Boat hull cleaners are essential parts of your boat as they help clean and maintain it well. Of course, choosing the best boat hull cleaner can be quite a challenge with all the brands in the market. To make things easier, I will list down some of the best hull cleaners for boats along with some other important information to help you.
Once you’re done reading this article, you’ll be able to decide which on off hull cleaner you should buy and also know how to choose the best one for your needs. Let’s get started.
- Best Boat Hull Cleaner Reviews
- 1. Star Brite Ez-on Ez-off Hull Cleaner
- 2. Star Brite Instant Hull Cleaner
- 3. Marykate MK2032 On and Off Hull Cleaner
- 4. Star Brite Gel Spray Hull Cleaner
- 5. Bio-Kleen M01607 Acid Hull Cleaner
- 6. Zing Boat Hull Cleaner
- 7. Better Boat Hull Cleaner
- 8. Booyah Clean Products Non-Acid Hull Cleaner
- 9. Star Brite Sea Safe Hull Cleaner
- 10. Boating Accessories New Boat Hull Cleaner
- 11. 3M 09005 Marine Restorer and Wax
- 12. Boater’s EDGE Hull Cleaner
- Boat Hull Cleaner Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
Best Boat Hull Cleaner Reviews
1. Star Brite Ez-on Ez-off Hull Cleaner
Star Brite is a really good brand, and that explains why you’ll see it quite a number of times throughout this list.
Let’s start with the EZ-On EZ-Off hull cleaner. What makes this unique compared to the others is that it specializes in taking care of scum lines and rust stains. If your boat is prone to this kind of stain, this hull cleaner is perfect for you.
I used this to get rid of the rust in one of my boats, and it worked like a charm when a number of other cleaners couldn’t get the job done as effectively. Another reason why I love this hull cleaner so much is that it is safe and environment-friendly.
In fact, it is made of a special formula that went through a patented buffering process to make it strong but much safer than the acid-based products you’d usually find in the market.
While it is safe for the environment and also on your skin, it doesn’t do that well for metal materials. If you put a bit too much of it on any metal material, then the metal will either discolor or corrode.
So that’s something you may need to watch out for if you want to use this cleaner. If your aim is to take away rust, don’t put too much cleaner on the metal surface. Also, rinse it well after application.
2. Star Brite Instant Hull Cleaner
Yet another Star Brite hull cleaner, this one is the safer version of the Star Brite cleaner that we’ve mentioned above. This one can remove rust stains and grime found on fiberglass or painted material.
I have personally used this boat cleaner on fiberglass hulls – and it worked wonders. My friend used it on his painted boat surface expecting some of the paint to scrape off; unfortunately, it didn’t.
Therefore, if you happen to be looking for something that can remove grime, discoloration, and stains without removing the paint from your hull, then I will highly suggest that you get this hull cleaner for your boat.
The only disadvantage this hull cleaner may have as compared to its other counterparts is that it requires you to leave it on for quite a while before it works.
Usually, you need to leave cleaners on for around 2 minutes before you can scrub it. This one is pretty weak so you may have to leave it on for around 5 minutes. Also, you’ll need to scrub it more times than other cleaners for it to work.
3. Marykate MK2032 On and Off Hull Cleaner
From experience, I can say that this cleaner is really similar to the Star Brite EZ-On EZ-Off cleaner in a sense that it takes away rust really well. In fact, I can even argue that it works better in taking off rust than the Star Brite EZ-On EZ-Off.
From what I researched, the Marykate hull cleaner is made of a very strong phosphoric acid which allows it to completely take away the rust from iron or fiberglass boat bottoms. It can also remove calcium really well too, so if you’re after taking away these two materials, I will recommend this product variant.
The only problem I foresee with this hull cleaner is that it can scrape the chrome out of your drain.
It’s made of a pretty strong material so that’s to be expected. Also, its strength makes it not that environment-friendly as compared to the Star Brite cleaner I’ve listed above. Also, it can turn stainless steel black if you leave it on for too long.
