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5 Steps to Clean a Non-Skid Boat Deck

Posted by Boat Lover's Towel on

how to clean non-skid boat deck

Non-skid boat decks are intended to improve your footing and reduce slips, falls, and injuries. Not cleaning non-skid surfaces regularly decreases their effectiveness, and caked-on dirt and grime can wear down the surface prematurely as foot traffic grinds it into your deck, causing abrasions.

Cleaning a non-skid boat deck is fairly straightforward, but there are still some things you should know to avoid creating a mess or being left with a splotchy finish on your deck. Here you can find tips on how to clean your boat’s deck as well as answers to common questions from boat owners about deck maintenance, how to clean boat floors, and what could be the best ways to clean non-skid boat decks.

How to Clean Non-Skid Boat Deck:

If you’re wondering how often you should clean your boat’s deck, it depends on how often you use it. It’s best to clean it after every few outings or when it starts looking dirty. 

For the cleaning process, you’ll need a soft-bristled brush, a non-skid boat deck cleaner, two buckets, fresh water, a cloth or towel, and a hose or sprayer.

Vacuum the Deck

To avoid a slurry of wet dirt, first vacuum your boat’s deck to remove loose or bulky dirt and dust buildup before you apply your cleaning solution

Prepare a Cleaning Solution & Wet the Deck

Mix a non-skid deck cleaner with warm water in a large bucket according to the instructions on the cleaner. Then wet your boat’s deck with fresh water to loosen the dirt and grime trapped in its non-skid surface.

Scrub the Deck

Use a soft-bristled brush and the cleaning solution to remove dirt and stains from your boat’s deck without scratching it. 

Rinse the Deck

Fill a new bucket with fresh, clean water to rinse off the dirt residue and remaining cleaning solution. You can also use a sprayer to push the cleaner and dirt out of the deck. Make sure to rinse the entire deck thoroughly so you don’t leave behind dirt or streaks of cleaning solution.

Dry the Deck

Completely dry your boat’s deck with an absorbent towel to prevent moisture-related issues like mold and mildew and to ensure a clean finish.


What is Non-Skid Deck Wax?

Non-skid deck wax is designed for use on the textured surface of a non-skid boat deck. It contains stain-resistant ingredients and UV inhibitors to protect your deck from corrosion, oxidation, water spots, and sun damage without making it slippery.

Waxing your boat’s deck creates a barrier between it and dirt, debris, fish products, and everything else it comes into contact with. When it’s time to clean the deck, these materials will be much easier to clean off of a waxed surface because they have not become ground into the texture of the non-skid deck.

How Do I Wax a Non-Skid Boat Deck?

You should wax your boat’s deck yearly to protect it and maintain its finish. For the waxing process, you’ll need non-skid boat wax, a buffing machine, and a soft cloth.

  1. Apply the Wax: After washing and drying your boat deck, apply the non-skid wax directly in circular sections. Be careful not to use too much wax, as it will get messy.
  2. Buff the Wax: Use a buff pad or a buffing machine to rub the wax into the desk in circular motions. Buffing tools spread the wax evenly without streaks and create a glossy sheen that makes your deck look new. Place the buffer head on the surface of your deck before turning it on so it doesn’t sling the wax everywhere. Move your buffing tool in a side-to-side, overlapping pattern. Repeat this motion slowly until the wax has almost disappeared.
  3. Wipe Away Excess Wax: Remove excess wax with a soft cloth to avoid developing stains from too much wax in one area. This will also keep the deck from looking blotchy.

How Do I Remove Oxidation from a Non-Skid Boat Deck?

Cleaning and waxing won’t get rid of dull areas from oxidation on your boat. For heavy oxidation, you'll need to use an electric polisher like a Makita and follow it up with a boat polishing compound. For lighter oxidation, you can use a boat polishing compound. Use medium-cut compounds for fading and staining and light-cut compounds for cleaning.

How Do I Clean a Fiberglass Boat Deck?

Fiberglass boat decks can be cleaned with a non-skid boat cleaner according to the above steps. Non-skid boat cleaners can also be used to clean smooth, non-textured surfaces on your boat, including fiberglass, metal, plastic, vinyl, and rubber.

How Do I Remove Stains from a Fiberglass Boat Deck?

For stubborn stains on a fiberglass boat, apply a medium-cut boat polishing compound—formulated for fiberglass surfaces—with an electric polisher. 

Keep Your Non-Skid Boat Deck in Top Condition With CleanTools

Your non-skid boat deck will work its best when you clean it regularly using products specifically designed for its unique surface. Investing in a quality cloth like the Boat Lover’s Towel will streamline the cleaning and waxing process and leave you with a sparkly boat deck with no splotches, streaks, or dirt.

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