Aluminum boats tend to lose their shine after prolonged use. The problem is more pronounced if they are not painted and their hulls are made of aluminum. The only way to improve your boat's appearance is by regular cleaning. As long as you are clear with the process, cleaning an aluminum boat is not a Herculean task.
Step 1 - Mix the Tri-sodium Phosphate
Carefully follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer of Tri-sodium phosphate (TSP). Make sure you wear the safety glasses and rubber gloves before mixing the TSP according to the instructions. In general, the ratio of TSP to water to be mixed is 1 to 4. However, it’s best to verify this ratio with the instructions before proceeding further.
Step 2 - Clean the Surface
If the stains are mild, or there is only minimum discoloration, you can perform a quick cleaning by using soap and water. Using the garden hose, drench a part of the boat surface thoroughly with clean water. Add cream of tartar, lemon force, or vinegar to the water. Avoid using TSP for simple cleaning procedures. In case the stains are rigid, cleaning it with soap and water helps to loosen the stains.
Step 3 - Apply the TSP Solution
Prepare the boat surface for the application of TSP solution followed by an even application. Use a sponge to apply the TSP solution on the wet surface. Evenly apply the TSP solution using the sponge to work your way from above towards the sides. Now use the scrubber and scrub the surface with horizontal strokes.
Step 4 - Perform Thorough Cleaning
Once again, rinse the surface that has been washed. Notice the parts have now become uniformly lustrous. There is no need to dry the boat as natural drying is allowed. Once done, proceed to the next part that is discolored or stained and repeat the same process.
Step 5 - Remove the Stains
If there are persistent stains, then you might want to re-apply the TSP solution or allow it to settle for a few minutes before washing it thoroughly. However, make sure you do not let the TSP solution stick to the boat surface for a long time.
Special Cleaning Tips
To clean a pit surface, soap-filled steel wool can be used. Wash the surface with water and dry it using a cloth. Make sure the steel wool is removed to avoid rusting that will in turn cause staining.
If you are planning to paint your aluminum boat, it’s necessary that you clean it thoroughly beforehand. For this purpose alone you might want to make use of oxide primer. Slightly sand the boat before applying the primer and use the cloth to clean it. After even the application of primer, you are ready to paint your boat.