Pontoon boats, which are great for cruising on smaller lakes, are exposed to lots of dirt, like algae, moss, and other forms of “lake scum,” which can make them look less than perfect. When this happens, proud pontoon owners will probably want to know how to clean and polish pontoons, including their tubes and rails.
Almost all pontoon boats ride on floats made of aluminum, and cleaning and polishing aluminum pontoons takes only a few hours and five simple steps.
Here’s how to clean and polish pontoons and clean and polish pontoon tubes and rails.
1) Prepare Your Pontoon Boat
Before you start polishing an aluminum pontoon boat, you’ll have to clean off all the old buildup. If you leave your boat docked or at the marina for long periods of time, there may be algae, salt buildup, and other grease on it. If so, may need to pressure wash it or use boat de-salt concentrate.
Spray on a boat cleaner and wipe it as you spray. If there’s no visible buildup, you can pressure wash the dirt and grime for a quicker prep time.
To find out how to clean pontoons on a trailer, you’ll need to figure out how to lift the pontoons off the trailer bunks. You should carefully research how to do this because doing it incorrectly can be very dangerous. Once you’ve followed this cleaning process, you should hose down your trailer as well to avoid putting dirt back on your freshly washed pontoon. Make sure to carefully clean the pontoons on the trailer.
2) Apply Boat Cleaner
If you want your polish job to last longer, you should clean your pontoon before you polish it. Boat cleaner removes toxins and buildup that you can’t see.
To make applying the cleaner easier, you can get a one-gallon sprayer. Work in sections so the cleaner doesn’t dry up and leave deposits behind—a wash mitt can make this a more efficient process. Then thoroughly spray off the boat cleaner using a hose or pressure washer. Rub as you spray the water to ensure that all cleaner is removed, and make sure your pontoon is completely dry before you move on to polishing.
This is a great time to use a highly absorbent drying cloth like the Boat Lover’s Towel.
If you’re wondering how to clean pontoons that are in the water, you should use simply a cleaning brush to scrub off algae and rings around your boat, and avoid using cleaning products until you are back on land.
3) Apply Boat Polish and Buff
For a mirror finish, you need to polish and buff your pontoon boat. Bigger boats may need an electric polisher like a Dewalt or Makita. Make sure to polish in circular motions for the best application.
You can use a polishing pad or cloth for smaller boats. Wipe the polish in circular motions or an “S” pattern, as rubbing up and down can leave marks. The entire process should take about two hours.
4) Apply Boat Cleaner Again
When deciding how to clean aluminum pontoons to make them sparkle, you should apply boat cleaner twice. If you don’t use cleaner after you polish and buff, there may be polishing residue left on the surface, which will show once you apply a metal protectant like Shark Hide.
So, just like step four, work in sections with your boat cleaner, and thoroughly rinse and dry your boat to make sure it will look great when you complete the last step of the cleaning and polishing process.
5) Apply Shark Hide
The last, and arguably most important step, is to apply a metal and aluminum protectant like Shark Hide. This will seal in your polishing job, and it protects your boat from UV rays, saltwater damage, algae, and more. You’ll be able to see your pontoon shine from all the way under the water. Now it’s time to congratulate yourself, you have learned how to clean aluminum pontoons.
How to Clean Pontoons in the Water?
- Firstly, start with cleaning your pontoon boat with fresh water.
- Use soap only when you find a stubborn dirt spot.
How to Clean Pontoon Tubes?
- Use simple fresh water.
- Some soap solutions may disrupt the oxidative layer of aluminum.