The best boat cleaning supplies you can buy
- It takes a small arsenal of cleaning supplies to keep a boat shining. Living with (and on) boats for most of my life, learning which cleaning supplies do what best has been an endless yet highly virtuous task.
- I've rounded up the basics of what I've found works best so you don't end up spending any more of your time aboard your boat cleaning than you have to. Ah, yes, the joys of ownership.
- Standout products include Simple Green Marine's all-purpose cleaner (starting at $8) and Shurhold brushes for deep scrubbing jobs (starting at $11).
Forget the initial price tag - keeping and maintaining a boat are the real costs of ownership. But then, if you're reading this, there's nothing we can do to dissuade you. It's probably already too late because you've probably already bought your ticket and consequently signed up for a relentless to-do list; one that leaves you questioning the various decisions you made leading up to this monolithic responsibility.
But breathe. We can at least help you keep it clean until what they call the second happiest day in your vessel ownership comes along (assuming the first is the day you bought it): the one upon which you sell it.Boats can be tricky beasts to maintain, and how you do so depends heavily on the type of boat you have.
Rather than tell you how to clean every type of boat, which would be exhausting both to write and read, we'll point you to the products both we and the experts we polled swear by for each material and/or job you might face, both above and below the deck and the sea (yes, you must also clean the bottom of your boat). Still, we all know full well that somewhere between the scrubbing, scraping, and treating of your hull, the joys of ownership are real.
A note on eco-toxicity and marine cleaning and maintenance:
It's all too easy to poison the waters our boats are built to ply, and there are plenty of highly toxic cleaning agents available that do so once you've pumped them out of your bilge and into the water. We've given options for less volatile compounds with which we've had good results, but we've also recommended some pretty pernicious stuff, which is more of a last resort on impossible stains.
The best thing you can do is read the labels, use all cleaning agents sparingly, and save the particularly noxious stuff for when the boat's out of the water if and when you can. For further resource, Boat US has an excellent guide to understanding what's what with regards to "green" cleaners.
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