Aluminum is considered a versatile metal. Thus, its significant contribution to different industries including the marine industry is seen everywhere. Aluminum boats are common and they are not immune to abrasive components of both saltwater and freshwater.
With the best aluminum boat cleaner, you will overcome the challenges of cleaning your boat. Oxidation is not a favorable look over the boat’s beauty, so get rid of it by maintenance.
Get the right aluminum boat cleaner and polish for your boat and pontoons so they will look stunning both on land and water. It can only be done if you use quality products which can be found in the following list.
Table of Contents
- Best Aluminum Boat Cleaner Reviews
- 1. STAR BRITE Aluminum Cleaner
- 2. Quality Chemical Aluminum Brightener
- 3. 3M Marine Aluminum Restorer
- 4. MaryKate Aluminex Cleaner
- 5. Toon-Brite Aluminum Boat Cleaner
- 6. Sharkhide Aluminum Cleaner
- 7. Bosh Chemical Aluma Bright
- 8. JJV’s Best ALU100-G Aluminum Cleaner
- 9. Aluminox Aluminum Brightener
- 10. STAR BRITE 087616 Aluminum Polish
- 11. Duragloss 552 Aluminum Cleaner
- 12. Bio-Kleen M00109 Aluma-Kleen
- 13. Alumi Brite Aluminum Cleaner
- 14. TotalBoat Aluminum Boat Etch Wash
- What is an Aluminum Boat Cleaner and How Does it Work
- Types of Aluminum Boat Cleaners
- Benefits and Drawbacks of Using an Aluminum Boat Cleaner
- Buyer’s Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Aluminum Boat Cleaner Reviews
1. STAR BRITE Aluminum Cleaner
I discovered how effective this aluminum cleaner is when I cleaned my brother’s boat. I gave it a go even though it had been under a bush near the ocean for almost 10 years.
I had to search for something that would remove stain and corrosion. This product resolved my problem as it has a powerful formula for unpainted aluminum hulls. With the help of the red pad (which is sold separately) from the same company, the surface became flawless.
I sprayed the cleaner, left it on the boat for five minutes then rinsed it. It’s fine if you prolong it to ten minutes. I did a second application and used the red pad for scrubbing. Corrosion was gone but the crusty sign of oxidation remained.
Then I used Scotch Brite pads and did some polishing. Voila! The boat was restored and ready for sailing. Even though it would take spraying your boat twice to get the desired result, it’s all worth it. As expected, it’s not easy to clean a boat that’s been neglected for almost a decade.
I’m so impressed with the result. I think I made the right decision in choosing this product. Since this product has acid, you have to prepare safety gear before cleaning. N-95 mask, goggles, and nitrile gloves can keep you protected in this case.
2. Quality Chemical Aluminum Brightener
What I like about this product is that it acts quickly. I don’t have to figure out how to reach the right mixture ratio which is provided by the manufacturer. The one part solution mixed with four parts water is powerful enough to enhance the looks of my aluminum pontoon.
I think it gives the best value for what you paid for as you can dilute it. Once you’re done with the mixture, spray it on the surface. Soaking time should be around two to five minutes before you can rinse it off.
It is a highly concentrated cleaner that works with wetting agents to overcome the toughest cleaning job. It can prevent corrosion and correct discolored surfaces, stains, and oxidation. With these abilities, your boat will shine in just one cleaning session.
The need to scrub depends on the condition of your aluminum pontoon or boat. If you have been careful with maintenance, deposits can be removed by spraying and rinsing. But if the thing that needs cleaning has existed for a long time, you will need to get a scrub to attain the best result.
That’s why it’s the best aluminum pontoon cleaner for me. I can get rid of build-up that’s stuck for ages on every aluminum surface. It makes maintaining my pontoon so easy as well as cleaning my car’s wheel disc so easy.
3. 3M Marine Aluminum Restorer
I need an easy to use boat aluminum cleaner to keep my boat sleek all the time. I found out that this polisher is specifically formulated for aluminum and I couldn’t agree more with the description.
It cleanses and polishes my aluminum boat so it appears brand new all the time. So there’s no need to find another product to do the polishing. Therefore, it helps me save some bucks. It’s the ideal product for keeping an aluminum boat or pontoon in good condition.
My boat is no longer prone to oxidizing since it can remove signs of oxidation as well as chalking caused by weather. Based on my experience, it also works well in cleaning every part of the boat.
Rub it with short strokes to get rid of unwanted things. I turn the cloth from time to time so I can use every bit of the formula. This is a manual process but I can manage even if my boat is medium size.
