Easy Boat Hull Cleaning Techniques


Boat hull cleaning is one of the most important rituals to maintain if you want your cruise to be in tip-top shape. Yes, a dirty hull can cause multiple damages that’ll end up hurting your pocket.

Cleaning the hull isn’t as daunting as you might think. There are numerous enjoyable ways to clean the boat, whether it’s in or out of the water. Besides, there are tools for when your diver’s side is ready to go into the water and other tools for cleaning while standing.

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about cleaning the hull of your boat, so let’s get started!

What’s the Importance of Boat Hull Cleaning?

Cleaning the hull of your boat is just as important as cleaning any other part of it, and here are six reasons why:

  1. Prevents Potential Damage

Regularly removing dirt, barnacles, and germs protects the hull of the boat from discoloration and possible corrosion. 

Algae and sludge accumulations can also clog your boat’s propellers.

  1. Improves Boat Performance

The boat’s movements are automatically slowed when there’s an excess weight lodged on the hull.

  1. Reduces Fuel Consumption

When the boat’s movements are slowed, more fuel is required. Cleaning its hull will make it easier for it to move through water, lowering its fuel usage. 

You’ll also be doing our beautiful planet a favor by burning less fuel.

  1. Maintains Engine Health

If your boat moves smoothly through the water with the proper amount of fuel, you’ll avoid the possibility of an overheated engine.

  1. Less Haul Outs

Haul outs can be costly in terms of both time and money. Scum will accumulate if you continue to leave your hull dirty. You’ll notice how this drags your boat and affects its performance. As a result, you’ll need to remove it from the water to properly clean it.

  1. Saves Money

Overall, keeping your hull clean will save you money in some way. Either by using less fuel or having fewer haul-outs. Most importantly, it’ll help you avoid potential damages that would be costly to repair.

How to Clean a Boat Hull On Land

We’ll start by showing you how to clean your boat’s hull while it’s out of the water. Surprisingly, cleaning it isn’t that difficult. Don’t worry though; we’re not going to demand a magical formula or anything. In fact, we’ll be sharing a DIY cleaning solution with you in a couple of minutes. 

Cleaning Technique #1: Semi-clean Hull

If your boat’s hull doesn’t require extensive cleaning, there’s no need to go all out. The following steps will get you there:

  1. Rinse the hull with a hose or a bucket of water. This is done to clean the surface of salt, mold, barnacles, and algae residues.
  2. Purchase a specialized hull cleaner of your choice and mix it with water according to the directions on the package
  3. Soak a large sponge in the cleaning solution and begin thoroughly scrubbing the hull. Choose a soft sponge and move it gently across the hull to avoid ruining the paint job.
  4. Rinse the cleaner out using clean water
  5. Wipe down the boat with another sponge soaked water only

Cleaning Technique #2: Soiled Hull

Sometimes a sponge and a cleaner aren’t enough to clean the boat’s hull. Thus, in this technique, we’ll add a little more zing to it to restore your hull to its former glory:

  1. Begin by rinsing off any accumulated residues on the hull
  2. Combine an acid-based cleaner, such as muriatic acid, with water. Then, fill a spray bottle with the solution.
  3. Spray the mixture on the boat’s hull and leave it for a few minutes, or until it feels clean but no longer than 15 minutes
  4. Remove the cleaner and scum using a soft boat brush
  5. Wipe down the hall with a soft sponge soaked in water

DIY Cleaning Solution

This cleaner recipe is very simple and only requires two ingredients. You’ll find these ingredients laying somewhere in your kitchen:

  • Vinegar – It’s a powerful cleaning agent due to its high acidity. It helps in dissolving dirt and debris while also killing bacteria and microbes.
  • Baking soda – It’s also a strong cleaning ingredient as it breaks down grease and accumulated dirt. Baking soda, in addition to being abrasive, also helps in the elimination of foul odors since it’s an excellent odor neutralizer

Now for the application part, follow the cleaning steps outlined in the techniques above, and when it comes to adding the cleaner:

  1. Mix two cups of water with half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of vinegar
  2. Shake all the ingredients well in a spray bottle
  3. Spray the solution on the boat’s hull and wait for 10 to 15 minutes
  4. Remove the solution with a sponge or a boat brush, depending on the situation

How to Clean a Boat Hull in Water

If your boat is in the water and you want to clean its hull, no problem! We’ll just need some extra tools to get the job done. These tools are classified according to whether you’re up for a swim or want to clean the hull while standing on the ground.

Getting Into the Water

We like to call this method a “pro” method of cleaning because it’s far more effective than the second. 

It goes without saying that before you jump in the water, you should bring a partner with you in case something goes wrong. Besides, check the weather forecast for that day so it doesn’t start raining cats and dogs while you’re in the water. 

Now that we’ve covered the safety precautions, let’s look at the tools you’ll need:

  1. Hull Scraper

This tool will be extremely useful in removing all of the sticky scum from the hull. Hull scrapers are typically lightweight, so using them underwater shouldn’t be an issue. 

However, you should be cautious when scraping the grime off because you may accidentally scrape off the hull’s paint.

  1. Electric Hull Cleaning Brush

Not going to lie, this tool is expensive so we only recommend it for professionals and, of course, individuals who can afford it. 

Those electric brushes are quite effective because they remove all types of marine growth while preserving the paint job. 

Most of them can run for up to two hours non-stop when fully charged, so you can take your time down there.

Standing on the Ground 

There’s also equipment for those who don’t want to get in the water. While standing on the ground, you can clean the boat’s hull with either of the following tools:

  1. Hull Scraper with Telescopic Handle

There are a few brands that sell such scrapers. It’s basically scrapers in the form of a groovy head that’s attached to a long handle. 

The groovy head is responsible for removing all of the loose mold and barnacles from the hull. 

However, it won’t clean smaller residues such as dirt or grease.

  1. C-Shaped Hull Brush

This tool has an elongated C-shaped handle with a brush head at its tip. The C-shape allows you to have more control while cleaning on deck or standing outside the boat. 

It cleans your boat’s hull of the accumulated small residues while also being gentle on the polish.

How Often Should I Clean a Boat Hull?

Now that you understand the significance of hull boat cleaning, you may be wondering how frequently you should do it. Depending on the circumstances, you should have your boat’s hull cleaned every one to three months. 

For example, the frequency with which you clean the boat is affected by its usage. The more you use the boat, the more frequently you should clean its hull. Water salinity and temperature also play a role in accelerating accumulations. 

That being said, you should perform regular hull inspections to assess the situation before it’s too late.

In Short

I hope that by the end of this article, you are excited to start your boat hull cleaning process! Keep the hull clean and it’ll reward you in the best way possible. 

You’ll save money, have a faster boat, and, most importantly, you’ll avoid potential damage.

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