Monday, September 7, 2015

Ways to Clean Your Boat: How to Do It Quickly And Effectively

Disclosure: The following is a guest post submitted by Mobox Marine.

A boat is a great asset and a source of joy and pride for many across the world. Not only does it serve recreational purposes, like sports fishing, and boating but for many people, serves as their only means of income. 

Before You Start Cleaning
Before you start the long and exhausting process of cleaning, make sure you have the right equipment for the job. You have to consider what type of boat you have and its composition and get the appropriate equipment. When it comes to cleaning brushes, it is wise to get those that are highly durable, being able to tolerate repeated use, long sun exposure, the chemicals from the cleaning agents and attack from the elements.

The brush should not too rough. One with medium soft bristles is ideal and can rid of the unwanted dirt without damaging the finish or the gel coat of the boat. Having a long handle on the brushes is also a big plus, allowing you to reach those hard to reach areas without the need of bending or stretching yourself, reducing the risk of getting your clothes dirty ,as well as providing more leverage and reducing the strain on your arms and back. It also helps to have a spare bucket, washing pads, a mop, some sponges and towels on hand and always store them in the same compartment for future convenience. 

When choosing the type of soap, prefer one that is environmentally-­friendly as it is quite clear that you won’t want to harm the waters you boat in. Opt for a soap that contains biodegradable cleaning agents with a neutral pH value. The glass and Perspex sections of the boats can get easily scratched. The best course of action is prevention. Use silicon spray or polish them and clean them afterwards with a soft, non­abrasive cloth. If you are going to be using strong chemicals near or on the electrical engine parts, be sure to adequately protect or seal them. 

Time to Get Cleaning 
A boat is certainly an expensive investment but if maintained effectively, it can last a lifetime. One of the most important parts of maintenance is keeping the boat clean and as simple as it sounds. It is, by no means, an easy task. In fact, many boat owners actually spend more time trying to clean their boats than actually cruising on them but all the hard work put in to it is well worth it for the benefits one enjoys with a boat in top shape. However, a good wash and application of the right cleaning methods can make your boat look good as new as well as improve its efficiency and performance. 

Completely rinse the boat before you start the process of applying the cleaning agents and scrubbing and brushing. Scrubbing the dry boat surface directly can increase the risk of damage to the finish or the gel coating. However, cleaning your boat does not have to be a chore all the time. By implementing some useful strategies and following a few tips, you can reduce the time it takes for you to clean your boat and also make the process much easier for yourself. Always make sure to clean the carpets of your boat. Carpeting on boats is prone to getting dirty easily and quickly and the best way to clean it is using a power washer. Start from the bow, and work your way towards the stern of the boat. This will dislodge the dirt and the slime from the fibers more easily. The live wells in your boats can become a source of all sorts of nasty smells and stains so make it a routine to clean these containers. It will not only make it a better experience for the owner but for the captured fish a well. 

It is highly advised that non­toxic cleaning products be used to prevent any harm to the fishes that would be placed in the live well and if those fishes are meant to be eaten, you can prevent any health problems that can be caused by exposure to toxic cleaning products. Before starting the cleaning process, first remove the filters, and using high pressured water. Clean them of any unwanted deposits. To clean the interior, mix a few teaspoons of baking soda with hot water and wash it with a good washing pad. Flush away the filth with clean water and repeat if necessary. 

The bilges of the boats are perhaps one of the, if not the, dirtiest areas to clean, being covered with grease, slime, sludge and other nasties. Fortunately, an easily available commercial bilge cleaner will do the job perfectly, cleaning away the filth and also removing the smell without harming the craft. The resulting residue can then simply be pumped through the bilge. If you use the boats in salt water areas, it is important to wash it with fresh water to remove the harmful salt completely. 

Cleaning the console area of the boat can be quite tricky but by using an all­purpose cleaning spray, it can get whole lot easier. Rub it up with a partially wet, sponge and finish the task with a dry towel. For the electronic parts, using a water and vinegar solution with soft clean cloths is recommended. The vinyl seats on the boat can get damaged by sun exposure, causing cracking and discoloration. Therefore, it is necessary that the cleaner used should also be helpful in protecting the seats from the harmful sun rays, as well as being effective for cleaning the seats. Mildew stains can also be a common problem but can be easily removed using a dish soap and hot water with a handheld brush. Afterwards, when the seats are dry, spray them with a mildew preventative spray in order to reduce the chances of them reappearing. Cleaning the hull can be perhaps the hardest part of the whole process and is most vulnerable to stains and discoloration. Irrespective of the coating of the boat, the first step is thorough cleaning using a power washer. 

Work on the entire hull, paying attention to every detail, and while it is still wet, start scrubbing with a brush and use a good quality commercial cleaner. To restore the color of the hull, there are many great products available in the market for the job. Afterwards, wax and polish the boat with a product that offers UV protection and does not contain any harsh abrasive chemicals. Lastly, for the engine, grab a power washer and give a nice cleaning with a dish soap and brush. For the more difficult areas, use a commercial degreaser and finally rinse it thoroughly and wipe with a dry towel. 

Things to Avoid 
Avoid using artificial cleaning agents to remove the salt build­up, as not only are they more expensive than other alternatives, like fresh water, but also less environmentally-­friendly and can even damage the finishing of the craft. Avoid rubbing the electronic screens in a circular motion as it can result in scratches. Work on them in a side by side direction instead. Do not apply the detergents and the water all at once as many parts could become dry before you get to work on them; instead do sections at a time. To avoid spots from appearing, be sure to dry off the parts with immediately after the cleaning and rinsing process. Whatever chemical solution you may use, always be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instruction clearly as improper use of some products can result in costly and unwanted damages. 

Some Helpful Tips and Tricks 
-To get a mirror-­like shine, first remove the previously applied wax with a de-waxing solvent before applying a new coat of wax. 

-White vinegar is one of the best alternatives to bleach that can kill mold and as an added benefit, it is environmentally-­friendly. 

-To clean an RIB or shore-­power cord, use citrus pumice-­style hand cleaners. 

-Always move an orbital polisher in the direction of its rotation to ensure safety. Doing otherwise may result in the machine jumping when the pad strikes an obstacle.

-If you do not have a commercial gel coat clear and want to clean the gel coat without damaging it, using an oven cleaner spray might just do the trick. 

-You can make a simple splash guard from cardboard when using a drill­-operated paint mixer. And to make a drill-­operated paint mixer, just install long screws through the end of a stick and then whittle the other part down until it fits the drill’s chuck. 

-A night before the painting, invert the can of anti-­fouling paint in order to get the solids in the can prior to mixing. To make bugs and grit easy to remove once you arrive after towing your boat, wipe it down with liquid soap before you start towing. 

-Before filling the water tank, it is best to run the water long enough before filling s to eject the stagnant water that was left in the hose. 

For all your boating and dock accessories, visit​ ​Mobox Marine​. You will find the best dock boxes and dock steps, among other items, you can buy at the best prices. Use the products available to take better care of your boat and protect your investment.


Elena said...

these are great tips! thanks for sharing.

Julie Wood said...

Non toxic products are the way to go when cleaning a boat because some boats stay in the water over the winter months. I do not have a boat, but my sister does and she uses nontoxic cleaners!