How To Clean An Aluminum Boat

A step-by-step guide on how to effectively clean an aluminum boat!

One of the most commonly asked questions is how to clean an aluminum boat. From the smallest aluminum dinghy up to large pontoon boats and bowriders. The boating world is full of aluminum boats of all shapes and sizes.

In the following article, we’ll take an in-depth look at how to clean an aluminum boat with our easy step-by-step guide. For more information about aluminum boats, check out our Easy Guide to Aluminum Boat Maintenance.

One. The Importance of Cleaning your Aluminum Boat

All boats, especially aluminum ones, need to be cared for. Sure, they’ll last a while without a lot of regular maintenance. However, with a little bit of regular maintenance, your aluminum boat could last much longer. Not only that, but it’ll help to retain its value if you have cared for your boat.

Think about what your aluminum boat is exposed to regularly. Things like air and water pollution, saltwater, freshwater, marine life, algae, wind, dirt, oil, grease, and fuel. These pollutants can leave your aluminum boat hull looking a little worse for wear. So often, aluminum boat owners are left scratching their heads, wondering how to clean an aluminum boat effectively.

While it can sound like a big job, regular cleaning and maintenance of your aluminum boat will actually make it easier. The more often you clean your boat, the less time it’ll take. Besides that, the benefits of having a clean hull include the following:

  • A clean hull free of debris will move through the water easier and reduce drag. This will save you money on fuel, increasing your fuel efficiency.
  • Your boat will move through the water easier which will improve handling.
  • When it comes time to sell your boat, it’ll be in much better condition. This means you’ll get a better sale price and have more money to invest in your next boat.
  • A clean hull and boat are easier to work or fish in and let’s face it, it just looks better!

Let’s check out the steps to cleaning your aluminum boat effectively.

Two. Boat Wash – The Easiest and Cheapest Method

If your boat doesn’t spend much time on the water, it will not need intense cleaning all the time. However, a premium boat wash like this 303 Marine Boat Wash with UV Protection is a great product for general boat washes. Used in combination with a Boat Scrubbing Brush, you’ll be able to reach all those hard places comfortably.

For your basic wash, you’ll need access to fresh water, a scrubbing brush, your boat wash, and a bucket. Pretty simple stuff. It’s no different than what you would need to wash your car. Before you start washing, be sure to remove anything which could be damaged by water, such as electronics.

  1. Start by finding somewhere out of the direct sun. If you live in a hot climate, the sun can heat the aluminum, making it difficult to clean. So instead, start by rinsing the boat with your hose to get it nice and wet and remove any loose dirt or debris. I like to start on the outside first in case anything gets washed into the interior.
  2. Fill your bucket with water and the correct amount of boat wash. Don’t go crazy with the boat wash. It doesn’t need to have soap overflowing out of the bucket!
  3. Now take your scrubbing brush and give the entire hull of your aluminum boat a good scrub down with the boat wash.
  4. The final step is to take your hose and rinse off all the soap from the outside. If you think it still needs another clean, then repeat the outside steps before you move to the interior.
  5. When you’re washing the interior, try to remove any electronics or accessories, such as radio, radar, fish finders, seats, upholstery, etc., that might get too wet.

Three. Deep Cleans – Using A Pressure Washer

A pressure washer is a great investment for any boat owner spending a lot of time on the water. It’s especially useful if you do a lot of fishing and need to remove blood, slime, or scales from the interior of your boat. The RowRyte Electric Pressure is well worth the investment if you’re going to be spending a lot of time washing and cleaning your aluminum boat.

  1. Once you get back home, get out of the pressure washer and add your boat wash. Be sure to remove or cover anything such as electrical components or upholstery and covers which could be damaged by water or high-pressure water.
  2. Give the entire interior and exterior a good spray with the boat wash first. Please leave it to soak for about five minutes. If you can find somewhere out of direct sunlight, it’ll be better for this stage.
  3. Now it’s time to rinse it all! Starting from the top, be sure to rinse off all the soap. Next, move to the interior, being sure to rinse all the water and soap out of the boat through the bung.

Four. Follow Up with Aluminum Boat Polish

If you want your aluminum hull or interior to stay looking bright and clean, then you need to follow up with an aluminum boat cleaner and polish, such as the 3M Marine Aluminum Restorer and Polish.

You don’t have to use aluminum boat polish and restorer every time you wash your boat. Depending on your use and where you’re using your boat, you should be using this every 3-6 months. Carefully follow the instructions on the boat polish, and be sure to carefully read the safety guide on what safety gear you need to use.

  1. Read the instructions carefully. Be sure to check the recommended safety instructions and also application instructions. All products are different, and some aluminum boat polish and cleaner may need to be diluted.
  2. Dip your application pad or scrubber in the solution and apply it to your boat hull as per instructions. A scrubbing brush is good for any stains, watermarks, or blemishes.
  3. Take note of any cracks, deep scratches, or areas that are exhibiting signs of corrosion. You may need to have a qualified boat repairer further examine these. Small cracks in the aluminum can quickly become big cracks when exposed to stress.
  4. Rinse or remove any boat polish as per the instructions in the product. Some products need to be buffed out straight away, while others need to be left in place for several minutes.

Five. It’s Time to Shine!

Not all boat owners are satisfied with just a wash. Some boat owners, especially those selling their aluminum boats, want them to shine. A good polish of your aluminum hull is a great way to finish off your deep clean. If you’re getting ready to sell your aluminum boat, then a deep clean with a pressure washer followed up by a polish will have it look fantastic. It’s well worth the investment of time and energy.

How To Clean An Aluminum Boat – Conclusion

Not only does a clean boat look better and hold its value better, but it also performs better. A clean hull leads to better maneuverability, increased fuel efficiency, and better performance. So not only will your boat last longer, but it’ll also hold its value better. Even if you’re not planning on selling your boat anytime soon, regular maintenance and cleaning is a great habit to get into.

There’s nothing better than putting a clean boat out on the water for a day of fishing or fun with the family. An hour at the end of the day isn’t much of a price to pay for great fishing in a great-looking boat!

If you have any questions about aluminum boats or want to learn more about aluminum boat maintenance, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us directly! Also, don’t forget to bookmark the page. That way, you don’t miss out on all our exciting upcoming blogs. While you’re there, be sure to read this article, How Much is a Bass Boat? It contains some great tips on bass boats and how aluminum bass boats stack up against fiberglass boats.

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