How to Clean under a Boating Dock

  • 2-6 hours
  • Beginner
  • 35-75
What You'll Need
Low VOC sealant
Marine putty
Diluted bleach solution (4:1)
Olive oil + vinegar (3:1)
Lemon juice + salt (1:1)
Vinegar + salt (1:1)
Baking soda
Cream of tartar

Not only does a boating dock add to the aesthetics of your outdoors, they also facilitate many outdoor activities such as boating, fishing, and swimming. Throughout the process of repairing and cleaning under your boat dock make sure that you use environmentally friendly products, since they will seep into the water and could pollute the lake. Boating docks are usually constructed with wood, although steel or aluminum is also a choice for some.

Step 1- Pre-Cleaning:

Boating docks get exposed to all kinds of weathers and harsh conditions. Moisture from the rain and heat from the sun can cause the wood to expand or shrink, making it harder to repair or clean them efficiently. Therefore, prior to cleaning, make sure you treat your wood with a sealant. In order to avoid environmental degradation use a sealant with a low VOC (volatile organic compound) that has no oil, petrochemicals or toxicants. Most low VOC sealants do not violate the American and European environmental standards. Also, make sure you replace any holes or smooth splinters in the wood with marine putty so that it may not hinder the cleaning process. Pressure washer cleaners are also available to clean the boating docks, but these are expensive equipment and can also be harmful for the wood since they can cause splintering

Step 2 – Cleaning the Algae

In order to clean off the algae from under the boating dock use bleach solution however it is toxic and have it be diluted (4:1). Make sure you let the diluted bleach solution be applied on the algae for a few minutes before you rinse it off. A non-toxic alternative is using 3 parts of olive oil with 1 part of vinegar and scrubbing the surface with it. This combination can also be applied to simply clean the wood itself. Olive oil can be used as an alternative to wood polish.

Step 3- Cleaning the Mildew

Clean off the mildew growing under the boating dock with either lemon juice and salt, or vinegar and salt. Use equal parts of whichever ingredients you decide on and apply it on the mildew. A diluted bleach solution can also be used for scrubbing the mildew off. Another disadvantage of using bleach is that it discolors the wood; therefore, the alternatives are a better choice in any case.

Step 4 – Removing Oil Stains

Oil stains can be removed by scouring powder, or better yet, a simple paste of baking soda and water. Scrub well, since these stains can be stubborn.

Step 4- In the Case of an Aluminum Dock

Treating your platform with rust-resistant substances is crucial for maintaining such docks. Do not use soaps or detergents with phosphates, since they will pollute the water. Scrub the aluminum with baking soda and water to remove the grease. For thorough cleaning use a mixture of cream of tartar and hot water and apply it to the surface. Do not forget to rinse afterwards.