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Cleaning Tips For A Spic-N-Span Boat

Living in Florida and being an avid boater I’ve been around boaters all of my life.  One of the most common complaints that I hear from boat owners is that they spend a lot of money on cleaning products that ultimately breakdown the original finish on gel coat or vinyl upholstery.  I believe that the one most important step to properly cleaning your boat is to use the right products.  Save time and money by doing it right the first time and protect the environment at the same time.    

 

Here are tips that I live by:

Cleaning Supplies

  1. Choose cleaning brushes that are sturdy and will get rid of stubborn dirt, grime and salt, without damaging the finish. For most situations, a brush with a medium-soft bristle will do just fine.
  2. A long, sturdy handle on a scrub brush will allow you to reach those hard-to-clean areas and eliminates the strain on your back and arms.
  3. While you don’t want to break the bank on your cleaning brush, make sure it can withstand repeated use, sun exposure, cleaning agents and salt water.
  4. A bucket for your cleaning solutions that is big enough for your brush.
  5. If you use a mop, sponges, cloths or towels, store them all in your bucket so you won’t have to search for them at every use.
  6. Marine grade products can be conveniently found online and in larger containers than at your local super store. Save on shipping costs by ordering everything you need at once.

Cleaning Products

  1. Select a soap that will be tough on dirt, grime, salt, sunscreen products and possibly fish blood, yet easy on the environment.
  2. Never use the same soap you would use for cleaning your dishes at home.
  3. Use a biodegradable cleaning agent with a neutral pH factor.
  4. Always use a fresh water supply, never use water from the river, ocean or lake in your cleaning solution.
  5. Follow the instructions on your cleaning products regarding dilution and general usage. Certain concentrated detergents may not be suitable for your boat as these cleaners can strip away and damage finishes when left on for extended periods of time.

Prep Your Cleaning Area

  1. Before you start cleaning you’ll need to rinse the entire boat off completely.
  2. If you plan to clean your upholstery, wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove all of the surface dirt and salt. Rinse your cloth often to keep from spreading the dirt and grime you’re picking up.
  3. Wipe down your glass with a damp cloth to remove the surface dirt and salt. This will also keep your cloth used to clean your glass clean and allow for a streak free shine.

Clean from the Top Down

  1. Start from the top and work your way down, one section at a time.
  2. Work with small sections and rinse each section completely before moving on to the next.
  3. Lather up with a sponge soaked in the soapy solution, scrub, and rinse.
  4. Your medium-soft brush can be used for those hard to clean non-skid surfaces. Lather your brush with plenty of suds and it will clean between the grooves without much muscle.
  5. Use the same cleaning solution you use for your hull to clean the deck. You can come back with a stronger cleaning agent if you have really tough stains to remove.
  6. If you have an outboard don’t forget to lather up and rinse off the motor, lower drive unit and prop area where corrosive salt and dirt tends to accumulate.
  7. Once the entire area is cleaned use a soft drying cloth to soak up the water. Chamois cloths or drying mops made of chamois material are good choices as they are highly absorbent and will soak up the water without stripping or scratching.

Glass Cleaning

  1. A simple solution of water and vinegar works well as a glass cleanser, and it’s easy on the environment.
  2. Use a soft, non-abrasive cloth or paper towel to guard against damage to your glass.

Vinyl Upholstery

  1. Regular cleaning of your upholstery will prevent dirt and grime from settling into the upholstery. Use your simple solution of water and vinegar to wipe off the upholstery before and after each use.
  2. If you have stains and hard to remove grime on your upholstery, use your medium-soft brush and a cleaner designed for boat upholstery. I find that a liquid concentrated cleaner mixed with water allows you to soap up the area and the brush tends to reach that deep down dirt and grime.
  3. If mildew stains have formed on your vinyl upholstery, use a deck brush with a medium-soft bristle and scrub with a water and ammonia mixture (4 parts water to 1 part ammonia). Rinse with fresh water, dry and repeat this process if necessary.
  4. For tougher mildew cases, several effective commercial or marine stain removers are appropriate for use on vinyl upholstery.

Cleaning your Carpeting

  1. Vacuum and spot clean your carpet often to remove dust and dirt that could buildup and settling deep down in the carpet.
  2. If the carpet is removable, remove the carpet and place it on a flat surface for cleaning. Use a carpet or steam cleaner to clean the entire area.  Leave to air dry.
  3. If the carpet is stained or soiled, use a quality stain remover, then repeat the carpet or steam cleaner process.

Caring for Your Teak

  1. Regular care of your teak will be required to maintain the original rich color and protect the wood.
  2. If your teak has already lost its luster, you can use a teak cleaner to remove the oxidation, oil, fish stains, spills and varnishes.
  3. Allow the teak to weather naturally to a silver grey or apply a teak oil or teak sealer for longer lasting protection.

Shining Chrome and Stainless Steel

  1. There are many quality cleaners and sealants available for keeping the chrome and stainless steel on your boat protected, shiny and bright.  After applying a light film allow it to sit for about 15 to 30 minutes.  Then, wipe it off with a clean cloth. 
  2. After cleaning, you may also want to apply a quality wax sealer/protectant to create a protective barrier against the harsh elements.
  3. If your metalwork is already pitted or oxidized, apply a quality metal was and leave it on the problem area overnight. In the morningFeature Articles, take a piece of fine bronze wool and gently scrub off the wax.  You may need to repeat this process several times.

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


A Florida Native and avid boater that has taken her love of boating to a professional level.  Linda and her husband developed and designed www.Bestdockaccessories.com to provide products and accessories for those living on the water or those who just enjoy the pleasures of boating.  From family fun to serious boaters, www.Bestdockaccessories.com either has what you need or will find it for you.

 



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