Is It Okay to Use Car Wash On a Boat?

Boats spend most of their time if not all being in the water. So, it’s quite reasonable to ask this question, shouldn’t the outer layer be able to clean itself?

This is a question that wandered through our minds too. And this might have been possible at one point in time. However, in our day and age and with the state our shores are now in, this has become far from the truth.

Fishes and other ocean creatures aren’t the only lives man is negatively impacting. Man is also endangering its creations; high levels of pollutants present in the water are damaging ship hulls. The toxins are slowly eating their way through the ship’s skin.


The pollutants are not the only things that will be stuck on your boat. Other naturally occurring elements such a moss, mollusks, barnacles and other sea living creatures will find their way onto your hull. Moreover, this may also lead to the development of mold.

These elements stuck onto your hull will not only degrade your boat’s life but also cause the boat to lose its speed. As the externalities are dragged around in the water, they may cling on to other pollutants and form a chain, further lowering speed and agility.

These impacts may be a minor inconvenience in the short run; however, in the long run, you might not have a boat to feel difficulty about. If regular maintenance is maintained, you’ll save yourself from spending hundreds of dollars on boat repairs.


There are two solutions to this situation: one is to cut down on our carbon footprint and lower the pollutant we’re throwing into the water. This provides a long-term solution; regardless it is tough to achieve.

On the contrary, you could apply a solution that’ll help you in the short-term, i.e., to clean your boat regularly. To make sure that the toxic pollutants do not eat out or damage the hull of your boat.

How Often Should You Wash Your Boat?

Washing your boat might seem like a chore. However, it’s one that is quite necessary. Your boat isn’t like any other form of transportation you might own. Having to stay in the water at all times, means the boat is in constant contact with pollutants.

To prevent these pollutants from compromising the exterior of your boat, it’s recommended that you wash your boat after each use. A day’s use is enough to collect enough pollutants and oils that can damage seriously damage the hull.

Like your car collects dust when left unused, your boat functions in a similar way. Except for the slight difference that it’s collecting moss, slime, and other oils underneath. We recommend that you clean your boat before every use, given that it’s been kept untouched for quite some time.

Alternative Solutions for Boat Cleaning Compounds

Boat cleaners are broken down into various markets, with different products for different boats. Since each boat is different and based on different materials, you might find yourself hauling out premium prices and buying products by the basket.

Contrary to what companies would have, you believe this isn’t completely necessary. Most of the cleaning agents that are specifically designed for boats have similar if not the same, chemical compounds as other cleaners in the market. So, paying extra for specialized compounds is completely unnecessary.

This also answers the question we started the article with since a lot of components match those of car cleaning compounds. Thus, they make an excellent alternative for boat cleaning agents.

Car Cleaners That Should Be Compatible

Most car cleaning compounds will be an effective addition to your boats cleaning list. Not only are they cheaper in comparison, but they are also a rational choice. People with boats are likely to have cars, so you effectively have to buy fewer products.

However, it’s not necessary that everything you’ll be using in your car, you’ll be needing on your boat. There’s a decent selection of products you’ll be needing such as:

Car Wash Soap & Shampoo

Car soap and shampoo is a widespread term heard in the car community. Its primary purpose is to take away those tough patches of dirt and grime from your vehicle. And in this case, from the outer surface of your boat.

The compound completes this process quite quickly and effectively, as the soapy foam spreads around quite easily. It covers the boat’s outer surface in no just a few minutes. Once applied, all you need is to hose it off, showing a spotless coat.

The reasonably neutral PH value of the compound allows you to use it on gentler material such as wood or fiber, without damaging the outer layer of your boat. A gentler solution also means you’re able to keep the paint from splitting open, which would have revealed the boat to mold and other corrosive elements?

These solutions are quite normally available in large sizes, thus being able to cover both your boat and your car on a single buy. On top of that, you’ll be mixing this solution with water so you can expect a gallon of soapy water will go on for a long time.

Car Wax

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to those of you who are familiar with car wax. Car wax creates an artificial layer on top of the surface of your vehicle. This allows the surface to become repellent to water stains; with an extra layer, you’ll be able to say goodbye to dust and grime settlement.

It’s important that you get your boat waxed periodically, car wax, in this case, should do the trick. The wax not only helps make the surface of the boat water repellent. It also makes it difficult for moss, slimes, and oils to find to make their homes on the boat.

Saltwater can prove to be an extremely degrading potion for the coating of paint on your boat. The extra layer of wax protects your paint and gives it that glossy new finish.


This is a product that isn’t necessarily based on cars; however, it goes hand in hand with anything that involves oil, grime, and dirt build-up. On deck, this will work on almost anything, including removing stains created by bird poop.

A handy tool for extremely quick cleaning, one spray is good enough to get rid of extremely tough stains. That, too, without damaging the surface of the material. However, you must keep it away from wax jobs, as the solution will quite easily strip the coating off.

Car Wash Vs. Boat Wash Compounds

Even though both do the same job, and have very similar chemical compositions. They both have a slight level of variation that must be considered, while you make your purchase decision.


Car washing compounds are mainly made to deal with simpler forms of pollutants. Dirt, grime, tar they’re fairly simpler to remove, and can be done so with ease. However, things are not the same for boats.

As they form layers after layers of moss, mollusks, oils, slime, and other naturally occurring substances, removing these layers becomes very difficult.

Even more so, when you’re using car washing compounds, the compound will be able to loosen these pollutants.

But, removing them is the bigger challenge, you’ll have to put in quite some strength in scrubbing these out. This won’t be the case if you use the more abrasive compounds present in boat wash.

Environmental Factors

All these cleaning equipment and chemicals, they pose a fairly significant threat when it comes to being released in the environment. Car wash manufacturers may not consider the environment into account, as they suppose the cleaning agents go into the sewage system, where the water is cleaned out.

If you end up releasing such components into the water, you might find yourself causing some devastating impacts to the wildlife in that region. The spike of phosphorus in the water will fluster the chemical balance of the water, killing both plants and animals.

Boat cleaning agents, on the other hand, are made out of biodegradable elements. This is something that is strictly looked into by regulatory bodies, making them safer to use.  

A simple solution to this would be to use car washing agents with legitimate certifications of being environment-friendly. These may cost a bit more than your regular cleaners; however, keeping wildlife alive is our responsibility. It’s something that must be considered seriously.

Hull Cleaning

Most of the cleaners mentioned above will work quite easily on the outer surface of the boat and its deck. The main problem arises when it comes to cleaning underwater. The hull is not only one of the most important aspects of your boats, but it is also one that attracts the highest level of pollutants.

These pollutants are extremely stiff and wearisome to remove. Added with the fact that they form underneath the surface of the boat, where normal car washing solutions might fail to work.

In such cases, we’d recommend purchasing hull cleaning solutions; these provide an acidic PH value that causes the slime to cut right off. This one investment in which you’ll never go wrong.

Keep in Mind:

Another pointer to keep in mind is what you’re using to clean your boat with. This includes various forms of scrubs such as microfiber scrubs, high-speed jet washers, steel wools, sponges, and brooms. All these play a crucial role in cleaning your boat.

Choosing these must be determined carefully, keeping in mind the material of your boat’s body. As these pose different levels of abrasiveness, using something extremely rough on a soft surface may cause irreparable damages.


As more and more corporate official tries to entrap their customers into purchasing overpriced products. It becomes our responsibility, as the customer, to do our research before making a purchase. This is so that you can make a well-informed decision about how you wish to spend your hard-earned money.