4. Star Brite Gel Spray Hull Cleaner
Once again, I’m inclined to mention another really great Star Brite hull cleaner. This one is actually very similar to the Star Brite Instant hull cleaner (the second one that we’ve mentioned on the list). The only difference is that it comes in a gel form.
What makes that any different? Well, the gel form allows it to clean off more stains than the Star Brite Instant hull cleaner. I like the fact that the gel can cling to the material, allowing it to take out even marine growth and fish blood, among other kinds of stains.
It can also be used on various fiberglass and painted surfaces. Moreover, you don’t have to apply it for too long and don’t need to scrub too hard to get the stains out. It will do all the work for you, especially if you’re removing marine growth.
The only downside about this product is that you need to use quite a lot of it if you’re going to remove algae. Since it has a very safe formulation, it isn’t as burning as acid-based formulas. Rather, you’ll need to spray around two to three times before getting the intended result.
5. Bio-Kleen M01607 Acid Hull Cleaner
What I really loved about this hull cleaner is that it smells really nice. I understand that there are a number of people who complain about acid hull cleaners that emit fumes or smells that can really hurt your nose.
I myself have experienced acid cleaners that give me this problem. That’s why I was really happy when I came across this hull cleaner. It didn’t have those burning smells that irritate noses.
In fact, it lets out a pretty aromatic smell when I use it. Doing further research, I found out that this is a non-toxic alternative to the strong acid hull cleaners that you might be used to. Although it is made out of a type of acid, it is still safer and nicer smelling than the rest.
However, it does not seem to work that well when removing oxidation and lake scum. It is pretty good at removing grime and waterline stains though. If oxidation is your problem, then this cleaner may not be the right type for you.
6. Zing Boat Hull Cleaner
This Zing boat hull cleaner comes in two sizes: 32 ounces and 1 gallon. Therefore, you can save some money and buy a big tub that’s cheaper and can last you for a pretty long time.
What I really loved about it is that it works really well on wood. Aside from that, you can actually use it on almost any wood surface – not just wooden boats.
However, if you’re going to use it on boats, you’ll be glad to know that it can take away grease, lime deposit, and even algae. It’s really great for taking away thick grime that can get stuck in fiberglass material.
Another thing about it is that it is phosphate-free, making it one of the safest choices that you can find out there. An icing on the top is that it can be used with a special Zing Applicator mop which is sold separately.
I myself have tried using the boat hull cleaner along with the special Zing applicator mop, and I had a really easy time with the combo.
However, one thing I didn’t like is that it smells really bad. That’s most likely because it’s made of pretty strong acids that create smelly fumes. It also irritates the skin a bit, so you might as well wear some gloves when you use it.
7. Better Boat Hull Cleaner
From my own personal experience, I was able to discover firsthand that this product is really great for removing lake scum. If your boat happens to have those thick and slimy grime that gets stuck to the boat, then this one can slice through them easily. That’s what makes this boat hull cleaner one of the most effective ones on this list.
Aside from lake scum, it can also tackle algae, lime deposit, grease, waterlines, hard water, saltwater buildup, discoloration, marine fume, and rust.
You can say that it is an overall boat cleaner that can address a number of stains that most cleaners can’t. It’s probably one of the most versatile ones that you can find in the market.
However, it does have one weakness – algae. Though it can take out the light algae stains, experience has shown me that the extremely heavy algae buildup can cause a bit of trouble for this product. I’m not saying that it can’t. However, you may have to use quite a bit of cleaner if you really want to remove all the thick algae.
8. Booyah Clean Products Non-Acid Hull Cleaner
This is a favorite of one of my very close friends. You see, my friend, who is also a boat owner who owns a number of boats, loves using hull cleaners on various surfaces. He sometimes even tried to use hull cleaners on other things aside from boats. That’s why he was pretty ecstatic when he discovered this specific hull cleaner.