When you’re dealing with a large boat, you can use an electric or air buffer. Repeating the application is fine if necessary.
4. MaryKate Aluminex Cleaner
What makes me picky in choosing the cleaner for my aluminum boat is the fear of scratching the surface. I’m happy to come across this cleaner as it has a mild formula. I discovered that using this with steel wools or sos pads prevents scratching.
You have a part in achieving the desired result so you have to know the right steps. The boat or pontoon should be dry as the cleaner doesn’t work on a wet surface. I used a gallon sprayer and it’s important that you dilute it.
1:1 dilution gives the full strength of its formula. It’s suitable for those who have to deal with a serious cleaning. But light projects can be accomplished with 1 to 3 or 1 to 4 solutions. The mixture is based on the existing build-up.
Though it’s cautious to just spray the solution, you would still need to use protection for your eyes and hands. It can easily remove organic materials like waterline stain, algae and small shell organisms.
If there are remains, you can use a paint brush or a pole brush for cleaning. I did it with a sponge and steel wool while having rubber gloves on as it contains a very caustic chemical. Manual labor ensures that stubborn spots or stains are removed and can help you avoid overspraying.
5. Toon-Brite Aluminum Boat Cleaner
I have used several aluminum pontoon cleaners before but there’s nothing like this effective cleaner. What I like about it is the strong solution which can be diluted. I only apply 1 to 3 solutions as I only use it to maintain the look of my aluminum pontoon.
If you want a weaker mixture, one to five still works. It’s great in removing algae, dirt, scum, oxidation, grime, water stains, and lime deposits. It’s also usable for other things made of aluminum.
The other reason why I chose to remain loyal to this cleaner is that it’s very easy to use. It’s just spraying and rinsing but of course, you have to be mindful of what you’re doing.
This cleaner comes with a three-finger trigger spray so you can get the cleaning done easily. But I use a pump sprayer instead as I feel more comfortable with it. I feel safe as I don’t have to touch the solution.
I wash the whole pontoon before the application. Spraying starts at the bottom part because if you begin at the top, the solution will drip. It should be sprayed in a minimum amount and I do it on every three feet of the pontoons body. The solution stays for two to three minutes before I rinse it.
6. Sharkhide Aluminum Cleaner
I took the challenge of getting the appropriate ratio for cleaning my aluminum boat. Since this cleaner is highly concentrated, you can make a 1:10 solution and it would still be effective. The mixture will depend on the state of your boat, pontoon, or other things made of aluminum.
It means I can save money as one bottle can go a long way. Even if I apply a weak solution, it still works well. I salute its ability in removing oxidation from aluminum boat as well as stain and algae. It foams up nicely and it saves hours of labor in keeping a boat clean.
Since my boat doesn’t have the worst condition, the outcome is a uniformly clean surface. For more difficult stains, you can use Scotch brite and scrub the area lightly and they will be removed with ease. Then you can rinse it off.
I wear PPE every time I use it as it is highly concentrated. I avoid doing the clean up during windy days as this weather can give you some problems.
7. Bosh Chemical Aluma Bright
I scanned various aluminum boat cleaner reviews and I’m glad that I chose this product. It’s multipurpose as I don’t only use it for maintaining the neat look of my boat. It can be used on everything aluminum at home.
For instance, it keeps the aluminum electronic air filters of our air conditioner clean. Imagine the dirt accumulated for two decades disappearing. It did the same thing with my boat and I couldn’t be happier. You can also use it to clean pontoons, trailers, coils, wheels, and tanks.
Another thing that I like about it is the application method. Since it contains acid, being able to use it with a pump spray promotes caution. Once you’ve sprayed it on the surface, it creates fizzy foam. The recommended time before rinsing is one minute but I did it for 30 seconds and it works as expected.
I love how it works in just seconds. After rinsing with cold, pressurized water, my boat is free from stain, oil, grease, and smoke created by diesel exhaust. It’s also great for some parts of land as it easily sweeps away road salt.
Even if it just stays on for a minute or even seconds, it can still handle difficult jobs. I told my neighbor about this and it removed the discoloration on his boat that has been there for many years. But double application is needed when getting rid of aged discoloration and stain.
8. JJV’s Best ALU100-G Aluminum Cleaner
Using this environmentally friendly product for aluminum boat hull cleaning is great. My aluminum boat doesn’t look dull anymore. The shining metal makes my boat look well-maintained and marvelous.
It gives an amazing result because its main strength is eliminating discoloration. Of course, it cleanses the boat too. I like using it as it’s economical. It’s fine to dilute it with 50% water and it will still be effective. I can manage the amount that is needed at a certain time and save some for later.
