With boating season fast approaching or even if we are in it the middle of boating season, your boat deserves a good washing. Washing removes built up grime, dirt, slime and all the other residue left on boats from being in the water or being stored for the season. Typically, a boat that you take out of the water and trailer back home or wherever you store your boat, should be cleaned after each outing. It is good practice to clean it before the next use. Just make cleaning a part of your boating day and won't get to be such an overwhelming chore. Boats that are docked for the season require heavy duty washing once the boat comes out of the water and most definitely before you cover it or shrink wrap it for the winter.


Rinse it with fresh water to remove layers of salt if you are boating in saltwater. Even if you are on fresh water, rinse the boat to remove slimy residue. Use a hose with a high power spray nozzle to blast the slime and debris off the boat's surface.

Choosing Detergents and Washes

Choose a mild detergent specifically made for wood hulls. Avoid harsh abrasive cleansers, steel wool, stiff metal brushes, scouring powders and harsh chemical washes. Abrasives can damage the coating or remove it in spots, which allows water to come in direct contact with the wood. Exposed and unprotected wood can absorb the water causing the wood to swell and eventually it can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Mold and mildew leads to wood rot. Once wood rot creeps into the wood, the fungus will destroy the wood, which will require heavy duty, costly repairs. All of which are bad for the boat. Boating stores carry specialized washes for wood and they can also be found online.

Choose a bio-degradable detergent and pour 1 cup into a bucket of water. If you are using a specific boat cleaner, follow the label direction for amounts of cleaner to use and the correct amount of water.

Scrubbing the Boat

Dip a long handled sponge mop into the cleaning solution to satuarte the sponge mop head. Rub the mop head vigorously over the surface of the boat from top to bottom and stem to stern. Dip the mop in the cleaning solution several times while washing the exterior of the boat. Rinse the mop often with plain water to remove residue from the mop and prevent redistributing over the hull and other boat surfaces.

Rinse the boat well with plain water from a hose with a high pressure nozzle. Use a nylon scrubbing pad or a nylon scrubbing sponge and the cleaning solution to scrub away tough build-up.

Cleaning the Teak

Wash the teak parts of your boat with a specialized teak cleaner or mix 1/2 cup of household ammonia into a bucket of water and scrub the grimey, slimey area with a sponge or soft bristled scrub brush. Rinse the boat thoroughly.


Do not use scouring powders, steel wool, bronze wool or anything that will abrade the finish. Stick to elbow grease, sponges and nylon scrubbers to keep you boat looking good and clean for a long time.