If you are a new boater, welcome. On the other hand, if you are a long-time boater but have only recently decided it’s time to get the best boat wash for your precious craft, you’re welcome too.
Every boat owner takes the look of their ship seriously. That’s why cleaning and maintaining one is of utmost importance. In this day and age, there are hundreds of companies that claim their products are the best, but how can you tell for sure?
Luckily for you, we’ve got you covered. We’ve made it our job to review various marine products, and we are offering you boat wash reviews on top-selling goods, plus a compressed buying guide.
Hopefully, with our help and by the end of this article, you will know how to choose the best boat wash for your craft.
Best Boat Wash Comparison Chart
Waterless Wash Kit by Aero Cosmetics
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Star Brite Cleaner & Protectant
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Meguiar’s Marine/RV Boat Wash
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Star Brite Sea Safe Boat Wash
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H&M Boat Soap
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Star Brite Boat Wash
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Mothers Marine Wash ‘n Wax
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Best Boat Wash Reviews (Recommended Picks)
For your information, the following reviews are in no particular order.
1. Waterless Wash Kit by Aero Cosmetics
This is an entire cleaning kit from Aero Cosmetics, which you can use on our boat, car, RV, or motorcycle. The package consists of one gallon of the soap, a 16-ounce spray bottle, four microfiber towels, every 16×16 inches, a product description, and directions on how to use the kit. You can use this kit in two different ways – with or without water.
The cleaning product is versatile and can be used to clean a variety of surfaces. It lathers up quite nicely regardless of the way you choose to clean. After rinsing the surface, it isn’t slippery, and you see the enhanced shine. You can use this wash even on hardwood floors, too. For the price it comes at, we can conclude that it is a very cost-effective kit.
- It leaves a UV rays protective layer on the cleaned surfaces.
- This wash is good to use inside and outside and on your boat windows.
- Using this boat soap on graphics doesn’t fade them.
- It doesn’t cause eye or skin irritation like most products.
- Not only is this biodegradable, but it is also plant-based and doesn’t contain alcohol or ammonia.
- It doesn’t work on hard water spots, only on freshwater ones.
2. Star Brite Cleaner & Protectant
Star Brite’s boat cleaner and protectant don’t contain acids, bleach, or other caustic compounds. It is environmentally-friendly and won’t be dangerous to animals if some amount leaks in the water. The wash is colorless and has the consistency of motor oil. This product effectively removes mild and strong stains and grime, bird droppings, fish blood from your boat. It’s exceptional on fiberglass but also on vinyl, glass, and painted surfaces without removing their polish.
To use it on your boat, you don’t have to dilute it. Simply pour a small amount on the area you need to clean and use a soft or medium brush to scrub it. No need for hard scrubbing, but you have to rinse the product when you’re done. This cleaner leaves a protective non-slippery layer to prevent future stains. It lasts for about two weeks. What is more, one gallon of this wash is enough to clean about 500 sq. ft.
- It has a biodegradable formula.
- Soap and water remove it from your hands.
- There’s no expiration date.
- This boat wash won’t help to get rid of oxidation or mildew efficiently. At most, it will lighten the stains, but they will re-appear.
3. Meguiar’s Marine/RV Boat Wash
This Meguiar marine wash is a 64-fluid ounce concentrate which means the product works by diluting it in water. You don’t have to use this at full strength but alter it at proportions 1 ounce of the cleaner to 1 gallon of water. The wash has a long-lasting sudsing power, which dissolves scum and grime efficiently.
The boat cleaner has to be rinsed well from all of the lather it makes. What is more, after rinsing the product leaves the surface non-slippery and doesn’t scratch or damage polish. You may also safely use Meguiar’s boat cleaner on Awlgrip paint or your car.
This product is biodegradable and safe if it spills in water accidentally. Also, it’s a non-streaking boat cleaner which preserves the wax.
- It has a pleasant and refreshing scent.
- This is an economy size.
- You can use it on a bass boat.
- The formula has conditioners that leave the cleaned surface shining.
- No distinct disadvantages.
4. Star Brite Sea Safe Boat Wash
Star Brite is an established marine products manufacturer, and this is their boat soap, which works both in fresh and saltwater. The size of this cleaner is 32 fl. oz. but it is super concentrated and lasts a long time. Its recommended dose is three capfuls diluted in a bucket of water, and that is enough to clean a 25-foot boat.
This isn’t a harsh washing detergent and has balanced pH levels. It is safe to use on gel-coating and waxed surfaces. The cleaner is suitable to use for regular cleaning and maintenance of your boat. Its formula eliminates dirt and light stains, fish blood, bird droppings, and salt deposits.
If you’re not a fan of a lot of foam, this product is ideal for you. What’s more, it is at a reasonable price and definitely cost-effective.
- You can add this to a pressure sprayer or foam cannon.
- The boat wash has a biodegradable formula, with no acids or harsh chemicals.
- It’s useful for a range of surfaces – wood, plastic, painted surfaces, fiberglass, vinyl, glass, and rubber.
- Low-sudsing cleaner, which is easily rinsed.
