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Boat cleaning frequently asked questions

Posted on September 4th 2017

Boat cleaning FAQs

Cleaning is an inevitable task of running a yacht or owning a boat. Crew know only too well how much time and effort goes into keeping the yacht clean and glossy, both inside and out. We put together our most frequently asked questions to make the job as easy as possible for you and to ensure a pristine finish.

Answers to your most frequently asked boat cleaning questions

  1. How often should I wash my boat?
    Airborne particles, stains, and moisture that remain on a boat for long periods of time can damage the gelcoat. We recommend a monthly wash down to prolong the boat’s appearance. However, bird droppings, salt spray and tree sap should ideally be washed off instantly, otherwise it will stain the paint, especially if the boat sits in direct sunlight.
  2. Do I need to wax my yacht?
    You should wax your boat at least three times a year, typically in March, July and November.
  3. What products should I use?
    Always opt for marine specific products, don’t substitute with other alternatives – it will hinder you in the long run. You’ll need a boat cleaner, limescale remover, cutting paste or course compound, wax, sponge, microfibre towel and we recommend a compound or buffing machine.
  4. Does the time of day make a difference to boat cleaning?
    We recommend that boat cleaning and waxing should be carried out in the evening. This is especially true in hotter regions, when the soap will dry quickly, causing smears and impacting the wax.
  5. What should I expect to pay for professional boat cleaning services?
    As a company, CleanToGleam charges £5 per ft which includes: Hand superstructure and hull down to the waterline, exterior canopy hand washed, non-slipper surface cleaned, fenders, guardrails and exterior glass. Our prices are very competitive – you can use this as a benchmark to compare quotes; just make sure you understand what you get for your money.
  6. What is boat detailing?
    Detailing is a word that the Americans use, in the UK we call it valeting. However boat detailing is more advanced than a standard clean or even a valet in our eyes. It’s going the extra mile and paying attention to the finer ‘details’ to truly make the vessel sparkle. For example, take the guard rails for instance, we would wash the rails first, then hand polish them with chrome polish and buff it off with a micro fibre cloth.
  7. Why use a boat cleaning service?
    Over the last 20 years we’ve watched people attempt to clean their boats with fairy liquid, which typically flattens the gel coat, as well as bleach and other household goods, even car products, thinking they were saving time and money, not realising they’re damaging the yacht.
    We’ve even seen other cleaning companies [who we won’t name] using these non-marine products as it’s cheap. Many boat owners wash their boats themselves a few times a year, and typically find it very difficult to get to the hull, flybridge and other hard-to-reach areas. Consequently, over a period of time the boat collects months, if not years’ worth of dirt and grime, and becomes damaged or faded from the elements.
    It’s important to keep on top of cleaning, we offer a basic monthly wash down for this very reason.
  8. How long does it take to clean a 24m yacht?
    Based on our experience; if you carry out a monthly wash down, this should take one person 5 hours. However, for a bronze-style service you’re looking at 10 hours.
  9. What should I use to clean stainless steel?
    Use a boat wash product to clean off all excess first, followed by a chrome polish, adaptor pad for the polish and take off any remaining residue with a micro fibre cloth. This will leave your stainless steel sparkling.
  10. The decking is faded…How can I restore the colour?
    There are different options: First of all if the decking is faded, always clean the decking on hard standing, not in the water. There’s a two-stage treatment on the market which works, however it can cause harm to the gel coat if spilt. Therefore, mask around the decking which is being treated to stop overspill and more importantly, don’t use it on the water, it’s not good for sea life.

The other option is to use a boat wash cleaner to get all the excess off the decking, then apply the deck cleaner with a light brush and clean a square meter at a time then rinse off. You might have to go over it twice if heavily soiled and take a little longer, but it’s safer.

After cleaning the decks, there’s different teak oils you can use which have different colours for your final finish, most last 12 months depending on how you look after your decks throughout the year. Personally I would ask the local marina you’re in if this is something they offer.

If you require a professional yacht cleaning service, get in touch for a quote.

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