A cloudy day is ideal for cleaning up. I sprayed the formula in full strength over a few feet of boat surface. A stiff brush can also be used to spread the cleaner. When rinsing, it’s best to use a power wash or pressure wash so no film clings on your boat.
The cleaner can create white spots when it dries on the surface. So I only use a little at a time to avoid this. Don’t let the cleaner sit there for too long before power washing it.
Although it is void of acid, you still need to have safety gear like gloves. I shared the good news to my fellow boat owner who has a boat and a pontoon that hadn’t been cleaned for ages. He also agrees that it works wonders even with dirt and deposit that were untouched for many years.
9. Aluminox Aluminum Brightener
The best way to clean aluminum boat is demonstrated by this concentrate and cleaner. It’s based on the principle of minimal effort that ends up with maximum results. Even a single drip can clean the spot it touches. The final result is a bright aluminum surface.
To achieve the desired results, you have to know the tricks. A gallon of this concentrate can make two to three gallons for use. You can use a ratio of 1:1 and go for a stronger solution when cleaning is done in cold weather.
I put more concentrated formula than water in my mixture and it works in the most efficient way. Application is done with the help of a paint brush. It’s not a traditional aluminum cleaner so it’s a safer alternative but I still use gloves when applying it. You can also use a pressure spray to apply the diluted solution.
To get rid of deep stains, you can use a wire brush. Scrubbing the area lightly with this cleaner will eventually brighten your boat’s surface.
It can also remove road film so it helps the aluminum parts of your land vehicle look great. In terms of disposal, it is safe to the environment as its pH can be neutralized. It’s non-flammable too.
The effects of this concentrate minimize your need to sand, polish, or buff your boat. In my case, I don’t need those procedures as it keeps my boat clean and bright.
10. STAR BRITE 087616 Aluminum Polish
I’m not only looking for something to clean my coated aluminum boat but to polish it as well. I want my boat and my pontoon to look striking, which can only happen if they have a vibrant surface.
This is arguably the best aluminum boat polish as it is made by a famous manufacturer in the marine industry. It never fell short of my expectations.
The formula of this polisher is made for bare aluminum boats and surfaces. It even removes the damages caused by the previous aluminum cleaner that I used.
When using this product, make sure the surface is clean. I use the boat wash from the same manufacturer for this purpose. This polisher is the only product I used to maintain my boat’s appearance.
Shake the bottle before using. I used many pieces of cloth to polish my boat at first. I had to set aside the used, dirty ones as they can reoxidize the boat. Wiping the surface is done in a circular motion. I started using an electric buffer later on as it saves me more time.
Every time I used this on my boat, it regained its shiny surface. It is considered great for cleaning and restoring old boats.
11. Duragloss 552 Aluminum Cleaner
This product was highly praised in aluminum pontoon cleaner ratings, but I wasn’t convinced of its effectiveness. After I used it and saw the result, my view changed as it kept my pontoon in good condition.
Aside from aluminum pontoons and boats, surfaces made of copper, brass, chrome, and stainless steel can also be taken care of. This solution can handle many kinds of metals. However, refrain from using it on high polished aluminum.
It cleans and brightens to prevent pontoons and boats from getting tarnished. I love how it is easy to use by spraying and I don’t need to figure out the mixture ratio which can resolve issues on my boat.
I start spraying at the bottom first and I allow the solution to stay on for a minute or two. You can finish the job by just rinsing it with clean water.
I do it as often as needed so the nice surface of my pontoon won’t be covered with a thick layer of dirt and other unwanted things. No more dullness and discoloration.
12. Bio-Kleen M00109 Aluma-Kleen
I didn’t pay much attention to maintaining my aluminum boat as I thought cleaner didn’t make that much of a difference. I only stopped priding myself on this practice when I found this product.
The difference that it makes to the appearance of my boat is so obvious and I’m happy to see the crystal clear effect. Kudos to its solution being biodegradable, ozone-safe, and non-aerosol as well.
You should know the proper steps in getting things done. Dilution can be done 50:50 and I recommend washing your boat using a pressure washer. A pump garden sprayer will do too.
It can clean your aluminum boats and pontoons no matter how bad their condition is. But the trick for the highly oxidized surface is leaving the solution for about two or three hours. It takes a lot of time but rest assured, it will work wonders.
No need to scrub the part that is highly oxidized or deeply stained. If you do, you may scrape something off. It may surprise you but this cleaner won’t damage the surface even if it stays there for hours. A little amount went to some grass while I was cleaning and it did no harm.