It can clean fiberglass, metal, vinyl, plastic, rubber, plexiglass, painted wood, carpet, decal, and many other surfaces. So, if you’re looking for something with a lot of versatility when it comes to materials it can be used on, then I’d say this one is your best bet.
It’s also pretty safe to use as it meets the EPA Safer Choice Direct Release Criteria.
However, I do believe it does have a problem removing marine growth like algae. It’s pretty good at removing water lines, scum, fish blood, and general stains anyway. Just don’t buy it if your aim is to get rid of algae.
9. Star Brite Sea Safe Hull Cleaner
I’d have to say that this is the most biodegradable and environment-friendly cleaner you’ll find in the list. It is a cleaner that has a completely biodegradable formula and doesn’t contain any type of acids, chemicals, solvents, or phosphates.
In other words, you’ll only find an almost all-natural lineup of ingredients here.
However, even though it doesn’t contain any harsh acids or the like, it is still very effective. In fact, you don’t really need to do any scrubbing with this cleaner. All you need to do is apply it on the intended surface and you can just wipe off the stains. After that, you just need to do some simple rinsing. Once you do that, your boat should be free of any weird stains that may have plagued your hulls.
However, I do not recommend that you use this to clean off any thick and sticky grime or algae because it won’t work that well. It also doesn’t work too well with water spots as well. Use this with those regular or light boat stains if you really want to optimize its effectiveness.
10. Boating Accessories New Boat Hull Cleaner
Even though this cleaner is inside a small bottle, it’s still extremely potent, making it one of the strongest hull cleaners in the market. If you’re after taking care of those strong and stubborn stains and grime, then this is a good bet to have.
Other than just water stains and grime, you can expect this to work really well with grease spots, hard water, fish blood, and a lot of other very sticky and slimy substances.
I really the fact that it even works well with algae and marine growth. That’s because it is made of a very strong acid-based formulation. If you’re looking for this kind of strength, then I highly recommend this product for you.
However, I do believe that it’s a bit too strong for me which is why I only use it when I need to. When I use it, I actually have to dilute it with some water in order for it not to be so overpowering.
My ratio is usually 50% water and 50% solution in a spray bottle. I also make sure that I wear gloves and glasses all the time as the formulation may hurt the eyes.
11. 3M 09005 Marine Restorer and Wax
This cleaner has a dual purpose: it both cleans your boat and gives it a little wax job. That’s why it’s known as a boat hull restorer. Me and my friends often use it to return the shine of our boats when they get dull. It’s extremely effective in shining gelcoats and fiberglass materials.
The great thing about it is that it is not only used for boats. My brother also borrows it sometimes to clean his RV. That’s how well it works.
For those who want to give their boats (or even RVs) a nice glossy shine, then this product is a great buy. It’s also really easy to use. All you need to do is apply it, wipe the surface, scrub a bit, then rinse. After the rinse, the shine of your boat hull will be back.
While it does bring back the glossiness of the boat hull, I did notice a greasy finish after using it. That’s most likely because of the wax that’s embedded into this cleaner. But aside from that, this is a pretty good boat hull cleaner.
12. Boater’s EDGE Hull Cleaner
If I were to mention the specialization of this cleaner, I’d say it would be in removing lake scum. Out of all the choices here, I’d probably say that this is the best in removing lake scum. Now, it does remove other types of stains as well, but as per my experience, it works best against scum.
Other than lake scum though, it’s also pretty good against fish blood, rust, waterline stains, and marine growth. It can also be used on a number of surfaces without damaging them. These include fiberglass, metal, or painted material.
In fact, I can recommend it to be one of the best cleaners to use before you polish your boat hull if you want a really nice and glossy shine.
While it’s pretty good at removing lake scum, I can’t say much for other thicker and slimier materials. It doesn’t work that well for grease spots, hard water, or even thicky algae. For these types of substances, you may need something a little bit stronger.
