How to Clean Pontoons (Polishing Your Boat!)

Just like none wants to live in a dirty home, none wants to ride around on a dirty pontoon boat. This is not only because we don’t want people to think we’re dirty slobs, but it’s also a lot more hygienic and makes us feel better about ourselves. In this article, I’ll be explaining how to clean your pontoon boat. More specifically, I’ll be explaining how to prepare your pontoon for cleaning, how to apply cleaner, buff and apply shark hide.

Having your pontoon boat cleaned and polished professionally can be very expensive (Some places will charge as much as $500!). Therefore, it’s always best to clean and polish your boat, yourself. Cleaning your boat is a very easy task, though it can be time-consuming. You can expect the task to take around 2 hours, though this depends on the size of your boat. As you may have expected, a larger boat will generally take longer to clean as there’s more areas that’ll need cleaning.

Preparing your pontoon for cleaning

The first step in the process of cleaning your boat, is preparing it for cleaning. This involves the removal of any build-up on your pontoon. Algae may be present on your boat if you leave your boat docked at the marina when you’re not using it. However, if you don’t leave your boat docked – then your boat is most likely algae free.

If this is the case for you then the preparing process is very easy. Simply just wash down your boat using a pressure washer. Don’t have one? Then you could use a bucket and cloth to wash down your boat, however this isn’t as effective and can be very time consuming. Therefore, I’d recommend you invest into a pressure washer which will last you a few years. There are many pressure washers on the market, I’d recommend this one.

Applying Pontoon Cleaner

Before buffing your pontoon, it’s a good idea to apply a layer of pontoon cleaner. This layer is to be washed off before it’s able to dry however by doing this, your polish with last longer. Therefore, I’d highly recommend that you complete this step.

There are many different types of cleaners you can purchase. Many of these cleaners are advertised to be made specifically designed for pontoon boats however they can be more expensive and often not any better than a simple everyday cleaner. I use toilet bowl cleaner, it’s cheaper and I’ve found it to be more effective than some higher priced cleaners. It doesn’t really matter which cleaner you get, but I’d recommend this cleaner.

I’ve recommended this cleaner as it’s a gallon container, so you can get an entire coat on your boat. The larger your boat, the more product you’ll need. Also, the larger your boat it, the longer it will take to apply the cleaner. If you’re using a small 30 oz sprayer, this will take an eternity.

As I had stated earlier, you want to wash off the cleaner before it dries. If it dries, then it could leave deposits on your boat – which you don’t want. Washing off the cleaner before it dries, allows enough time for all the germs and bacteria to be destroyed.

Again, use your pressure washer or cloth to wash off all the pontoon cleaner.

Buffing your Boat

This is when you’ll be applying polisher to your boat to give it a crispy clean, glossy finish. This isn’t an essential step, as some people don’t see the point in having their pontoon so spotless. However, if you want to have the best-looking pontoon possible, then I’d recommend that you follow through.

Take care when deciding which polisher, you’ll be using on your boat. Some polishers are known to be too aggressive and create marks. You don’t want to end up with horrible looking circular marks on your pontoon. This would completely ruin all the work you’ve completed until now. I’d recommend this polisher. This polisher is advertised for being ‘Ideal for polishing Marine Projects’ this makes it great for use on your boat. This is a nice compact polisher which can easily be maneuvered around your boat. This model also comes with a three-year warranty, which ensures that you have a working polisher for at-least the next three years.

Once you’ve got your polisher sorted out and ready to go, begin polishing the body of your pontoon. Don’t stretch yourself too wide, work around in small sections. Avoid polishing vertically or horizontally. Try and keep a consistent pattern, small circles are the best.

Make sure you’re using some sort of soft pad, I’d recommend using wool. The larger your boat is, the longer this task will take. I’d say on average it should take about an hour and a half to two hours.

Applying More Pontoon Cleaner

As you had done previously before buffing your boat, you’ll need to apply some cleaner again. This will work the same way as you did previously. This is mainly to ensure that you don’t have any left-over polishing compound left on your boat. If you were to apply shark hide over polishing compound, it would give your boat a horrible bumpy look. After you’ve finished cleaning, your boat will then be ready for the final step.

Applying Shark Hide to Your Boat

Your pontoon is now ready for the final touch; Shark Hide. This is a metal protectant, which will protect your boat from the damaging effects of the elements. Shark hide is a very popular product, used by most boaters. Applying shark hide to your boat is an essential. If you don’t already have some, then you can purchase Sharkhide Metal Protectant here.

Your boats exterior should now be spotless!

Importance of a clean boat

Keeping your boat clean will also keep your boat smelling fresh. Due to the nature of the activity, water is bound to get everywhere which will then be absorbed by fabrics. This will then cause things to become damp, and bacteria loves nothing more than damp places. This will cause mould to grow and a musty odour may be created.

By keeping your hull clean, you significantly increase the speed of your boat. This also counters barnacles and marine growth. Not only do these looks horrendous, but they can be very time consuming to get rid of, after they’ve already grown.

Keeping your boat clean can reduce the chances of water and dirt damage. Water and dirt can find their way small holes and crannies on your boat. If left unclean for long periods of time, the state of your boat may become so difficult to clean that the job will have to be done professionally.

Salt water can cause corrosion and rust on your boat. This includes any metal surface such as your hull, your engine and other small metal pieces such as bolts. This could become devastating for your boat. Because of this, it’s recommended to flush your engine using fresh water, this should clean off any salt residue.

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