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How To Wash and Wax a Boat

Posted by Boat Lover's Towel on

A man washing and waxing a boat

When you make a big purchase, you’ll do everything you can to protect that investment. The same can be said about your vessel. If you want to get the most enjoyment out of your boat, you must learn how to take proper care of it. 

Whether you’re a recent boat owner or have been one for years, it’s never too late to learn how to properly detail a boat. Take a look below to find some helpful tips on how to wash and wax your boat like a pro. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Boat Washing 

The best thing you can do to protect your boat from long-term damage is to clean it regularly. It’s not always noticeable, but dirt, grime, and debris collect on your boat’s exterior every time you take it out on the water. Knowing how to wash and wax your boat wherever you are whether in California, West Marine or any part of the world. It’s essential for all boat owners who want to lengthen their boats’ lifespans and keep them looking good as new. 

Check out our six-step guide on how to wash your boat: 

  1. Take your boat out of the water and secure it on a trailer, or an elevated, flat surface. 
  2. Cover the interior to keep it dry. 
  3. Pre-Rinse Your Boat
    Give it a thorough pre-rinse to remove surface debris. 
  4. how to put soap on boat to wash it 
    Squeeze a layer of boat soap on the exterior. 
  5. Scrub the soap with the Wash Mitt
    Scrub the soap in with our non-abrasive Wash Mitt or any non-abrasive tool. Between its ultra absorbency and gentle application, this wash mitt blows competing products out of the water. 
  6. Rinse your boat thoroughly with water to remove the soap, and let it dry. If you want to speed up the drying process, The Absorber® will help you get the job done in no time. This product’s sponge-like pore structure makes it super absorbent, and it’s big enough to cover a larger surface area than standard drying towels. 

How You Can Wax and Buff Like The Pros  

Besides a thorough wash, an effective boat detailing job also includes buffing and waxing. Debris that stays on your boat’s surface causes harmful erosion, and frequent sun exposure dulls the glossy finish over time. If you want to know the best way to wax a boat, and how to properly buff and wax a powerboat to protect it from long-term damage, keep reading. 


The purpose of buffing your boat is to smooth over surface scratches. Unlike applying soap to your boat all at once to wash it, you’ll want to apply buffing polish one section at a time. 

Instead of purchasing polish and non-abrasive cloth, get a product that does both—like The Glosser®. This pre-moistened microfiber wipe makes boat detailing faster and easier.  


The type of boat you have will determine the type of wax you should use: 

Here’s how to wax your boat in three simple steps: 

  1. Apply the wax to your boat’s exterior in sections, like with the buffing polish. 
  2. Smooth the wax, with a non-abrasive cloth, in a circular motion. 
  3. Let dry then begin to buff again. 

The Buffing Process For Your Boat

To give your boat the sleek finish you want, you need to know how to wax boat with a buffer. Repeat the buffing process that you performed in stage one. This leaves a glossy finish and adds a protective layer to your boat’s exterior. We recommend washing, buffing, and waxing your boat at least once every few months. 

How Much Does It Cost to Wash and Wax a Boat

If you’re wondering how much it costs to wash and wax a boat/powerboat. Whatever size your boat is, whether its a 40 ft powerboat to a small fishing boat, here’s a general breakdown: 

The grand total for these products is $98.38 excluding the tax. This amount may seem a bit pricey just to give your boat a little shine, but trust us, the money you’ll save by avoiding long-term erosion and sun damage. It’ll be well worth it to sustain the life of your boat especially in places that are extremely sunny like California, Arizona or Florida.

Shop Our Products To Help With Waxing and Washing 

Now that you’ve learned how to wash and wax your boat properly, you need the right products to do it. With over 20 years of marine industry experience, CleanTools has everything you need to feel confident with a clean boat all year long. Check out our industry-leading products on our website. Shop Our Products 

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