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How to Clean an Aluminum Boat? – An Easy DIY Technique

Written by Anthony Roberts / Fact checked by Jonathan Larson

how to clean an aluminum boat

For every boater, finding an effective way to practice maintenance for aluminum crafts is essential as it affects their cruising experience seriously. Garages or boat maintenance centers often include boat cleaning in their maintenance procedure, which may cost boaters a fortune.

Therefore, many expert sailors suggest that instead of utilizing services or hiring professionals, the best way to clean aluminum boats is to do it yourself, using equipment and tools that you’ve already had. Moreover, not only can this save you money, but you will also be able to spot broken parts in your vessel and fix them timely.

If you are looking for such simple instructions on “How to clean an aluminum boat?”, this article is perfect for you! In this post, we will provide knowledge relating to multiple aluminum boat hull cleaners and compile a detailed tutorial on the simplest method of aluminum boat washing – cleaning aluminum boats with vinegar within the steps below:

  • Wash the boat with soap
  • Create a vinegar and water mixture at a 50/50 ratio
  • Spray the mixture onto the craft
  • Remove both dirty components and vinegar

Moreover, other tips on different techniques to clean aluminum boats and further notices while purchasing the right aluminum boat cleaner will be highlighted so that you and other sailors can proceed this process without too much difficulty. Continue reading to learn more!

What Should Consider When You Purchase Aluminum Boat Cleaners


Purchasing the most suitable aluminum boat cleaners will help you save money and time. By understanding the features, kinds, and criteria which these top-rated cleaners must have, you may complete and simplify your purchase work. Versatile cleaners, particularly ones that are fairly priced, should always be considered.

You should first consider the size of the package or formulation, as well as the number of functions for each cleaning. Make sure to examine the power/strength ratio while formulating. This will help you make the proper decision and somehow reduce costs used during the process.

When it comes to brands, it is critical to be associated with market leaders like 3M or StarBrite in order to bring home a high-performing nautical cleaner.

Different Techniques for Aluminum Boat Cleaning


As I have mentioned above, cleaning your vessel using types of homemade aluminum boat cleaner by yourself is the most affordable yet useful way to have the boat cleaned and washed up. Although it seems to be complicated, the following instructions will surely help you practice this process effortlessly. Continue reading to learn more!

1. Utilizing car soap

The initial option is always the simplest and least expensive. If your watercraft does not require a comprehensive clean, for example, if you keep it well or simply take it out on occasion, clean it like you do with your car.

Even if you haven’t cleaned a boat before, most individuals are accustomed to washing their automobiles. Washing an aluminum pontoon boat is the same as cleaning a wooden boat, as long as there isn’t too much buildup.

Before washing the boat, there are some tools that you need to prepare: a bucket, a garden hose, car soap and a long scrubber. The length of it depends on the size of your boat. After that, start cleaning your craft by filling a pail with water & car soap.

Then, rinse the watercraft with a hose, much like you would when cleansing your car’s aluminum wheels. Next, immerse the scrubber into the fluid and thoroughly brush it down.

Remove any extra filth and soap by rinsing. If there are still unclean pieces, repeat the process or use one of our more extreme cleaning methods.

2. Power Washer

Utilizing a pressure washer would be a great step in regular boat maintenance. A vessel does not need the use of an expensive cleaning every time it is used. The nicest aspect about utilizing this instrument is that it can be used as a DIY boat cleaning for both fiberglass and aluminum boats.

Attach a power washer soap sprayer to the end of a hose if your cruising trip has ended. Begin by using compostable soap to protect the vessel as well as maintain your boat’s exterior.

Squirt the watercraft from its bottom to its top using the power wash sprayer. Allow the soap to soak for about five minutes, yet don’t let it dry as this will simply add another layer of filth.

To remove all of the liquid soap, rinse the entire boat with water. Don’t overlook any aspect of the boat, especially the outboard motor on certain smaller boats. To remove any stuck detergent, flush the engine.

3. Using vinegar mixture

Vinegar is an excellent cleaning chemical that can be used on almost any surface. It also works well as a DIY aluminum boat cleaning. More so, it’s fantastic for restoring anodized aluminum. As vinegar is basically acid, it can clean most metal surfaces, including aluminum. Following the below steps to clean your boat with vinegar mixture:

  • Step 1: Wash the boat with soap

If there is a lot of debris in the area you wish to clean, even if it’s grime or unclean water stains, tidy it up first with a mild detergent combined with just a little water. This will remove the majority of the dirt but not the streaks or wet stains.

  • Step 2: Create a vinegar and water mixture at a 50/50 ratio

Next, in a small container, combine the vinegar and water mixture in a 50/50 proportion. That is the ideal vinegar-to-water ratio for washing yachts.

The mixture should primarily be warm and, if feasible, distilled. Don’t ever use a lake or salt water since it will only worsen the problem you’re trying to solve.

  • Step 3: Spray the mixture onto the craft

Pour your mixture into an affordable water sprayer and utilize it to clean any filthy or water-marked metal on your yacht. Allow it to soak in and cling to the filth for 60 seconds (unless it’s drifting down the vessel).

  • Step 4: Remove both dirty components and vinegar

Now, start rubbing the metal surface entirely clean with the moist piece of a clean cloth.

It is noticeable that upward as well as downward strokes work best, and if any streaks remain, you may wipe them away with circular strokes.

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Things That Vinegar Cannot Erase

While this approach is wonderful for cleaning a vessel with vinegar throughout many circumstances, there are several items that it will not work on, so you can easily guess what they are.

For example, if your boat’s metal is covered in barnacles or algae, vinegar has little chance of functioning. It also does not work well on vinyl with mineral deposits or mildew marks.

It also does not work well with scuffs that you may have acquired when parked at a port or marina. It works best for grime like water stains or streaks, bird or bug droppings, and what I’d call basic cleaning chores.


Cleaning an aluminum boat by yourself is actually not really difficult if boaters find out efficient ways to utilize existing tools and materials. DIY aluminum boat cleaning will not only help you to reduce the cost during the maintenance process but also give you the chance to inspect your boat more regularly!

Hence, we hope that other side information will also help you and sailors perform this task effortlessly and effectively so that having a clean and refreshing boat even after a long time of traveling will not only be a dream!

Did you enjoy the article on how to clean an aluminum boat? Do you want to add anything else? Please let me know and leave a comment below.

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