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How to Wash and Wax a Boat | 10 Steps from Professionals on How to Clean and Protect Your Boat

The process of washing and waxing your own boat is quite simple with the proper products and techniques. The checklist included below is the exact procedure we use to perform our most popular service, a Wash and Wax. As Mobile Boat Detailers located in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, we recommend performing a Wash and Wax on your boat at least 3 times per year. This is due to the fact that most waxes (or Polymer Sealants) will provide 3-4 months of UV protection.

Check out our most recent post discussing the levels of protection provided by Polymer Sealants vs Ceramic Coatings.

Most of the products mentioned in this article can be found on the Alpha Waterfront Services Product Page.

How to Wash and Wax a Boat:

  1. Open all Seats and Compartments

  2. Remove 100% of contents from the boat and place on an Open Tarp.

    1. Cover

    2. Detachable Seats

    3. Life Jackets

    4. Blankets

    5. Anchors, Lines, etc

  3. Pre-Rinse: Start by washing both the interior and exterior of the boat with water only. By using the pressure washer, you will remove major surface contaminants that prevents scratching the surface in the next step. Water will remove 90% of dirt, grime, etc from boats surface.

    1. NOTE: When pressure washing inside of the boat, NEVER pressure wash seats or soft material closely. When squeezing the handle initially, point outside of the interior and then start washing

4. Foam Wash: Squeeze 2 seconds of Dish Soap into the Foam Cannon and fill with water. Coat one side of the boat at a time with the soap. After Foaming one side, scrub with a gel-coat brush or microfiber wash mitt and then rinse the entire area. Perform these same steps for all exterior and interior surfaces. Dawn dish soap will remove any existing wax or protectant from the surface of your gelcoat.

5. Drying: Using a Drying Towel, completely dry all exterior surfaces with one side of the drying towel. Using the opposite side of the towel, dry all interior surfaces above the floor. The floor will be cleaned and dried during vacuuming.

6. Waxing: Using a Dual Action Polisher with an Orange Lake Country Foam Pad, apply 4 dime sized drops of Starke Hyper Hold Polymer Sealant onto the pad. Starting at the bow, below the rub rail, slowly spread the wax on Speed 1 over a 2 ft section with side to side paths, followed by vertical paths. Increase the setting to Speed 4 and perform another horizontal and vertical pass. Repeat over the full boat allowing 30 minutes for the sealant to cure.

7. Interior Gel-Coat: Start from top to bottom, of the bow. Wipe down all crevices, compartments, and areas where dirt and grime build up with a microfiber rag and Simple Green. Work around the entire boat as so.

8. Seats: Clean with diluted Simple Green on a Microfiber Rag. Protect with 303 Protectant.

9. Windows: Use Sprayway Glass Cleaner to thoroughly spray your windows. Follow with a clean and dry microfiber rag working from corner to corner, then in circles across the glass. Repeat for both interior and exterior glass. Buff with a clean and dry microfiber rag.

10. Vacuum: Now that the entirety of your boat has been cleaned and protected, use your vaccum to remove any loose and remaining dirt or debris. Carry a microfiber rag along with you to take care of any areas that may have been missed. Work from the bow of the boat, going over every compartment, and cleaning the floor in front of you as you work backwards. Complete all compartments and flooring as so.

Alpha Waterfront Services proudly provides Mobile Boat Detailing for New Hampshire, performing services including interior detailing, exterior detailing, pontoon boat detailing, wash and wax packages, and more. Visit us at or @alphawaterfrontservices to learn more!


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