Cleaning Supplies for Your Boat

Owning a boat comes with the task of cleaning it regularly. Even if it is always on the water, it will possibly get dirty. Your boat can collect dirt, grime, and salt from a day out on the water. With these, over time, it can corrode the paint and eventually ruin the appearance and function of your boat. 

Just like any other vehicle, boats also require tuning and professional cleaning. They are from a variety of materials for their various purposes. From the interior surfaces such as carpet, vinyl, or fiberglass, and external surfaces like gel coats and canvas, as well as boat engines, your choice of cleaning products emphasizing quality and versatility are the key to proper boat maintenance. Knowing the basics and the right cleaning supplies is like cleaning your boats professionally. 

When thinking about how to clean a boat, you will want to gather the following cleaning supplies. Having these materials ensure you have everything you need to keep all parts of your boat clean. It is better to consider starting the cleaning process with your boat’s interior and moving on to the exterior and other boat surfaces.

In addition, cleaning supplies need not be expensive. You can have cleaning supplies already available in your kitchen cabinets. With these, you can keep your boat smelling nice and avoid germs and bug infestations. Here are some of the best boat cleaners and tips:

Trolley with stuff for washing the yacht.


Vinegar is pretty much the most versatile liquid out there. Not only is it natural and environmentally safe, but it also has about a hundred different uses. It is acidic and the best cleaning agent that dissolves dirt, debris, and grime. It can also kill or reduce pathogens, but this is not a disinfectant.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is mildly alkaline and slightly abrasive, one of the best cleaning agents that dissolve dirt and grease. It is an ecological boat care, affordable, and neutralizes odors. 

Lemon Juice 

It is acidic, a cleaning agent that dissolves dirt, debris, and grime. Lemon juice is antibacterial but is not a disinfectant. It can give you a citrus smell in your boat.

Lemon Oil

Lemon oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties and leaves your boat smelling fresh. You can wipe all your wooden surfaces with lemon oil which will help you sustain its new look.


Borax makes a great all-purpose cleaner. It is alkaline, a cleaning agent that can get rid of stains, mold, and mildew. Borax is the best alternative to toxic products and neutralizes odors.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a natural disinfectant that is antibacterial and antiviral. The mixture is the best cleaning agent instead of chemical bleach to clean the boat.

Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar is an acidic salt traditionally used in baking recipes, acting as a stabilizer for whipped egg whites. It has cleaning properties that help to soften and loosen stains and other elements.

Boat Soap

One of the first things you should consider is the kind of soap that you will use. You cannot just use any of the all-purpose soaps you get at a grocery store on your boat. Each surface on your boat has different needs, and the cleaners you use should reflect that.

Cleaning a Boat Interior

Most boats have similar interior surfaces, like cushions, marine carpets, vinyl, non-slip fiberglass, and even marine heads. No matter what kind of boat you have, the interior needs to smell nice and clean for your time of relaxation and also to protect your investment.

Interior of luxury yacht cabin

Boat Cushions

To avoid shrinkage to most non-vinyl cushions, consider washing in cold or cool water and letting them air-dry. If the cushion foam is musty or has mildew, you might need a few cleaning processes. Sprinkle musty or mildewed cushions with a heavy layer of baking soda and expose them in a sunny spot for a few days. Then, shake the baking soda off and spray the mist to the cushion using a 50-50 mix of water and vinegar. Repeat the process of exposing them to the sunny spot. Lastly, rinse the cushion foam with fresh water or place it into the washing machine.


Vinyl surfaces on boats are likely resistant to mildew and mold. It means that vinyl is easy to clean as it comes with a layer of anti-microbial for extra protection. In cleaning vinyl surfaces, be careful not to use any soaps with harsh chemicals, as abrasive cleaners can remove the anti-microbial treatment. Instead, you can wipe with warm, soapy water and a microfiber cloth. 

Non-Slip Fiberglass

Non-slip fiberglass is a type of material often molded in place and non-skid. You can clean your non-slip fiberglass with an all-purpose cleaning solution, a soft bristle brush, and water. Just be careful because you might make other fiberglass surfaces slippery. Then after cleaning, you can treat it with a wax intended for non-slip fiberglass to keep it shiny and protected.

Marine Carpet

Most cabins are with a carpet on top of the fiberglass flooring. Generally, the material is hard-wearing polypropylene fibers that are stain and fray-resistant. Cleaning these carpets requires a vacuum to remove loose dirt. If deeper cleaning is needed, give the marine carpet a good scrub with a soft bristle brush and a diluted cleaning solution.

Marine Head

The marine head is also called the marine toilet. You can clean just like you would clean your household bathroom. But since it is a boat bathroom, it will gather more scales and salt deposits between the tiles. Use a cleaning solution or disinfecting solution on the surface and wipe clean. You can also pour a little vinegar into your toilet to break up any calcification.

Cleaning a Boat Exterior

Several parts of the exterior of your boat need a thorough cleaning. The exterior portions are made of materials designed for longevity and use and need special treatment when it comes to cleaning.

Caucasian man using pressure washer to clean boat hull

Hull and Hull Bottom

Usually, hulls are gel-coated surfaces that require cleaning every month if you use your boat frequently. Debris and grime from the water will stick to the hull, making your boat lose its shine.

Wash the boat hull and hillsides with a generous amount of water. You can also use products containing liquid wax for cleaning to help protect your hulls’ finish. Then, scrub the soapy diluted product with a cloth or soft bristle brush, and rinse off. The hull bottom is cleaned similarly to the rest of the hull with antifouling paint for a few coats.

Boat Canvas and Clear Windows

To keep your boat canvas fresh and free of stains and odors, you should clean them at least once a month. To clean, spray it off with clean water and scrub it with a diluted all-purpose cleaning solution or even a mild detergent, then rinse.

Boat Engine

Your boat engine is the crucial part of your boat, so do not let it be neglected. Both inboard and outboard engines require cleaning and care.

For an outboard engine, wash the cowl and exterior with a mild cleansing solution and water each time you take the boat out. It is also essential to wax the cowl at least once a year.

For an inboard engine, wipe to remove any grime or dirt that might have accumulated there. Leave any wiring or smaller engine components alone. If they need cleaning, have it done by professional cleaners.

In conclusion, cleaning and maintaining your boat helps your property last longer and keeps the environment healthy. Nevertheless, cleaning your boat can be done yourself on your day off using inexpensive products. A clean boat is a happy boat that certainly means a happy you.