Detailing Tips: Boat Detailing 101

how to detail boat

Your boat is subjected to harsh conditions daily. Over time, these conditions can dull fiberglass, cause paint to fade, and cause the sine of the metal to dim. Boat detailing can help protect your boat from being damaged by these conditions. It’s even more important to detail your boat heading into Spring after having stored your boat for the winter. In this article, we’ll walk you through boat detailing: how to detail your boat, what to avoid, and where to find mobile boat detailing.

boat detailing help

What You’ll Need

  • Two large buckets
  • Sponge or wash mitt
  • Applicator pads
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Boat soap
  • Rubbing compound
  • Safety equipment – gloves, goggles, protective clothing
  • Hose with plastic nozzle
  • Electric buffer (optional)
  • Glaze (optional)
  • Wax
  • Polish
  • Sealer
  • Spray Was
  • Absorber
  • Squeegee
  • Cheap bristle paint brushes or foam roller

1) Rinse and Wash Your Boat Thoroughly

The first step in boat detailing is rinsing your boat thoroughly to remove any loose grit and grime from the surface. Start at the highest point on the flying bridge or cabin top and work your way down, taking care to move from the bow to the stern to ensure the water drains out naturally. Fill a bucket with the appropriate amount of soap/water solution and wash the surfaces of your boat using the wash mitt, sponge, or brush, again moving from top to bottom. Be sure to rinse your sponge, wash mitt, or brush in the bucket frequently to ensure you aren’t just pushing around the dirt.

how to detail boat

Don’t let any soap dry on the surface of your boat during this process. This can be done by keeping your hose nearby to rinse frequently with water. For the final rinse, remove the nozzle from your hose, allowing the water to fall off the surface in sheets. The less water you use, the faster it will dry. Be sure not to scrub too hard as it forces contaminants into the surface, scratching the finish. Let the cleaning products do the hard work for you.

 2) Choosing the Right Soap

It’s essential that you use boat soap and only boat soap when detailing your boat. Avoid using household soaps on your boat. They may seem to be effective, but they can damage the gel coat if left to dry on the surface. You can get soaps in granular form or in concentrated form. For your first cleaning after winter, you’ll want the stronger soap, but dilute it for regular cleanings.

3) Choosing the Right Brushes

You’re going to need a variety of brushes to take on the job of detailing your boat. These should be high-quality brushes. You’ll likely need two types of brushes: soft bristles for cleaning gel coat and painted topsides and stiff bristles for cleaning canvas, cushions, teak, non-skid decks, and scrubbing waterline stains. If your boat has windows, you’ll also need one with very soft bristles.

mobile boat detailing nearby

4) Having a Spot-Free Finish

Don’t fall for the lie that allowing your boat to air dry is sufficient. If you don’t want all your hard work to be ruined by spots, dry your boat like professional detailers. Using a PVA cloth (absorber) or a squeegee, wipe down all the surfaces of your boat to get a spot- and streak-free finish.

5) Finish Off with Wax

You should always finish off your boat detailing with a coat of wax. Not only does this look better, but it also protects the finish on your boat and your paint. It’s an incredibly important step that far too many people skip. Polishing and waxing your boat is essential to maintaining all the hard work you put into detailing it.

What If Boat Detailing Sounds Like Too Much for You?

Boat detailing is quite the undertaking for the average person. If you found this article to be stressful and the described task too daunting, call Mobile Detailing Pros today to handle all your boat detailing needs. We offer extremely convenient, effective, and reliable services at a reasonable price. you can count on our expert technicians to detail your boat with care. Their mobile boat detailing services make it so your boat doesn’t even have to leave the docks! We’ll come to your desired location at your convenience and expertly detail your boat.

boat detailing near me

Boat detailing can be a difficult and tedious task to undertake yourself, but it’s not impossible. If you find it to be too much for you, book an appointment with Mobile Detailing Pros for their convenient, expert mobile boat detailing services. Protect your investment and resale value with regular boat detailing services.

Detail Your Boat in Five Easy Steps

Having a boat can be extremely fun, useful, and could be a good asset to own, however, it comes with its fair share of responsibilities. In addition to needing to run it often, keeping everything in working order, you need to keep up with the proper maintenance. Maintenance for your boat can include, but is not limited to regular check  ups with a mechanic, regular vehicle detailing services, and regular operation. Detailing is often the thing boat owners tend to put on the back burner, deeming it less important. In this article, we’ll tell you why full vehicle detail is an important part of your regular boat maintenance and provide you with an easy five-step method to detail your boat yourself.

Why is a Full Vehicle Detail Important for Your Boat?

Most people think of full vehicle detail as a full service vehicle wash that deep cleans their boat whenever it’s necessary (frequently thought to be no more than once a year). While having your boat detailed can be an aesthetic choice, keeping it clean and free of algae and scum build up helps to prolong its life and keep it looking pristine. It will also help to keep the resale value high.

boat detail full vehicle detail

You don’t have to get your car professionally detailed every time, though it’s more convenient and they do a more thorough job; it is possible to do some of it at home. This will also help keep your detailing job looking good for long.

Five Steps to Detail Your Boat

It is far easier and more convenient to take your boat somewhere to be detailed or hire a mobile detailer like Mobile Detailing Pros. If you want to do it yourself or merely keep the look of a nicely done detailing job for longer, you can follow these five steps to get the job done.

Step One: Start Your Full Vehicle Detail By Rinsing Your Boat Thoroughly

If you start scrubbing your boat immediately instead of rinsing it first, you’re merely going to push around the loose debris.

rinsing off boat part of full vehicle detail

You should rinse your boat thoroughly starting from the top and working your way down. You want to do this using a hose with a powerful stream; a pressure washer isn’t necessary but might be extra helpful and get the job done a bit faster.

