How To Clean A
Non-Skid Boat Deck

Paul Luisi
by Paul
Luisi

Cleaning a boat deck will remove stains, grease, dirt, sludge and grime from a boat.

Leaving your deck dirty and unkempt will tarnish the aesthetics and visual appeal.

These boat deck cleaning tips will apply to the different types of non-skid boat decks.

These include gelcoat, treadmaster, kiwigrip and painted non-skid decks.

To Clean A Non-Skid Boat Deck: 

  1. Vacuum loose and bulky dirt off the boat deck
  2. Pour fresh water over the deck area
  3. Mix bucket of warm water with a non-skid deck boat cleaning fluid
  4. Scrub the deck with soft bristle deck brush or mop and deck cleaner
  5. Rinse the deck with fresh water
  6. Dry the deck with old towel or cloth

Follow the steps to have your boat deck looking spotless, clean and fresh.

Ensure the right cleaner is used for the right boat deck type.

For example, different types of coatings make non-skid decks delicate.

Therefore, cleaning them requires specially formulated cleaners that won't damage the non-skid coating.

Step 1: Vacuum loose and bulky dirt off the boat deck

Vacuuming loose dirt off the boat deck will:

  • Remove bulky, larger dirt and sludge: Vacuuming the deck first will get rid of the bigger dirt and dust build up on the deck.
  • Prevent the deck from getting messy: Removing the heavy dirt will prevent the deck from getting even dirtier when water is added.
  • Remove dirt you might not have seen: Vacuums can reach dirty spots you might not have seen like corners of the deck.

Vacuuming the boat deck should take approximately 10 - 15 minutes to complete.

This will depend on the size of the deck.

Do not use a vacuum if there is a build up of water on the deck.

Summary
Use a vacuum to get the bulkier surface dirt off the deck. This will remove any of the excess dirt build up.

Step 2: Pour fresh water over the boat deck

Pour fresh water over the boat deck. This will loosen up the trapped dirt and sludge.

Wetting the deck area before washing it should take no longer than 2 - 5 minutes.

Summary
Wet the deck area with fresh water to loosen up any sludge and trapped dirt.

Step 3: Mix bucket of warm water with deck cleaner fluid

Get a bucket of warm water and mix it with non skid deck cleaner fluid.

A non skid deck cleaner will lift dirt from deck surfaces. It will add a non-slippery protective polymer coating too.

This special coating helps prevent stains and grime from embedding on to the surface again.

Mixing the cleaner with the warm water should only take at most 2 minutes.

Summary
Get a bucket of warm water and mix non skid deck cleaner into it. This cleaner will add a protective coating to the decking area.

Step 4: Scrub the boat deck with a soft bristle brush and cleaning fluid

Start scrubbing the dirty areas on the boat deck with a soft bristle deck brush or mop. This will: 

  • Remove sludge and stains: Thoroughly cleaning the deck will remove stains, sludge and general dirt build up.
  • Prevent damage to the deck: Using a soft bristle brush or mop will prevent the deck from being scratched or cracked.
  • Add a protective coating to the deck: Using a non-skid deck cleaner will add a protective coating that resists staining and weathering.

Washing the boat deck should take 10 - 20 minutes. This will depend on the size of the deck.

SummaryUse a soft bristle brush or mop and start washing the dirty areas on the boat deck with the cleaning fluid.

Step 5: Rinse the deck with fresh water

Get a bucket of fresh water and rinse the cleaning fluid and dirt off the deck.

Please do this in an environmentally safe way.

The rinse should take 5 - 10 minutes to complete.

Summary
Rinse the dirt and cleaning fluid off the boat deck with fresh water. Do this in an environmentally friendly way.

Step 6: Dry the deck with an old towel or cloth

Use a towel or cloth to dry off the boat deck. This will remove the remaining cleaning fluid.

It will also remove the stubborn stains and final bits of dirt.

After drying, the deck should look spotless, clean and ready to use again.

Summary
Dry off the remaining cleaning fluid and water with an old towel or cloth. This will remove those final stains and dirt.

Products To Use When Cleaning Non-Skid Boat Deck

When cleaning non skid boat decks, products to use include: 

  • A deck brush: Use a deck brush to help with the sweeping and removing of loose dirt.
  • Marine grade deck cleaner: Use a top non-skid deck cleaner product to help remove deep stains and dirt from the deck.
  • Bucket of warm water: Use warm water to mix with the deck cleaner
  • Sponge & Cloth: Use a sponge for scrubbing and a cloth or towel for drying the non-skid deck.
Summary
Use a marine grade deck cleaner, a deck brush, a soft towel and a bucket of warm water.

Products To Avoid When Cleaning Non-Skid Boat Deck

When cleaning non skid boat decks, you should avoid: 

  • Regularly Cleaning With Bleach: Using bleach once is fine but using it regularly will remove protective layers from the deck.
  • Using Household Cleaners: These are too strong for some non-skid boat decks. Instead use marine grade cleaners only.
  • Cleaning With Gasoline: Gasoline will cause the deck to smell and it's flammable.

These products should be avoided when cleaning boat decks.

Summary
Avoid regularly cleaning a non skid deck with bleach, gasoline or household cleaners.

Alternative Non-Skid Boat Deck Cleaning Options

Alternative boat deck cleaning options include: 

  • Hiring a professional deck cleaning service: A company will come and clean the deck for you. They will have the deck looking clean and spotless.
  • Hire a professional cleaner: Find a professional person at your local marina to come and do the cleaning work.

These options are best for those that want to outsource the cleaning.

Summary
Hire a professional boat cleaning service and outsource the work. Alternatively, hire a professional boat cleaner to do the work. It will cost between $200 - $400.

Ongoing Non-Skid Boat Deck Maintenance

When the boat is used regularly, clean the deck at least once a month.

This will help remove dirt, stains, sludge, grime and have your vessel clean and spotless.

Summary
With regular boat use, clean the boat deck at least once a month. This will keep the boat clean and fresh for passengers.

How To Clean Boat Deck Video Instructions

Below is a video from Kyle Johnson on cleaning and removing dirt from a boat deck.