Boat Hull Cleaner Buying Guide
Now that I’ve done with our reviews for the best fiberglass boat hull cleaners, let’s move on to something else that can really help you out. Since there are 12 really good hull cleaners on this list, you’re going to have to pick one or two out of the choices.
I doubt that you’re going to buy all 12 of these since not all of them fit into your needs and wants. Therefore, to help you narrow down your choices, I have created this buying guide for you.
Who is This For?
First, you may be asking whether a boat hull cleaner is for you or not. In my opinion, I will say that a boat hull cleaner is for anyone who owns a boat. If you want to totally take care of your boat, you need to clean it, otherwise, it will depreciate fast. However, if you maintain it properly, then your boat will last you a long time.
Features to Consider when Buying Boat Hull Cleaners
Not all boat hull cleaners are good or are suitable for your boat. You need to consider a number of features before you decide to buy the one that’s right for you. Below are some of the most important things you should consider when you buy a boat hull cleaner:
The first thing that you want to consider is size. The size of the cleaner you buy is determined by how big your boat is, how much you use, and how often you clean your boat. If your boat is small and you don’t use much, obviously you don’t need to buy such a big size.
However, if you use a lot, then it’s more worth it to buy a bigger sized cleaner. If not, then you may want to get just the 32-ounce version. Again, this is all up to your own consumption.
2. Surfaces It Can Be Used On
Do take note that not all cleaners can be used on all surfaces. There are cleaners that are a bit too strong for sensitive surfaces such as fiberglass and wood. However, there are those that are safe for fiberglass material. If your boat happens to have a fiberglass hull, then you have to get the hull cleaner for fiberglass boat.
If you can, you might even want to get a cleaner that can be used for all kinds of surfaces. These include not only fiberglass but also vinyl, metal, glass, rubber, plexiglass, and carpetting. You may also want to find the one that can be used to clean surfaces with paint on them.
3. Stains It Can Clean Off
Not all cleaners can take off all the stains. There are cleaners that specialize more in cleaning off simple stains like fish blood, dirt, grime, and discoloration. There are also cleaners that are strong enough to scrub away stronger components such as rust, lime deposits, and even algae.
The type of cleaner that you want to buy (with regard to what it can clean off), will highly depend on you. To do that, you just need to check what you usually clean off your boat and buy the cleaner that can get the job done. But if I were to choose, I’d go with a cleaner that can clean a whole range of stains and other unwanted things.
4. Safety and Eco-Friendliness
Lastly, you may want to consider the safety and eco-friendliness of the cleaner. As I mentioned above, there are cleaners that have too much strength that they may damage certain materials. These ones most likely contain strong acids that may be harmful to your health and the environment.
As an environment and health enthusiast, I believe that you should only safe products that have the consistency of a homemade boat hull cleaner. Most fiberglass hull cleaning agents don’t have strong acid anyway, so you won’t have to worry too much about that.
Probably the only time you may want to buy really heavy-duty cleaners is if the dirt, algae, or grime is already too much to handle that regular cleaners don’t work. But if you do clean your boat regularly, I believe that it won’t reach such a level. But if it does, at least you have an option.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Boat Hull Cleaner
Just like anything, there are advantages and disadvantages to using a boat hull cleaner. However, I believe that the advantages can easily outweigh the disadvantages. In any case, here they are below:
- Cleans your boat and get rid of all the dirt and grime
- Gets rid of all the algae on the hull
- Helps bring back the shine and gloss of your boat
- Ensures that your boat will be able to stay in good condition for a longer period of time
- May possibly damage some materials if the cleaner is too strong
Care and Maintenance
Now that you know how to buy a boat cleaner and the advantages/disadvantages of using one, let’s talk about boat hull care and maintenance. It’s important to take note that a boat hull has to be cleaned regularly.
I recommend that you clean it every 4 to 12 weeks depending on the condition. If it is used a lot, then 4 weeks is a must. However, if you don’t use your boat that often, you can stretch it a bit.
