How to Clean a Kayak | Kayak Tips

Experts recommend how to clean a kayak after every trip. This is important in keeping it in good condition so that it can last for many years. Washing and polishing your kayak from time to time prevents it from getting scratches, staining, UV damage and acid rain damage among others.

On top of protecting your kayak, washing your kayak gives it a nice appearance so it can maintain its new look. You can also paddle confidently and operate your kayak safely if you maintain it clean.

how to clean a kayak

Let’s Try To Learn How to Clean a Kayak

If you are wondering how you will clean your kayak, I have made this guide to help you through the whole kayak cleaning process.

Supplies Required:

  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Terry cloths
  • Latex gloves
  • Running water
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Car or boat washes soap solution
  • Fiberglass stain remover
  • 303 Aerospace Plastic Protectant

Step 1: Check Manufacturer Maintenance Advice

Before you start cleaning your kayak, it is crucial to consider the material used to make the kayak. There are different types of materials and each comes with unique cleaning chemicals. Check out the advice provided by the manufacturer concerning cleaning so that you do not use any harsh chemicals that can end up damaging your kayak.

Step 2: Find the Ideal Place to Wash Your Kayak

You need to look for a clean and flat area where you will clean the kayak. For those who have stands and kayak cradles, you can make good use of them. If you don’t have either of the two, you can utilize a grassy lawn or deck. After you identify the right place to get the job done, the next thing is to fill the bucket with water and add 1-2 caps of soap solution.

Step 3: Remove Surface Dirt

You can use a garden hose to remove pollen, surface dirt, sea salt, debris and much more. Soak your sponge in the soap solution and use the soft side. If you use the abrasive side, the gel coat surface becomes dull and this can end up causing permanent scratches on your kayak. When the kayak is still wet, wash it down using the soap water solution. This works well in getting rid of dirt, debris and other small markings on the surface.

Step 4: Rinse the Kayak with a Garden Hose

Once you scrub the entire surface of the kayak with the soap solution, rinse it with your garden hose to remove suds. You can choose to let the kayak dry or use a towel to dry the surface.

Step 5: Remove Stubborn Stains

There are so many things that can cause stains on your kayak. The stains can result from sea weed, pond scum, rust, bird dropping and much more.

Turn the kayak and ensure that the hull is dry. Next, wear your latex gloves and get the fiberglass stain remover jar. Shake it well as required.

With a clean sponge or a terry cloth, apply the stain remover to the whole surface of the hull and let it to dry for about 15 minutes. When it dries completely, you will see a filmy haze. The next thing you need to do is to wash the hull again with the garden hose to get rid of the FSR. At this stage, it is advisable to use a soapy sponge on the surface again.

NB: In as much as fiberglass stain remover is non-abrasive, it can cause skin irritation. Make sure you wear latex gloves when handling it.

Step 6: Polishing/Waxing

Apply your favorite wax with a damp terry cloth. Based on where you want, you can start with the deck or hull. Apply the wax uniformly in a circular motion going up and down the kayak. For the best results, you can apply in circular motion from side to side.

When it comes to the deck, lift up the deck lines and avoid applying on deck fittings to prevent a white residue from forming. Let it dry to a filmy haze. By the time you are through applying the other side, the other side will have dried.

Step 7: Polish Away

After applying the whole kayak, get a micro-fiber cloth and polish away. Polishing away is simple since you just have to use circular motions to get rid of the excess work. By now you will notice an improved look on your kayak.

When you are through with polishing, check whether there are scuffs, surface marking or any stain left. If you find some, get a damp terry cloth and more cleaning wax. You will need to use a little effort at this stage. Apply a little pressure in circular motions to get the marks away.

It can take some time to get rid of these stubborn stains since the cleaning wax is a little abrasive. Once the stains have buffed out, shine the areas using a micro-fiber cloth.

Step 8: Quick Spray

You can use the 3030 aerospace plastic protectant on the plastic fitting and hatch covers.  This provides more shine and protects your kayak from the UV and other harsh weather conditions.

Final Words

Cleaning a kayak should not trouble you if you go through this guide. I have given you a step by step guide on how to clean your kayak and give it a new look. Maintaining your kayak clean is one of the best ways you can make it last longer. Most kayaks are designed in a way that they require little maintenance.

If you paddle on salt water, you just need to rinse the kayak with fresh water and mild soap. For composite kayaks, you can get the best car wax and 303 protectant to prevent UV damages. This gives your kayak a shiny look and protects the hatches. You can do this for both composite and plastic kayaks.

Once your kayak is sparkly clean, store it in a cool and dry place where there is no direct sunlight. If you will be keeping your kayak outdoors, make sure you cover it with a loose fitting tarp that is hull-friendly.

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