Pontoon boats are an incredibly popular choice among boating enthusiasts and for a good reason. These boats are spacious, provide comfortable seating, and are easy to use. Whether cruising with friends, fishing, or simply enjoying the scenery, pontoon boats offer a comfortable and enjoyable experience on the water.
However, owning a pontoon boat comes with responsibilities, and one of the most critical aspects of boat maintenance is cleaning. Regular cleaning is essential to keep your pontoon boat in good condition and ensure its longevity. Over time, these boats are exposed to various environmental factors, such as dirt, bird droppings, and algae, which can build up and cause the boat to look dirty and dull. These contaminants can damage the boat’s surfaces if left uncleaned, leading to costly repairs.
Therefore, in this article, we will explore the best tips and techniques for cleaning a pontoon boat to keep it looking its best. From preparing for cleaning to cleaning the hull, deck, and furniture, we’ll cover everything you need to know to ensure your pontoon boat looks and performs its best for years to come.
What will you need?
Before you start cleaning your pontoon boat, you need to gather the necessary equipment and supplies. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Pressure washer or garden hose with a nozzle
- Scrub brush or soft-bristled brush
- Sponge or wash mitt
- Towels or chamois
- Wax or polish
- Boat soap or detergent
- Vinyl cleaner
- Glass cleaner
- Rust remover (if needed)
- Aluminum brightener (if needed)
Once you have all the equipment and supplies, you can proceed with cleaning your pontoon boat.
Cleaning the Hull
The hull is the most critical part of the boat, and cleaning it requires special attention. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Rinse the Hull: Start by rinsing the hull with a pressure washer or garden hose with a nozzle to remove loose dirt and debris.
2. Apply Boat Soap: Mix boat soap or detergent with water in a bucket, and apply it to the hull with a scrub brush or soft-bristled brush. Work in small sections, and rinse each section immediately to prevent the soap from drying on the hull.
3. Remove Stains: If there are any stubborn stains on the hull, use a rust remover or aluminum brightener as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to wear protective gloves and eyewear when handling these chemicals.
4. Rinse and Dry: Rinse the hull thoroughly with a pressure washer or garden hose to remove all soap and chemicals. Finally, dry the hull with a towel or chamois.
Cleaning the Deck
The deck is the most visible part of the boat, and it’s essential to keep it clean and shiny. Here’s how to clean the deck:
1. Rinse the Deck: Rinse the deck with a pressure washer or garden hose to remove loose dirt and debris.
2. Apply Vinyl Cleaner: Apply vinyl cleaner to the deck with a sponge or wash mitt, and scrub gently to remove any stains or dirt.
3. Rinse and Dry: Rinse the deck thoroughly with a pressure washer or garden hose to remove all soap and chemicals. Finally, dry the deck with a towel or chamois.
Cleaning a Pontoon Boat with Vinegar
Vinegar is a versatile cleaning agent that can clean different types of surfaces, including vinyl, aluminum, and fiberglass. You can use it to clean your pontoon boat’s seats, flooring, walls, and other surfaces.
Cleaning a pontoon boat with vinegar is a simple process that you can do yourself. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Gather Your Supplies: Before you start cleaning, gather all the supplies you’ll need, including:
- White vinegar
- Spray bottle
- Soft-bristled brush
- Microfiber cloth
2. Dilute the Vinegar: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a bucket. You can also add a few drops of dish soap to the mixture for extra cleaning power.
3. Spray the Mixture on the Surfaces: Using a spray bottle, apply the vinegar and water mixture to the surfaces of the pontoon boat. Spray the mixture generously, making sure to cover all the areas that need cleaning.
4. Scrub the Surfaces: Using a soft-bristled brush, scrub the surfaces of the pontoon boat gently. Pay special attention to the areas with stubborn stains or dirt buildup. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe away the dirt and grime.
5. Rinse the Boat: After you’ve cleaned all the surfaces, rinse the boat thoroughly with clean water. You can use a hose or a bucket of water to rinse off the vinegar solution. Make sure to rinse off all the soap and vinegar residue.
6. Dry the Boat: Once you’ve rinsed the boat, use a clean microfiber cloth to dry off the surfaces. Make sure to dry off all the water to prevent water spots from forming.
Cleaning Pontoon Boat Seats
Cleaning the seats is one of the most important parts of keeping your pontoon boat looking its best. Pontoon boat seats are typically made of vinyl, which is durable, easy to clean, and resistant to water and UV rays. However, regular cleaning is necessary to prevent dirt, grime, and stains from building up and causing damage to the material. Here are some tips and techniques for cleaning pontoon boat seats.
First, gather your supplies. Before you start cleaning your pontoon boat seats, you’ll need a bucket of warm water, a soft-bristled brush, a mild detergent, and a clean towel or rag. Once you have all of your supplies, you’re ready to get started.
Begin by clearing away any loose dirt and debris from the seats. You can use a vacuum cleaner or a brush with fine bristles to delicately sweep any residue, sand, or other debris. This will make it easier to clean the seats thoroughly.
Then, combine a little warm water and mild detergent in a bucket. Dip your brush into the soapy water and gently scrub the seats in a circular motion. Be careful not to scrub too hard, as this can damage the vinyl material. Instead, use a light touch and let the soapy water do the work.
After you’ve scrubbed the seats, rinse them thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue. Use a clean towel or rag to dry the seats, making sure to remove all excess water. You can use vinyl cleaning or a vinegar-and-water solution to get rid of any lingering stains or streaks.
Finally, to keep your pontoon boat seats looking their best, protecting them from the elements is important. Use a UV protectant spray to prevent fading and cracking caused by exposure to the sun, and cover the seats when the boat is not in use to prevent dirt, debris, and moisture from accumulating.
Is it safe to use vinegar on all types of boat surfaces?
Yes, vinegar is safe to use on all types of boat surfaces, including aluminum, fiberglass, and vinyl. However, make sure to test it on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage.
How often should I clean my pontoon boat?
The frequency of cleaning your pontoon boat depends on how often you use it and the conditions it’s exposed to. As a general rule, it’s best to clean your boat after every use to prevent dirt, grime, and stains from building up.
Can I use a pressure washer to clean my pontoon boat?
Yes, you can use a pressure washer to clean your pontoon boat, but make sure to use a low-pressure setting and avoid getting too close to the boat’s surfaces. High pressure can cause damage to the boat’s finish and paint.
How can I prevent mold and mildew from growing on my boat?
To prevent mold and mildew from growing on your boat, make sure to clean it regularly and allow it to dry thoroughly after each use. You can also use a mold and mildew cleaner or a solution of water and vinegar to remove any existing stains.
How do you clean the aluminum side of a pontoon boat?
Aluminum can be cleaned using a soft cloth and a solution of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. This will remove any dirt or grime from the surface without damaging it. If stubborn stains are on your pontoon boat’s aluminum, you can use a plastic scrubber. It would be best if you did not use abrasive cleaners such as steel wool or scouring powder on your pontoon boat’s aluminum because they will damage the finish.
You can clean the aluminum with baking soda if you don’t have white vinegar. To deep clean aluminum, begin by cleaning the outside of the boat with soapy water to identify the areas that need to be cleaned with vinegar.