are not harsh on your skin, nose, and eyes.
Ease of Use
Cleaning a boat is much work as you must determine how to apply the cleaner if you need to scrub before rinsing. You must select a boat cleaner that makes your job easier. For instance, the ones that come in a sprayer are the best; you don't need to buy a spray bottle.
Although scrubbing would take more time, it's best if you get the optimal results. Therefore when choosing the best boat cleaner, you must ensure it matches the level of effort you are willing to expend.
When choosing a boat cleaner, you must consider your safety and its effect on the environment. As a boat owner, it's your responsibility to take care of marine life; therefore, using a biodegradable boat cleaner is the best option.
However, non-chemical cleaning solutions are less effective on rust and stubborn stains. So if you have to use harsh cleaning solutions, do it away from the water.
Benefits of Using Boat Cleaners
- Restores your boat's appearance
- Prolongs your boat's lifespan
- Helps save money
- Enhances fuel efficiency
Cons of Using Boat Cleaners
- Causes skin and eye irritation
- Can be the primary source of your boat's parts corrosion
- Chemical cleaning solutions are a hazard to marine life
About THE AUTHOR
I have a deep love of houseboating and the life-changing experiences houseboating has brought into my life. I’ve been going to Lake Powell on our family’s houseboat for over 30 years and have made many great memories, first as a child and now as a parent. My family has a passion for helping others have similar fun, safe experiences on their houseboat.Read More About Brian Samson