Step Two: Scrub Your Boat Thoroughly with High Quality Soap

This step is often extremely tedious, but entirely necessary. You’ll need to scrub away the stubborn stuff that doesn’t want to come off of your boat. It’s important that you don’t let the soap dry on the boat as it could leave streaks and damage the finish. You should always clean small areas at a time, rinsing all soap off before moving on.

Step Three: Buffing is an Important Part of a Full Vehicle Detail

Many people think that buffing is an unnecessary step that is purely aesthetic, but it is essential to prepping your boat to be waxed. You can buff your boat by hand or by using a rotary buffer.

full vehicle detail boat

In addition to preparing your boat for waxing, this will return some of its original shine to it, making it look practically new.

Step Four: Waxing Your Boat

Waxing is an important part of your routine full vehicle detail as it helps prevent grime and debris from accumulating on the surface, ensuring your detailing lasts as long as you want it to. In addition to that, waxing shines and polishes your boat, making it look brand new.

Step Five: Detailing the Interior of Your Boat

Once the outside is looking spick and span, it’s time to give the inside the same care and attention. In addition to washing the interior, you’ll need to vacuum anything with fabric (seats, carpets, etc.), polish any metal, etc. Keeping the inside nice is every bit as important for the lifespan of the boat and the resale value as maintaining the outside.

full vehicle detail from Mobile Detailing Pros

Part of the responsibility that comes along with owning a boat is the upkeep. In addition to keeping up with regular maintenance, it’s important to regularly detail your boat or have a full vehicle detail done by a professional. While it may be tempting to always try to detail your boat yourself, we don’t recommend it. These steps sound a lot easier than they are and the overall job is very time consuming; we recommend letting a team of experts handle all this for you. You can even use a mobile detailing company and have them come to you. However, if you still want to do some of the work yourself, following these steps can lengthen the amount of time you go without getting your boat detailed by a professional and keep your boat looking like new.

DIY Tips for Better Boat Vehicle Detailing

vehicle detailing for boatGetting your boat professionally detailed once a year is a great way to keep your boat looking its best and maintaining its value. But sometimes boats need a little more attention than a once-a-year vehicle detailing can offer. That means you might end up doing a little DIY boat detailing between visits from our mobile pros. If that’s the case, we have some suggestions of materials and methods that you can use to get the best possible results.

How to Get Better Results for DIY Boat Vehicle Detailing

Clean your boat thoroughly before applying wax.

Waxing is an absolute must for a boat. It helps protect the boat’s outer surface from dirt and grime as you move through the water as well as keeps the boat looking showroom new. But wax isn’t going to do you any good if you don’t start with a clean surface. You’ll want to thoroughly clean your boat from top to bottom, giving it a good scrub with a boat-friendly soap. Make sure that you completely rinse all of the soap off of the surface and then dry it afterwards. Doing so will help eliminate any water spots on the surface and give you a good base for the wax.

Protect the interior from sun damage.

The sun can do a lot of damage to the interior materials of your boat. Specifically, it is the ultraviolet rays that are the problem, these are the same rays that you are protecting your skin from when you use sunscreen. The interior of your boat needs the same kind of protection. Pick up some leather conditioner as well as protective coatings for nylon and plastic surfaces and apply them on a regular basis. This will help prevent the sun from fading the materials or drying them out and causing them to crack.

Keep your boat covered when not in use.

This isn’t just good advice for vehicle detailing; it’s good boat care. When your boat isn’t going to be used for a period of time, take time to cover it up or put it into long term storage. This will help extend the life of your professional detailing work as well as eliminate some of the DIY work that you’ll need to do during the year. Boat covers are fine but shrink wrapping your boat for long term storage is best. It will keep both the interior and exterior preserved until you are ready to hit the water again.

Book your vehicle detailing appointment

Sometimes it’s best to do it by hand.

Some people are tempted to do their DIY boat detailing with fancy machines. In some cases, this could work. But in a majority of instances, it may be better to do the vehicle detailing work by hand. Boats are known for their small spaces and funny angles that can make it hard for machinery to deliver the results you want to see. You’ll often get better, longer lasting results by pulling on a pair of gloves and doing the work by hand. This will allow you to get in between instrument panels, around rigging, and shine up all of your aluminum poles as well. It might seem like more work, but you’ll be happier with how it looks in the end.

Use the right products for different materials.

The worst thing you can do for your boat is to try to use one product on every surface. Difference materials need to be treated with different conditioners and protective coatings. If you want to do some of the vehicle detailing work yourself, it’s best to invest in quality products that are made to work on those specific materials. If you don’t, it could end up damaging your boat’s appearance.

Could Professional Detailing Actually Save you Time and Money?

While taking the DIY approach can help keep your boat looking beautiful all year long, it can also be a big drain on your time and resources. Make sure that you carefully weigh the benefits of DIY vehicle detailing against the cost of materials as well as your time. You’ll need to invest in the right products and tools to get the job done and can expect to spend several hours on the project. In the end, you may find that it’s easier and cheaper in the long run to depend on professional services.

Don’t Neglect Your Annual Boat Detailing from the Pros!

Doing some vehicle detailing on your own is a great way to keep your boat looking its best, but that doesn’t mean you should put a stop to visits from the Mobile Detailing Pros. Remember that our mobile detailing service can come to you, making it easier than ever to get your boat professionally detailed! Make sure that you’ve schedule your annual boat detailing with our Chicago team by giving us a call or contacting us through our website. We’ll confirm your appointment time or create an appointment at a time that works for you.