Washing and cleaning reinforced plastic boats

Washing and cleaning fibreglass boats

Keeping your boat clean will help prevent dirt from staining the surfaces, make it easier to maintain your boat and reduce the overall amount of maintenance required. For normal cleaning, fresh water and a soft brush or sponge are usually sufficient. Special boat care products or mild general purpose cleaning agents may be used if needed, but always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Drainage holes should be cleaned regularly to remove any dirt and prevent blockages. 

Whenever possible, rinse off any bird droppings from the boat’s surfaces and canopy as soon as possible. Dried bird droppings can be brushed off, after which you can use fresh water and a mild detergent if needed.

Fuel splashes should also be removed immediately from the boat’s surfaces.

Washing the hull

After lifting the boat out of the water, wash the exterior hull immediately, as it is easiest to remove any algae and dirt when the hull is still wet. You can use a pressure washer or brush with fresh water.

If the hull has been treated with anti-fouling paint, avoid dry-grinding the hull. Anti-fouling paint should be removed by wet-grinding, and any grinding dust should be collected.

Protection and waxing of fibreglass boats

Wax protects the boat’s surfaces and makes it easier to keep clean. Always clean your boat thoroughly after the boating season and apply wax to the fibreglass surfaces before the start of the next boating season.

Before applying wax, wash the deck and sides of the boat using a pressure washer, brush or sponge. Mildly abrasive polishing agents can be used to remove chafing and embedded dirt. If there is a stain around the waterline, cleaning agents containing oxalic acid or phosphoric acid may be used to remove the stain. 

After polishing, the surfaces should be waxed. Wax protects the clean surface from getting dirty again and maintains the shine longer. Do not use abrasive polishing or wax products on anodized aluminium surfaces, such as fittings and railings. Waxing also protects painted and shiny metal surfaces.

Cleaning the windshield

Do not use abrasive cleaning agents or equipment when cleaning windshields made from plastic (acrylic or polycarbonate plexiglass). You can use mild general purpose cleaners, dishwashing liquid or glass cleaners with a lint-free soft towel or sponge.

Never use a dry cloth or paper to wipe the boat’s plexiglass windshield.

Windshields with wipers are made from tempered glass and can be cleaned in the same way as plexiglass windshields but are less prone to scratching.

Cleaning and protecting teak surfaces

Teak surfaces do not need to be treated, but they should be cleaned regularly to remove any dirt from shoes and the weather. For surfaces covered with genuine teak, use fresh water and a soft brush or sponge. Always brush across the grains of the wood. Teak contains natural oils and does not require further treatment. Avoid using pressure washers on teak, as the powerful jets of water can damage the surface of the wood.

Untreated teak gradually loses its colour over time. If you want to retain the wood’s original dark hue, you can lightly sand the teak deck to recover the original brown colour.

Cleaning agents designed for cleaning teak surfaces can be used to clean old and excessively dirty teak surfaces.