Posted on December 15, 2022

Top Boat Cleaning Tips: How to Keep Your Watercraft & Boat Lift Clean

Boat & Lift Cleaning Tips

Written by HydroHoist Marketing

A clean waterfront is a beautiful one that performs well and keeps you safe. Algae buildup and other water damage can make your boat, dock, lift, and canopy unattractive and slippery. Regular cleaning will not only cut down on unsightly and performance-affecting damage that might already have happened but can prevent biological growth and other issues in the first place. It doesn’t take a professional or fancy specialty products to give your waterfront system the spa treatment it deserves, but you have to be mindful of what you’re using on and around the water. Here are some tips to keep your boat, boat lift, boat dock, and canopy looking pristine.

HydroHoist boat lift on a lake

The Right Materials Make a Difference

While marine-grade materials are going to resist water damage and biological growth, nothing exposed to water for a long time is immune to damage. This is why your boat should be stored on a boat lift when it’s not in use. There are many boat lift models to choose from, including those made from materials such as aluminum, polymers, or other durable substrates that will stand up to algae and water damage better. Additionally, a water-repellant canopy cover stretched properly over its frame will stay dry.

Cleaning Products: What to Use and What to Avoid

Everything you wash your boat, lift, and canopy with will end up in the water despite your best efforts. The good news is that for everyday cleaning and algae removal, you can use things that you probably have around your house, like water-based dishwashing liquid or baking soda. The bad news is that even some household chemicals can be dangerous to your health and to the environment.

When cleaning, use warm water and choose cleaning products that:

  • Are non-corrosive
  • Have a neutral pH
  • Are biodegradable
  • Are phosphate-free

To apply and remove these cleaning products or to brush off light debris like dirt or pollen, use soft cleaning pads or brushes, and rinse with clean water once you’re done. Some sturdier areas like your boat dock can be blasted with a pressure washer for especially tough blemishes.

We don’t recommend cleaning products that can cause significant pollution or that can damage your boat, lift, or canopy cover. In general, you should avoid any of these ingredients:

  • Ammonia
  • Antibacterials and disinfectants
  • Butyl glycol, ethylene glycol, or monobutyl
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Petroleum solvents
  • Phosphorus and phosphates
  • Phthalates

Other Tips

Rinsing and drying are just as important as cleaning itself. Not drying your boat, lift, or canopy cover with a soft cloth can leave spots or water behind, which, at best, can look tacky and lead to mildew and mold growth. This can be especially important for storage because boat lifts, canopies, and boats that retain water can become damaged. To extend the lifespan of any part of your waterfront system when not in use, ensure that it’s cleaned, dried, and stored properly at the end of each season so you can start fresh next time. When you’re cleaning or putting away something as large as a canopy cover, it helps to have another adult with you to make the process a little easier. 

Do you need more boat lift cleaning tips? Are you a new boat or PWC owner that wants the ultimate protection for your watercraft? HydroHoist employs talented and experienced marine industry professionals to create fixed and free-floating boat lifts for waterfronts and watercraft everywhere. To get started on your waterfront upgrade or for questions about what’s best for your shoreline, get in touch with a local HydroHoist dealer


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