13. Alumi Brite Aluminum Cleaner
Living near the sea means I can sail as often as I want. It also means that frequent washing is necessary just to keep my boat clean and clear of any dirt and unwanted things that may stick to its body.
This cleaner is highly concentrated to defeat oxidation as well as the accumulation of stain and grime. Due to its brightening effect, you can fight dullness and greying that can happen on the aluminum surface.
Aside from aluminum, it can work on brass, copper, and silver. You can use it on tank trailers, pontoons, canoes, running boards, lamps, splash guards, and aluminum wheels.
Yes, it’s capable of taking care of land vehicles too. It removes diesel soot, fuel stains, and road film in no time. There’s also no chance it would cause harm to any kind of metals.
14. TotalBoat Aluminum Boat Etch Wash
I find the etching treatment of this product very useful as I tend to boats, pontoons, and other vessels. It helps me prepare for polishing or painting and it’s one of the few products that I use.
The paint sticks well even without doing sand corners and working on tight areas. I saved myself from repeating aluminum part applications for etching. It’s like there’s an adhesive in this formula to make the alodine stick to aluminum well.
It’s suitable for applying epoxy and one-and-two part finishes. It improves the bond of glues and primers too.
I need to take care of a lot of things on some days and this solution lets me wrap up everything in a shorter period. Imagine the hours I would need to commit to sanding without this etch wash.
It’s reliable when you only intend to clean aluminum boats and other vessels. It leaves the surface without any bit of dirt or other unnecessary particles. It’s also a great pre-treatment for polishing using a buffing ball and a good metal polish.
In terms of its ability to clean, it can deal with oxidation build-up. But you need to do some light scrubbing on the affected areas. You may also use it for non-ferrous metals and galvanized steel.
What is an Aluminum Boat Cleaner and How Does it Work
An aluminum boat cleaner is a product that you can use to clean your aluminum boats and pontoons. It plays a big role in how to restore aluminum boat and other aluminum surfaces. Dullness and gray area form due to water and weather so that’s why your aluminum boat needs maintenance.
Using this cleaner is way better than using homemade aluminum boat cleaner as it’s safe and more effective. It has powerful ingredients making it best in getting rid of stains and marks of oxidation. Your boats and pontoons even get protection from possible staining.
It cleans, preserves, and protects the aluminum all at the same time. So you’ll be able to maintain the look of your boat or pontoon from the moment you bought it.
The chemical ingredient is responsible for eliminating dirt and deposit. It’s not harsh and toxic to both the user and the aluminum. Aluminum is known to oxidize unequally so you will find some parts that can’t be cleaned quickly as the other areas.
Types of Aluminum Boat Cleaners
Choosing the right aluminum boat cleaner is based on the situation of your boat or pontoon.
It is a string type cleaner that cleans and restores aluminum to its original version. When your boat looks old and worn out because of outdoor factors, you should choose this one.
It can polish off coatings that cause a dull appearance and allow the original luster to resurface.
This type of cleaner will show you how to polish aluminum boat to mirror finish. It’s mild compared to the restorative type so it won’t cause any damage. It also helps in wiping away mild dirt and stain.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Using an Aluminum Boat Cleaner
Reliable Marine Protection
Some boat and pontoon owners believe that exposure to water doesn’t cause long-term damage. You shouldn’t be following this perspective as the original shine of aluminum surfaces is altered because of oxidation, corrosion, and lime deposit.
It’s safe to use water and soap but this duo won’t be able to protect the aluminum from possible damages. So that’s how aluminum boat cleaners excel among homemade cleaners.
Improving the Aluminum’s Appearance
Oxidation can’t be avoided as it’s natural for aluminum to react and let go of its shine. So An aluminum boat cleaner can come to the rescue. Individuals who use this cleaning product are impressed with how boats and pontoons regained their luster and shine.
Of course, cleanliness is maintained as chemicals dissolve stain, tarnish, oxidation, and corrosion. Continuous use of the cleaner will allow you to keep your boat for many years.
Dual Purpose and Versatility
An aluminum boat cleaner can serve two purposes. First, it cleans mild dirt and stain and even deposits or build-ups to return the boat to its original state. Some cleaners work as a pre-treatment for polishing.
It’s a given that it can resurrect the shine of the aluminum surface. But its versatility allows it to handle other kinds of metal. So you can use it to clean galvanized steel, non-ferrous metal, and so on.
Other Kinds of Vehicle Can Also Benefit
Trucks and RVs can benefit from this cleaner. If you own these vehicles and boats or pontoons, you won’t need to look for a different product as the aluminum boat cleaner can be used to maintain their good condition.
