Keeping our boat clean and polished with sparkly metals

I shake my head at the vast number of cleaning products we have on board. And I’m speaking of just for the outside of the boat. It seems really fucking ridiculous but it is what it is, and it takes what it takes.


  • Washing/Cleaning/Metal polish – When out cruising it is often 3 – 4 weeks since we are not in a marina, but if stopped in a marina the boat gets dirty more quickly so those times every 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Waxing – Twice per year
  • Polishing – Once per year

Here are the most used items:

  • Deck Brush with Extra Stiff, Shurhold 990 10″
  • HomeDepot Bucket
  • Chamois Leather Cloth
  • Various Brushes (small and hand)
  • Simple Green (general boat wash)
  • Rust Remover (32oz of water with 2 tablespoons of Oxalic acid)
  • 3M Marine Ultra Performance Paste Wax (carnauba wax)
  • MAAS Polishing Creme For All Metals
  • Fiberglass polish (use local sourced)

Other special cleaning products (in order of frequent use):

  • Soft Scrub
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • 3M Non-skid cleaner
  • Starbrite Marine Polish
  • Brite Boy Metal Polish
  • MaryKate On and Off – Hull and Bottom Cleaner (seriously toxic, for tough stains only)

In various ports along the Sea of Cortez and Western Mexico we generally have paid the following (keep in mind we are a 38 foot catamaran and provide all of the materials):

  • Wash only: 600 pesos ($30 USD, 4-6 hours)
  • Wash and Metal Polish: 800 pesos ($40 USD, 6-8 hours)
  • Wash, Metal polish, and Wax: 3,500 pesos ($175 USD, 21-23 hours)
  • Wash, Metal polish, Fiberglass polish, and Wax: 5,000 pesos ($250 USD, 34-36 hours)

A few additional helpful notes:
1. MAAS Polishing Creme is the BOMB. This stuff quickly and easily cuts through metal pitting and cleans up rust. A little dot rubbed on and then polished off has amazing results
2. If you use a Rust remover you must be very careful, it will strip off fiberglass wax when rinsed off with water – so rinse with a lot of water and then re-apply fiberglass wax after using

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