It really is amazing just how many products you need to carry to keep your yacht looking spick and span so anything that reduces the amount of stuff you have to carry aboard has to be a good thing. Enter ‘Clean Boat’ a do it all wonder product. Yes, I know, you’ve heard it all before and I confess that when the owner of the company gave me a litre of it I was cynical of his claims too.
There was only one way to find out how good it was and that was to use it. That was a couple of years ago and now I find that I need Clean Boat aboard at all times. It has taken me a while to fully appreciate its ability to clean a lot of things and not only on the boat.
It’s not cheap, at about £15 a litre but it gets the job done with the minimum of effort and it is 98% biodegradable so is less harmful to the aquatic environment than some other cleaning products that you can buy. It comes in two versions, one for stainless steel and one general one. The stainless one is pink coloured and the general one is clear.
Neither product should harm anything on the boat although you would be well advised to wear gloves, especially if you are using it undiluted on really stubborn marks as it is a strong alkaline and will damage your skin. The Stainless version is an acid and will burn.
With one bottle of each, you really can get your boat clean. Starting with the stainless, simply apply neat to tarnished stainless using an old paint brush. On well rusty areas, rub with the paint brush as you apply and the rusty marks will magically disappear after just a few minutes. You need very little effort to do this. Then use the general Clean Boat to neutralise the stainless. Then rinse well with plenty of water. The one problem is that often the pink colour will stain the fibreglass but a quick wipe with the general Clean Boat will instantly remove it. They do not say that the stainless Clean Boat can be used on teak but I have found that it brightens it up very nicely. As before, pass with plenty of the general Clean Boat and then rinse well.
This picture shows the stainless looking a bit rusty and not very shiny. The Stainless ‘Clean Boat’ also removes yellowing on Gelcoat.
A few moments later and the Stainless is sparkling like new. Even the teak looks better.
Having done the stainless it’s time to start on the gelcoat. For some reason that I cannot quite fathom, it is best to start at the bottom and work your way up. This goes against everything I know about washing things but I can see the logic in this case. The Clean Boat dissolves dirt so as you work your way upwards, the fresh clean boat washes away the dirt below. Whatever the theory it certainly works, you can see the dirt being carried away in the water.
On my boat, I get nasty black stains on the cabin sides after it has rained and they are impossible to remove. The only way I have found to get rid of them is to polish the gel coat but a pass with some neat Clean Boat and they simply vanish. The time this saves is amazing.
This picture shows the black streaks under the port holes. This is after the boat was cleaned with a conventional boat detergent. As you can see, it just doesn’t get rid of the streaks completely.
No more black streaks! A quick wipe with some undiluted ‘Clean Boat’ and the streaks are gone. No effort, no rubbing. It really works!
The general Clean Boat works well on the bare teak too. It does not brighten it like the stainless Clean Boat but it does clean it very well. It just lifts the dirt right out like magic. Decks are quick to clean using a big fat deck brush. The trick is to apply the diluted Clean Boat and keep it wet. After a minute or two you can simply rinse it off. No need to brush at all. It really couldn’t be easier.
It doesn’t stop there either. You know that nasty exhaust soot that stains the transom on your boat that you can never remove no matter what product you try? Well, some neat Clean Boat on a sponge will remove it like magic in almost one pass. I’m not joking, this is the only product that I have ever found that effortlessly and swiftly removes exhaust soot from gelcoat or paint. It would be worth keeping on board if only for this!
But there’s more! Oh yes. A friend once showed me how well acetone worked to clean up his sticky and blackened plastic lifelines but Clean Boat works just as well and is much nicer to use than acetone. My lifelines still come up like new even after 6 years in the Mediterranean sun.
This pic shows the dirty and sticky life lines before cleaning with ‘Clean Boat’
A few moments later and voila! Like new.
Clean Boat is also an excellent de-greaser and will remove road dirt or oil from engines with ease. Just use neat with an old paint brush. It really is most effective. Dirty PVC, dirty covers, windows, etc. It really doesn’t matter what it is, Clean Boat will clean it.
The bottom line is that I can get my boat really sparkling and properly clean with just one product. I still carry polish and wax for the gelcoat but that’s all. I believe that it must be better for the environment if I can get my boat clean using just one biodegradable product instead of many different ones.
Here’s the boat looking like new after just a couple of hours work. White lifelines, shiny clean stainless and chrome. Even the teak looks a heap better. All this with just one product.
There are three problems with Clean Boat. Firstly it is expensive but the price is justified as it works so well and saves so much time. Secondly, it makes surfaces slippery until you have rinsed it off so be careful not to slip. The biggest problem however is just how quickly you get through the stuff! I can easily use a whole litre when I do a thorough clean of my 24 foot boat.
I spoke to the French owner of the company the other day and he told me that he now has a distributor in the USA and in the UK. So hopefully you should soon be able to find it in a chandlers near you. If not, please contact Clean Boat via their site. I am sure they can tell you where to go to get some.
I should also point out that apart from knowing the owner of the company, quite by chance as he was my neighbour in the marina, I have no affiliation to Clean Boat. I stand to gain not one centime if you do decide to buy some! It’s just a great product and something I do not like to be without. I can give my boat a thorough clean and spruce up in just a few hours. A job which would normally take days now takes just hours.