Cleaning a boat deck will remove stains, grease, dirt, sludge and grime from a boat deck surface.
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:
- Vacuum loose and bulky dirt off the boat deck
- Mix a bucket of warm water with a non-skid boat deck cleaner
- Scrub the deck with a soft bristle deck brush
- Rinse the deck with fresh water & dry it with a 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.
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1.Vacuum Loose And Bulky Dirt Off The Boat Deck
The first step of cleaning a non-skid boat deck is to vacuum loose and bulky dirt up from the deck.
To vacuum a non-skid boat deck:
- Run a vacuum over the entire non-skid boat deck surface
- Use a specific vacuum nozzle to remove dirt and dust from those harder-to-reach surfaces on the boat deck
- Continue vacuuming the boat deck until all the loose dirt is removed
For most recreational boats, vacuuming a non-skid boat deck should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
For larger boats with much larger boat decks, vacuuming the non-skid boat deck should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
The benefits of vacuuming loose dirt off the boat deck are:
- Removes bulky, larger dirt and sludge: Vacuuming the deck first will get rid of the bigger dirt and dust build-up on the deck
- Prevents the deck from getting messy: Removing the heavy dirt will prevent the deck from getting even dirtier when water is added
- Removes dirt you might not have seen: Vacuums can reach dirty spots you might not have seen like corners of the deck
An important factor to consider is to not use a vacuum on the deck if the deck is covered in water as water may damage the vacuum.
Use a vacuum to get the bulkier surface dirt off the deck. This will remove excessive dirt buildup and prepare the deck for washing.
2. Mix A Bucket Of Warm Water With A Non-Skid Deck Cleaner Fluid
The second step of cleaning a non-skid boat deck is to mix a bucket of warm water with a non-skid deck cleaner product.
To mix the warm water with non-skid deck cleaner:
- Fill a bucket with warm water
- Pour between 1 to 3 capsules of non-skid deck cleaner into the warm water
- Mix it with a deck brush until it starts to foam
Mixing the warm water with a non-skid deck cleaner product should take 5 minutes at most to complete.
The benefits of using a non-skid deck cleaner mixed with warm water include:
- Non-skid deck cleaner will lift dirt from non-skid deck surfaces: This cleaner is specifically designed to work on non-skid boat decks and it will help remove all the dirt on these types of decks
- It will add a non-slippery protective polymer coating too: A non-skid deck cleaner adds a protective polymer coating top to the anti slip deck surface. This special coating helps prevent stains and grime from embedding onto the surface again
- It will not remove polish or wax from the non-skid deck surface: While a non-skid deck cleaner will clean the deck, it will not remove wax or polish that may be previously applied to the surface
- It will not damage the non-skid boat deck paint: A non-skid boat deck cleaner is specially formulated to not damage the boat paint on the deck area
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 and is specifically used for cleaning non-skid boat decks.
3. Scrub The Boat Deck With A Soft Bristle Brush & Cleaning Fluid
The third step of cleaning the non-skid boat deck is to scrub the deck with a bristle deck brush and the mixed cleaning fluid.
To scrub a non-skid boat deck:
- Dip the bristle brush into the cleaning bucket: Dip a bristle deck brush into the mixed warm water and cleaning fluid bucket
- Scrub the deck surface in sections: Use the deck brush to scrub the boat deck in sections
- Thoroughly scrub one section of the deck at a time before moving to another: Scrub one section of the boat deck surface at a time before moving onto another section. This will ensure every part of the boat deck is completely cleaned
For most recreational boats like pontoons and deck boats, scrubbing the boat deck with a non-skid cleaner and a deck brush should take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete.
For larger boats with much larger decks, scrubbing the deck should take approximately 45 minutes to complete.
The benefits of scrubbing a non-skid boat deck with a deck brush and a non-skid boat deck cleaner include:
- Removes sludge and stains: Thoroughly cleaning the deck will remove stains, sludge and general dirt buildup
- Prevents damage to the marine deck: Using a soft bristle brush or mop will prevent the deck from being scratched, cracked or damaged
- Adds a protective coating to the deck: Using a non-skid deck cleaner will add a protective coating that resists staining and weathering
Use a soft bristle brush or mop and start washing the dirty areas on the boat deck with the non-skid deck cleaning fluid.
4. Rinse The Boat Deck With Fresh Water & Dry It Off
The fourth step of cleaning a non-skid boat deck is to rinse the soapy deck with fresh water and a hose and then dry it off with a towel or microfiber cloth.
To rinse off the non-skid boat deck and dry it off:
- Get a hose and rinse off the boat deck with fresh water
- Rinse every part of the boat deck surface thoroughly to ensure there is no soap, non-skid deck cleaner fluid or dirt left on the deck surface
- Get a towel and dry the boat deck in sections
- Use the towel and wipe in a circular motion to ensure every part of the soapy water is dried
For most recreational boats, rinsing the deck with fresh water and drying it off with a towel should take approximately 20 minutes to complete.
For larger boats with a larger deck, rinsing the deck with fresh water and drying it off with a towel should take approximately 40 minutes to 60 minutes to complete.
The benefits of rinsing the boat deck and drying it off include:
- It removes the soapy and dirty water: Rinsing the boat deck with a hose and fresh water will help remove the dirty and soapy water
- It removes the final stubborn stains and trapped dirt: Using a towel to dry off the boat deck helps to remove those final stubborn stains on the deck
- It prevents stained water streaks from forming: Drying off the deck with a towel will help prevent those water streak stains from forming
Rinse the boat deck with fresh water and dry it off with a towel to remove those final stains and dirty spots.
Products To Use When Cleaning A Non-Skid Boat Deck
When cleaning a non-skid boat deck, products to use include:
- Deck brush: Use a soft bristle deck brush to help with the scrubbing of the deck and the mixing of the warm water and the non-skid deck cleaner fluid
- Marine grade deck cleaner: Use a top non-skid boat 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
- Marine Buffer: Use a marine buffer to help with shining the deck
- Towel: Use a towel to also help with the drying of the boat deck
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 a non-skid boat deck, the products to avoid:
- Bleach: Avoid using bleach as it will remove protective layers from the deck and cause it to get damaged.
- Using Household Cleaners: Household cleaners are sometimes too strong for some non-skid boat decks. Instead, use marine-grade cleaners only
- Gasoline: Do not clean a boat deck with gasoline. Gasoline will cause the deck to smell and it's flammable and it can cause the boat paint to crack and peel
SummaryAvoid regularly cleaning a non-skid deck with bleach, gasoline or household cleaners as these products can damage the boat deck.
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.
SummaryHire a professional boat cleaning service and outsource the work. Alternatively, hire a professional boat cleaner to do the work. It will cost between $100 - $200 for most recreational vessels.
Frequently Asked Questions About Non-Skid Boat Deck Cleaning
Below are some common questions asked about cleaning a no-skid boat deck.
How Often Should A Non-Skid Boat Deck Be Cleaned?
When the boat is used regularly, a non-skid boat deck should be cleaned once per month.
This will help remove dirt, stains, sludge, grime and have your vessel regularly clean and spotless
Can Bleach Be Used To Clean A Non-Skid Boat Deck?
Bleach should not be used to clean a non-skid boat deck as it can cause the paint to crack and get damaged.
Can Boat Wax Be Used On A Non-Skid Boat Deck?
Yes, boat wax can be used on a non-skid boat deck. Star Brite Premium Marine Polish is the best wax for boats deck surface and adding a shine to it.