10 Boat Detailing Products You Should Always Have on Hand
June 1, 2020
Summer is back in the northern hemisphere and to the avid mariner this means it is time to sail off. If you have been taking good care of your sea vessel, it should not take you too much time to get it on water. However, if you have neglected your boat, it might need some thorough detailing before taking off shore. Either way, it is always helpful to know what boat detailing products you need to keep in stock. This is exactly what we will go through together in this blog.
Essential Boat Detailing Products for the Exterior
Let us start exploring the most important boat detailing products each boat owner should have by looking at the exterior first. We will cover different boat cleaning products that will help you shine and maintain the beauty of your vessel. Additionally, you will see how some of them boost the functionality of your boat’s machine elements.
1. Boat Soap
A boat detailing process always starts with a wash. However, washing a boat is somewhat different than washing a car. At the least, you get to perform it in water or on a lift. Either way, it is imperative that you use an environmentally-safe biodegradable soap. Thus, you can rest assured no contamination goes out and threatens an ecosystem or a freshwater source. Pick an eco-friendly boat soap that will protect not only the environment, but your boat’s gelcoat, too.
2. Alkaline-Based Degreaser
Marine grit and grime will inevitably pile on, especially in the engine compartment. Ordinary everyday experience proves that soap can only do so much in fighting grease as to loosen the top surface layer. For the heavy oily task you will need a heavy-duty degreaser. It is one of the non-negotiable boat detailing products that you simply must have on hand. But why did we say “alkaline-based” in the first place? It is quite simple, actually. Grease is acidic. Therefore, a strong alkaline-based cleaner will be able to penetrate and break it down.
Highly alkaline degreasers usually contain ammonia. However, while ammonia may be very efficient in other degreasing tasks, you should definitely refrain from using it on your boat! Remember, it can strip off the top protective layer of your boat’s fiberglass. Instead, get some citrus-based alkaline degreaser and use that one when you detail a boat.
3. Fiberglass Cleaner
When you start cleaning your boat’s fiberglass, you will surely notice that some stains, including waterline scum, are extremely difficult to remove. Ordinary detergents, stain removers and even degreasers will not help. Therefore, you will need a specially formulated fiberglass cleaner. It is super concentrated and will eliminate any leftover contaminants on the hull. Since it is one of the boat detailing products purposefully developed for marine use, you cannot really substitute it with a household item or any car detailing products you might be using for your automobile.
4. Marine-Grade Polisher
Our list of boat detailing products for exterior care continues with a marine-grade polisher. Its purpose is to restore the shine and richness of your boat’s gelcoat’s color. As you know, water, salt, sunlight, and wind will cause your sea vessel’s gelcoat to look dull. Also, its porous nature makes it more prone to oxidation. To revert the signs of dulling and oxidation, you will need to strip off the top layer with a compound, polish it, and prepare it for waxing.
Boat polishing is a must-have skill for any boat caretaker. Yet, selecting the right compound and polish can be tricky, so make sure you bet on a marine-grade one that’s specifically designed to work on fiberglass.
5. Boat Detailing Products with Stronger Abrasives
There might be times when your boat’s gelcoat is so badly weathered that even a marine-grade polish cannot bring it back to life. For such cases you’ll need a rubbing compound with stronger abrasives. The usage process is similar. Just remember to remove any previously applied wax to ensure even application.
6. Marine Wax
If you think you can wax your boat with a car waxing product, think again. After all, a boat sails in water and auto-grade waxes cannot resist its power. On the contrary, they would dissolve or break down, leaving your boat without protection and without a layer to repel algae, slime, barnacles, and other stuff that deteriorate your boat’s look. Not to mention that you’ll have to wash and wax your boat more often.
All of the above comes to show you why you need a marine-grade wax if you want great results for your prized possession. True, these boat detailing products cost more than ordinary car waxes. Actually, this is one of the reasons why boat detailing prices are higher than auto detailing ones. But, trust us, the investment is quite worth it.
7. Gelcoat Restorer
These boat detailing products renew your boat’s gloss in practically the same manner as boat wax. Still, they are a bit easier to apply and in some cases eliminate the need of pre-buffing. According to some users, gelcoat restorer kits can do miracles to the boat’s glossy finish. Unfortunately, most of them supply only a plastic coating (as opposed to a ceramic coating, let’s say), which may wear off quite quickly. Still, it may come in handy, so make sure you have it on your boat detailing tools list.
Interior and Other Boat Detailing Products to Have
So far we explored the top must-have boat detailing products for your sea vessel’s exterior care. Now, let’s see what else you might need to ensure its excellent look and feel, especially for the interior.
8. Vinyl Cleaner/Restorer/Protector
There’s a big variety of vinyl care products that come under different names and serve different purposes. Sometimes these would overlap and this is why we decided to simply put them all together under this boa detailing products category. After all, they will all help you clean or protect your boat’s vinyl, depending on its specific needs. What you need to remember about them is to avoid bleach or ammonia-containing formulas. Thus, you might save yourself a lot of trouble drying out the vinyl, discoloring it, or even disintegrating it.
9. Canvas Cleaner
Modern day boat canvases are made of synthetic materials that make them so long-lasting that boat owners sometimes forget they need cleaning and care, too. Grab a reputable cleaning product along with any boat detailing equipment you might need to shine the canvas with and get on the task. You should be through with it in no time.
10. Boat Detailing Products to Keep Mold and Mildew Away
Finally, we come to the inevitable “inhabitants” in boats – mold and mildew – and what products to use to keep them away. By now you would probably expect us to say you would need something like “marine-grade mold repellers”, right? Well, wrong. Surprisingly enough, we would recommend an age-old product that would do the job just fine at more than half the price of other boat detailing products. Yes, we would say go with vinegar.
White or cleaning vinegar is a time-tested friend of any boat owner. Simply put it in a spray bottle, add a couple of citrus oil drops for better smell, and apply it to your boat’s cabin or fabrics. Leave it on for a few minutes and then wipe it off. Voila! Mold and mildew is gone!
Now how’s that for a list of 10 boat detailing products you need to have on hand? We covered quite of the most important ones to take a boat detailing job from start to finish. And while there many other types you might want to consider, we are pretty sure you can do well if equipped with the ones listed here. Just remember to choose environmentally-safe brands that will effectively do the job while also protecting nature and your boat.
Surely, we know that boat detailing and maintenance is a huge job and not everyone enjoys DIY-ing it. If you want to only experience the joy of owning and using a boat without the heavy load of cleaning it, let the experts do it for you. Our professional boat detailing services are at your disposal – check them out and call us for your appointment right away.
And, if you would like to get some more interesting boat-related info and tips, check out DetailXPerts’ Boat Care, Cleaning, and Detailing Pinterest board.