As for using the boat cleaner, it’s pretty simple. All you need to do is first spray the hull with water from a hose. This loosens up the dirt and takes away all the barnacles. Once you do that, you can spray the cleaner on your boat hull and start using a brush to scrape off the stains or dirt. It’s pretty much as simple as that.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
How do you clean a dirty boat hull?
Cleaning a dirty boat hull is actually pretty straightforward. The first thing you need to do is rinse your boat hull. The whole purpose of doing this is to loosen up all the barnacles, dirt, and grime. Doing this will make it much easier to scrub away the stubborn dirt later on. Rinse thoroughly so that you can take away as much as possible.
Once you’ve already thoroughly rinsed your boat hull, the next thing to do is spray the cleaner on it. I suggest that you put the cleaner in a spray bottle and cover the whole hull with the cleaner. If you’re using strong acid-based types, then you don’t need to put so much. Also, you may want to use some gloves while cleaning.
When you’ve already covered the hull with the solution, the next thing to do is scrub off the stains. I recommend that you use the special boat cleaning brushes that you can buy in most hardware or boat owner stores. The reason why I suggest you use this brush is because it specializes in cleaning the kind of dirt that you can find on boats. So use that to start scrubbing out the grime, rust, and other undesirables.
Don’t scrub too hard as this may damage your boat. Scrub with regular strength and pressure. That should do the trick. With enough boat cleaner, the stains shouldn’t be too hard to remove.
After scraping off the stains, give your boat hull a second rinse in order to wash away all of the excess dirt on the hull. Once it’s all clean, you can wipe it and shine it a bit if you want.
How do you clean grime off a boat?
This will really depend on the kind of grime. Normally, the grime of a boat can easily be taken off if you’re going to use some boat cleaner. All you need to do is simply follow the cleaning instructions that I’ve listed above and you can get the job done.
However, there may be times when one application of the cleaner may not be enough. If this is the case, then you may need to cover the hull with a second coating of cleaner and try scrubbing again after. Of course, this is if the grime is a bit too much to handle.
Now, there are some cleaners that specialize in taking out grime more than others. If grime is your main problem when handling your boat hull, then you may want to buy the cleaners that are more suited toward cleaning grime.
Do cleaners emit strong smells or fumes?
This generally depends on the kind of cleaner that you buy. There are actually cleaners that do emit fumes and strong smells, but this is because they’re made of strong components and acid. If you do buy these types of cleaners, then you may want to wear a face mask when you use this kind of cleaner.
As much as possible, stick with the safer types of cleaners that are water-based and environment-friendly. Only use the strong, heavy-duty types if needed. That way, you won’t have to worry too much about fumes and burning.
Do cleaners irritate the skin?
If you’re using a water-based cleaner, then it shouldn’t be a problem. Only the acid types will burn your skin. However, even the safer cleaners that don’t have acid in them may cause your skin to dry out. If your skin dries too much, then your skin might have some itchiness. But after a while, the itchiness should go away. Watch out if you have sensitive skin though because some cleaners may cause redness.
In any case, it’s always better to wear gloves while you use your boat cleaners.
What is the warranty policy?
Since boat cleaners are consumable products, there really is no warranty policy present for boat cleaners. When you buy a boat cleaner, you don’t really need to think too much about warranties and such.
However, I do know that there are some products that offer a money-back guarantee should it not work for you. The terms of the money-back guarantee will depend on the brand itself so you may want to check out the specific conditions before you buy.
Now that you know which boat hull cleaners are the best boat hull cleaners, you may now choose one out of the top 12 picks for your own boat. Along with these reviews, you should also refer to the comprehensive buying guide and a few FAQs that can help you understand how you can make use of cleaners and how they can work for you.
That said, now you’re ready to zero in the most suitable boat hull cleaner for your own needs. With all this information at your disposal, you’re now ready to spruce up your boat and continuously maintain it so that it can last for the many years to come.