The drawbacks are not directly caused by the ingredients of the aluminum boat cleaner. Even though most of them are acid-based, undesirable effects are avoidable.
Following the instructions of the manufacturer and wearing safety gear are the best ways to keep yourself safe. Always prepare and use rubber gloves and eye protection before application.
There’s a wide variety of aluminum boat cleaners on the market. Here are the things you have to take note of to get the right one.
When you’re looking for the top-rated aluminum boat cleaner, you should see how versatile it is. It should not only handle aluminum but other surfaces as well. Since it has multiple uses, saving some money is possible.
Everyone prefers something easy to use. If possible, choose products that are user-friendly. For example, find a product with a spraying option as this method allows you to clean up without struggle.
Health and Safety
Some cleaners have chemicals that are dangerous to a person’s health, so that’s why you must be careful. Nevertheless, you have the option to choose a product that doesn’t contain corrosive compounds and harmful toxins. These elements can burn the skin, irritate the eyes, and even destroy the environment.
Another consideration when buying a cleaner is if it’s environmentally friendly. It’s another reason why a store-bought product is safer than a homemade solution. You shouldn’t try cleaning aluminum pontoons with muriatic acid even though it is effective. Muriatic acid is not safe for both humans and the environment.
You will love a cleaner that gives you satisfactory results. One can truly appreciate a product that’s worthy of its price and effortless to use.
Researching will help you make the best choice. You won’t like a cleaner that may leave streaks on the aluminum surface as more damages will appear.
It’s not impossible to get something affordable yet effective. You can choose a highly concentrated cleaner that lasts long and saves you money.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who makes the best aluminum boat cleaner?
The producers of the most favorite aluminum boat cleaner are STAR BRITE, Aluminum Brightener, 3M Marine, MaryKate Aluminex, Toon-Brite, Sharkhide, Aluma Bright, JJV’s Best, Aluminox, Duragloss 552, Bio-Kleen, Alumi Brite, and TotalBoat.
How to clean an aluminum boat?
Most cleaning products have directions on their labels. There are three ways you can clean an aluminum boat.
- Spraying and Rinsing
You should follow this method if only light cleaning is required. Not much energy is needed as well. Spray your preferred cleaner generously and start from the bottom. It’s important that the coverage is uniform so apply it evenly.
Allow the solution to sit for a few minutes. Foam is an indication that it’s time to start cleaning. Use a power washer for rinsing and a clean and bright surface is exposed.
- With Scrubbing
Scrubbing should be done if the cleaner instructs you to do so. In that case, you need a scrub pad or a brush. You can apply or spray the cleaner on the surface. Then when the foam starts to appear, you can begin scrubbing. You may want to focus on areas that are extremely oxidized.
It would also take a few minutes before you can rinse. Use a clean cloth to dry the aluminum surface.
You can use any of the methods but make sure you follow the instructions from the manufacturer. That way you can get the best result without giving the surface an uneven finish and much worse, streaks.
How to remove oxidation from an aluminum boat?
It will depend on the cleaner’s formula when you want to get rid of oxidation. When it’s highly concentrated, a little amount will do. The ones who are not very strong would require you to use more. Light scrubbing helps as well to make sure all specks are removed.
You can opt for natural ingredients that contain acid. Cleaning aluminum boat with vinegar is effective in removing signs of oxidation.
You can replace vinegar with lemon juice or cream of tartar. To make the mixture, add two tablespoons of vinegar or other options to one liter of water. Apply and let it stay on the aluminum surface for 15 minutes then you can rinse.
What chemical can be used to clean aluminum?
Solutions with acid or alkaline are deemed effective in cleaning aluminum. Acid cleaners are usually formulated with sulfuric and phosphoric acid. An activator is needed for them to work and it is called hydrofluoric acid.
On the other hand, alkaline cleaning comes from the sodium hydroxide solution. It does a quicker etching procedure compared to the acid solution. However, some oxide particles are insoluble in alkaline. Thus, a ‘smut layer’ appears and you still need to finish it with acid cleaning.
Where can I buy an aluminum boat cleaner?
You can find it in Walmart or visit your local auto store. Since you need to research the best pick, you can also buy it online. There are comments and reviews that you can read before ordering.
Using the best aluminum boat cleaner from trusted brands has more advantages than making one yourself, which can sometimes be dangerous. By doing so, you can save time, effort, and energy. You get your money’s worth by preserving the brilliant luster of your aluminum boat and pontoon, which can stay with you for many years.