- This is a light formula and may not help with very tough stains and grime.
5. H&M Boat Soap
This is a pine cone scented boat soap from H&M and is very concentrated. As the bottle says, it is enough to produce a combined amount of 94 gallons of boat cleaner. You can use this boat soap to wash wood, fiberglass, plastic, all metals, and even your car. Its formula is gentle yet effective.
The cleanser lathers up nicely, and the suds last a long time, but it’s also easy to rinse. This product cleans grime and dirt, seagull droppings, and fish blood well from crafts. However, it might not be the ideal choice for tough stains. This soap is great for regular boat surfaces maintenance and cleaning. Plus, this cleaning agent doesn’t leave spots and it isn’t slippery.
You can use this soap mixture on non-skid surfaces as well. On all other surfaces, the product leaves a wax coating, which doesn’t yellow over time. What is more, you can use this boat wash to clean windows.
- The formula is a combination of a cleaning agent.
- Also, it protects metal surfaces from getting water stains.
- This soap leaves a nice after smell to the surface.
- It’s good to use on metal and painted surfaces.
- This product is chemical-free and is biodegradable.
- No noticeable disadvantages.
6. Star Brite Boat Wash
This biodegradable boat wash from Star Brite has a citrus scent. Its orange aroma helps considerably with fish smell. However, it is not a heavy-duty formula. You may double the recommended dose if there are tougher stains or simply re-apply the product. Overall, you can use this cleaning agent as concentrated as you need it to be to remove the grime from your boat. The product is available in two sizes – a 32-ounce and a 128-ounce.
Star Brite’s Boat Wash product isn’t super aggressive, but it’s reasonably priced for what it offers. You can use this very sparingly since it is a concentrate. Its recommended dose is three capfuls, which equal one ounce, in a bucket of water, but as we said, you may change it. Furthermore, this cleaner doesn’t remove existing polish from the boat surfaces.
The soap is good to use on various surfaces, including vinyl, fiberglass, metal, but also rubber, plastic, and painted surfaces.
- This soap can be used with a pressure washer for a faster and easier boat cleaning.
- After using this product, your boat will have a protective polymer coating that protects it from UV rays.
- Even after rinsing the lather, this boat wash leaves a pleasant citrus scent.
- No disadvantages.
7. Mothers Marine Wash ‘n Wax
Mothers’ Marine Wash cleans up dust and grime from various surfaces. It’s a pH-balanced soap and is safe to use in your car or RV. The wash formula doesn’t hurt existing polish or paint. Keep in mind that this product comes only in a 32-ounce bottle, but its design and shape make it look much more prominent.
This product lathers well, but if you’re looking for a lot of foam, this may not be the right choice for you. You may use it with a soft or semi-soft brush to scrub tougher stains and gunk. Also, you can dilute the soap at the proportions you deem fit based on your boat’s needs. If you use the boat wash for regular dust and filth, you will need a small amount of the product, and it will last you for a long time. The suds last a long enough time to dissolve scum, saltwater stains, fish blood, etc.
Overall, for what it costs, it’s efficient boat soap and leaves a nice glossy look on your boat.
- A pack of six bottles is available.
- It’s a low-sudsing formula for no-hassle rinsing.
- This product is biodegradable.
- If not well rinsed, it leaves spots on the treated surface.
What is Boat Wash, and How Does it Work?
This is a cleaning agent that is designed to eliminate the filth and grime that boats suffer from. Such are bird droppings, scum, saltwater stains, fish blood and smell, and general dirt and grime. Some products are designed to treat specific parts of a boat, while there are versatile ones that are good to use on various surfaces.
The more versatile the product, the more you get for the price since with one product, you can treat most, if not all surfaces on your boat. However, that may come with downsides such as decreased strength. So, you should decide if you need a specialized and a strong product, or a mild generic soap that you can use on the interior and exterior of your craft.
It may sound a bit intimidating at first, but boat cleaning isn’t that complicated. All you have to do is follow the product’s instructions.
Why Do You Need to Use a Boat Wash?
Regardless of whether your boat is brand new or second-hand, it needs regular cleaning and maintenance, just like your car. It’s also important where you sail – in fresh or saltwater. Both have different effects on all boat materials, like causing mildew and oxidation. Paint can become scratched, yellow, or stain if you don’t take care of your vehicle. After some time, your boat looks old and dingy, not to mention that seagulls leave their acidic droppings all over your ship which are unsightly and can damage the paint.
That being said, keep in mind that there are boat washes intended to work on salt or freshwater. So, whichever you need, there’s a product for you.
Key Features to Lookout For When Buying a Boat Wash
The first and most important thing to consider when choosing a boat wash is not the cleaning product itself but your boat. Soaps are made to treat a range of materials that boats are made of. So, you need to find a product intended to use on the materials on your boat. If yours is made mainly from fiberglass and wood, that’s what you need to use on the boat. However, if you need soap for an inflatable unit made from rubber or fabric, you should select a milder product that won’t damage it.
