How to Clean a Pontoon Boat? Easily And Effectively

Last Updated on March 9, 2021

A common saying in the boating world, “a clean boat is a happy boat” that we love to abide by. Having a clean boat keeps not only your boat in good condition but also keeps you in a better mood.

When you’re taking the time out to search online for the best pontoon boats 2021, and spending around $30,000-$45,000 on it, you wouldn’t want to discard it and not look after it; it’s a considerable investment.

A pontoon boat is something that you can be proud of and show it to your family and friends. Make sure you treat it with the respect it deserves.

Why Do You Need to Clean Your Boat?

Cleaning your pontoon boat should become a routine task; clean your boat after every time you take it out into the water. If you aren’t using your boat, treat it with a scrub once every two months.


Every time you take your boat out into the water, it gathers an entire layer of filthy sludge and grime. This not only gives your boat an ugly outlook but is enough to damage the hull!

While at the dock, the hull of the boat becomes home to many living organisms, such as barnacles. These might give a pirate ship an aesthetic look but wouldn’t go high with the shiny hull of your boat.

With the waters teaming with some very toxic pollutants, continuous exposure will cause oxidation and discoloration of the boat hull. This is something that’ll only be noticeable on a long-term basis. However, regular cleaning will make it easy to inspect, as the saying goes, “precaution is better than cure.”

A dirty boat will also attract pests and other insects, and if you have expensive interiors, then you might just be calling in for a redo.

What You’ll Need?

To get that squeaky dealership clean, you will have to put in some elbow grease and empty your pockets. There are a few things that are necessary for cleaning boats; make sure you’re equipped with everything before you start.


  • All-purpose cleaners are great for the interiors of your boat; they work great on most surfaces of the ship: including the control panel, the plastic covers, and aluminum railings. They’re also cheap and easy to use.
  • Scrubs and brushes are crucial elements that come into play with boat cleaning. The abrasiveness of which will depend on the material of your boat. These scrubs are available in sets, at almost any boating equipment store. Don’t cheap out on this sector, or you’ll find yourself scrubbing the boat 10-20 times with little of a result.
  • Boat washes, make up for the soaps you use on cars, these clean off any form of grime and sludge from the hull. Make sure you rub it in hard, with the scrubs to get rid of those more ridged barnacles and other waterborne organisms that make a home on your boat.
  • Waxing is an important note to end on; this will put on a protective layer on the surface of the boat.
  • Sponges and clothes are something you must have in hand while cleaning. These are also necessary for the wax application process.


Cleaning might seem like a chore; if you’re willing, then you could also hire professionals to do the job for you. But, if you’re the kind that does their job themselves, then these steps will be enough to get you through.


Give your boat a thorough rinse; hose the boat down. If you’re using a power washer, make sure your surface is compatible with taking the pressure. The necessity of the power washer will depend on the amount of grime and sludge present on the hull.

For boats that are regularly maintained, these should come off quickly as well. But, if it’s been a while, then you might look at an upper body work out.


Apply the boat wash liberally; if your boat is in the water, buy an eco-friendly boat wash. Such as to not hamper the environment and the living creatures present. Once applied, brush off the outer part of the boat to make sure you’re taking off any leftover sludge from the hull.

You will not need a power washer for the interior. A bucket of water and a sponge should do the trick. Try to stay away from the seats, or anything that’ll soak up the water. If you paid extra, for a wooden interior, don’t ruin’s its shine by drowning it in soapy water.

For the control panel, use the all-purpose cleaner before you spray on the cleaner use a rag to rub off any dust build-up. After that’s out of the way, spray on the cleaner, let it sit for a few minutes. Then rub it off using a rag or a piece of micro-fiber cloth.


This step might seem silly, considering the boat should dry out on its own. However, you must soak away that excess water on the surface. If left to dry on its own, the water on the surface will create marks. These will just increase your work.

Instead, soak these surfaces out, using any form of sponge or cloth. We’d recommend using a microfiber cloth to give you the best result and sparkly clean shine.


Pontoon boats, also known as party barges. The name tells you what they’re meant for; at any party, you’ll be expecting drinks and chips. These might be fun to eat but are very tough to clean. Especially when they’re stuck in the corners of your seats.

Thus, you must carry a small handheld vacuum. Clearing off any excess dust from the nook and corners that you might not reach.


Once you’ve dried off the boat, and it’s clear of any form of dust. You need to set a layer of protection. This will make sure that the boat remains clean for the coming months. And Waxing is the best solution; it provides a temporary layer of protection, making a layer that’s immensely difficult to stick on.


The amount of protection you’ll get depends on the amount of wax you apply, so use liberal amounts. But it’s a time consuming and difficult process considering you have to cover the entire boat, with a few layers of wax.

Start the process by spreading the wax evenly using a rag cloth, once applied on the outer surface of the pontoon. Rub it in using a wax applicator, make sure you put some pressure into it. This will spread out the wax evenly and also make a strong layer of protection.


The amount of effort you’re about to put in will make you reconsider owning a boat. However, don’t be disheartened; this is just once in six months’ type of thing. That is if you keep covering up your boat after every use. This will keep it away from both pollution and nature’s forces.

But, make sure you’re investing in the best pontoon boat cover available. A cover that isn’t a good fit or cannot handle the forces of nature won’t do you much good. Fix the boat down using a boat anchor, and then tightly fit the cover onto the boat, if the fit’s floppy, it’ll cause the cover to accumulate rainwater.


Cleaning up is something all of us don’t look forward to. However, if you are someone that likes to stay organized. It’s necessary to keep your head clear and keep a smiling face. But, most importantly, it’s necessary to keep your boat in top condition.