Power Washing Your Boat

Power Washing Your Boat

How to Power Wash a Boat and Trailer

There aren't many things more fun than boating on a beautiful day, but there's a trade-off for all those good times. If you're a boat owner, you know how much maintenance and upkeep a boat requires.

Cleaning your boat can be a major time investment. However, with the aid of a pressure washer, the experience is painless and easy. Boat detergents that are specially made for pressure washers take place of the arm-cramping labor of scrubbing those awkward placed near the bottom of the boat, and you can blast it clean with minimal effort.

Remove Loose Equipment

The first thing you'll need to do before you power wash your boat is to remove any canopies, seat cushions or other removable equipment. This is important because the high-pressure water from your washer could potentially damage or ruin these types of items.

Use a Detergent

Boat Detergent

To start the cleaning, get a good detergent, preferably one designed for use on vehicles and boats. Apply the detergent to your boat, spraying from the bottom up to prevent streaks from developing. Let the detergent work for 5-10 minutes, but don't let it dry. Apply more detergent/water solution if necessary to keep it wet and soaking.

Pressure Washer Scrub Brushes

Power Washer Brush

For areas with heavy accumulations of algae and other materials, use a pressure washer brush. Pressure washer brushes spin from the pressure of the water, and with a detergent tank or chemical injector, you can spray soap through the scrub brush to really loosen and remove stuck-on algae.

Also, because you can place your pressure washer brush on the end of your pressure washer wand, you can clean the underside of your boat without crawling underneath and cleaning yourself in the process. At most, a bend of the knees is all you'll have to worry about. No more arm cramps or backaches. Just run the brush over the surface, and let the pressurized water and spinning brushes do the real work.


Power Washing a Boat

Now you'll need to rinse the detergent from your boat. Use a delicate, low-pressure spray pattern while rinsing. To avoid damage, make sure you don't get too close to the boat while power washing. To avoid streaks from developing while rinsing, spray from the top down, so you leave no soap behind.

Be Careful With Decals

Be especially careful when power washing decals and graphics. You can ruin these if you don't take extra precautions. Back away from the surface and keep your spray at a 90⁰ angle. Also, make sure you start spraying from the center of the decal and move your way out to the edges to avoid spraying it off. Using a wide fan angle, and dialing down the pressure when possible, you'll have less to worry about. When you finish, inspect your decals closely and gently run your finger or thumb over the edges to make sure they're firmly adhering to the boat.

Getting Hard-to-Reach Places

Boat & Trailer

There are a few areas that accumulate grime and algae you might forget to clean. Make sure you focus on the motor, trailer rigging and wheel wells (of the trailer). If you're washing the trailer as well, keep your spray at least 6 inches from the tires to prevent damaging them.

Let It Dry

Now comes the hard part - you should let the boat dry for two full days. After the boat is completely dry, apply boat wax or hull polish, and your boat will be looking as good as new.

Shop All Boat Detergent

Jim, the Pressure Washer Expert
Pressure Washer Expert
Was this article helpful?