So when you are sure about the material or materials you need to clean, then you should be on the lookout for the following features:
- Ingredients: You will likely be cleaning your boat above water. Therefore, you should get a boat wash that doesn’t contain any dangerous chemicals that could be hazardous to marine life. Most products are labeled as eco-friendly and biodegradable. That means they do not contain ammonia, phosphates, and some are even alcohol-free. These are the safest types of boat soap you should use.
- Cleaning power: If you need an all-purpose soap for your cleaning and maintenance arsenal, you should get one. However, if you need to get rid of tougher spots, water stains, grime, you will need a powerful formula. Luckily, there are all kinds of products with formulas ranging from daily soaps to heavy-duty ones. Keep in mind that a boat wash isn’t any oxidation or a mildew remover. At most, such a product will get rid of some stains but won’t prevent them from re-appearing.
What is more, these eco-friendly products are not as powerful as their chemical counterparts. Re-applying them a few times might be needed for heavy-duty dirt and stains.
- A plain formula or with wax: You will notice that in some of our reviews, the cleaning agents are combined with wax. Such products help with eliminating dirt and with enhancing the shine on the treated surfaces. If your boat’s hull and deck are looking dull and you want to bring their glossy look back, this might be the way to go. These boat washes do not remove the existing layers of polish. What they do is leave another protective wax layer on the treated area. But in cases where you need a simple soap to remove grime, you should get the plain soap formula.
- Application: There are a couple of ways to apply your boat wash, all of which efficient but time-consuming. The three ways to apply the product are with a brush, with a sponge, or with a spray and cloth. One might say that using a spray is faster, however, we disagree. The results can turn up worse, and if your boat is large, it may take even longer. Spraying and wiping are great to do in a smaller area or on the interior of the ship. For cleaning the deck or the hull, you may find it easier to use a brush or a sponge. Both do well at removing stains and tougher grime because you apply more physical effort into it.
- Scent: As with most cleaning products, boat washes come scented too. There are, of course, unscented products, if you prefer such. On the other hand, you may want your boat to have a pleasant fragrance to replace the fish smell. There are products for that too. Some of the most popular scents are pine cone and citrus.
How Often Should You Clean a Boat?
It is recommended that you clean or at least rinse your craft after each sailing. This rule is more important if you sail in saltwater because the salt causes the hull to fade and acquire scratches faster than freshwater. That being said, you aren’t obligated to use soap every time. Even if you use only water, it would still be helpful. In fact, using soap too often can have a downside, as well. The excessive use of boat wash can break down the wax on your boat.
Yes, some products are a combination of soap and wax, but we suggest that unless your boat needs to be polished a bit, you should use plain soap. Maintaining your boat’s interior and exterior on a daily basis will guarantee that it will survive being subjected to any harsh conditions. If you are interested in reading about additional work you can do to protect your marine vehicle, you can take a look at our page on boat detailing and maintenance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use My Boat Soap to Clean the Inside and Outside of My Boat?
As you see from our reviews above, most if not all marine wash products are suitable for cleaning the interior and exterior of your boat. There are various products with different features. Some marine cleaning products can also be used on other types of vehicles, like RVs, cars, even motorcycles. On the other hand, some are strictly made for boats and can damage the paint on your car.
Do I Have to Buy a Wash and a Wax Combined or Separately?
You can buy them separately. It depends on your budget on how much time you have to work on your boat, but most importantly, it depends on the ship’s condition. Keep in mind that products that combine soap and wax simply leave a glossier finish on the surface. These cannot be used as substitutes for waxing the surface. So, if your boat needs waxing, get soap and wax separately.
Do I Need to Prepare the Surface Before I Use the Soap?
No, you don’t have to do anything before applying the soap. After all, it is a boat wash, and it’s intended to clean grime, dust, stains, or water spots from your craft. You can use a boat wash to prepare a surface for another treatment, like stripping gel coat or waxing. At most, if the craft is too filthy, you may rinse it first to get rid of loose dirt before you apply the boat wash.
Should I Use a Cloth, a Sponge, or a Brush?
Many newly boat owners stress about how to wash a boat, but it’s simple. You can use whichever you feel will do the best work on your boat. If it’s too grimy and dirty, you may need to use a brush. You should also know that there are different kinds of boat brushes. You can read our detailed posts and reviews on boat cleaning brushes.
Does Any Boat Wash Remove Oxidation?
Unfortunately, no boat wash does, because they are not intended to do so. If your craft has rust stains or suffers from mild or heavy oxidation, you will need a more robust product. To heal your boat from oxidation, you can read more on the subject in our article and boat oxidation remover reviews.
We arrived at the end here. We genuinely hope that our guide and our boat wash reviews help you in your quest to find a good cleaning product for your ship. It is not as easy as choosing a dishwashing soap, but we’ve summed up the essential information for you.
Investing in a good boat doesn’t end there. Finding and using the right cleaning and maintenance products is also a substantial investment. You may even be surprised that the best boat wash for your craft isn’t as expensive as you’d expect it to be.
Thank you for reading our reviews and guide. Feel free to share your feedback with us in the comments down below.