What’s the best way to clean a kayak?

best way to clean kayak

Water and mild soap are all you need to clean your polyethylene kayak.

To keep your hull clean, all it takes is a fast rinse with clean, fresh water.

You can pay special attention to this if you can paddle in salt water or if you have a boat with a skeg.

Don’t load or unload your kayak in a careless manner. Using a marine boat polish made especially for polyethylene hulls can help avoid or minimise scratches on the hull’s surface.

To prevent long-term sun damage, coating your kayak with an ultraviolet-blocking compound like 303 Protectant is a smart idea.

Do not drag a kayak to extend its life and maintain its appearance and performance.

It is possible to pull the boat with two people using grab handles.

The effects of not maintaining your kayak

A kayak can be damaged in a variety of ways, all of which can have a detrimental effect on its hull.

UV (ultraviolet) radiation is to blame.

More than just the colour of your boat will fade as it ages; its form will become visibly less supple on the water, and it will be more susceptible to breakage due to brittle plastic.

It is not the amount of time you spend paddling your kayak on the water that causes you to be overexposed to UV rays.

Boats deteriorate rapidly in the sun and rain, and the damage can be permanent.

You should apply a protective coating to the hull every year before going out boating for added UV protection.

Hull Damage

Inflatables and folding kayaks are made of Kevlar and fibreglass composite materials, which are relatively resistant to dents. Boats may also be made of these materials, so it’s understandable.

On the other hand, since their hulls are constantly changing, they don’t have to think about dents.

A polyethylene boat’s hull, on the other hand, can develop a dip, a dent, or a split over time.

However, some manufacturers will attest to the fact that it is a common problem with whitewater and touring boats.

Variations in temperature, insufficient storage conditions, or the addition of straps to a storage case are the most common causes.

As a result of being hoisted by their grab loops for an extended period of time, boats frequently develop a slight U-curve.

When dealing with a flat spot under the cockpit (which is the most common place for these types of deformations due to the large size of the boat), keep in mind that flat areas aren’t as stable as the rest of the boat. or a bend in the u-shape If this is feasible, It’s possible that the kayak would need to spend some time in the sun.

The heat causes the plastic to melt, which restores the shape of the boat.

If you want a planter that is absolutely useless and a mess of melted plastic, don’t use a heat gun on your boat.

The protection of inflatable and folding kayaks has been questioned.

The way boats are built has changed dramatically with the introduction of “packable boats.”

If your socks get ripped, torn, or broken when you’re wearing them, you’ll have to patch them.

A boat’s hull can only be kept clean by cleaning it with soap and water every day.

In general, you are free to use whatever UV spray you like on the bridge, but because few skin boats are assembled and stored outside, this shouldn’t be an issue.

If inflatable boats are exposed to UV rays, they can be destroyed, and the party would be over quickly if the hulls begin to collapse.

To avoid rotting, you can clean your boat’s hull with soap and water and spray it with a heavy UV protectant mist.

The hardest part

Kayaks are constructed from a variety of materials that have varying properties when exposed to water. Additionally, these materials react differently depending on the storage environment for the kayak. Kayaks are typically used seasonally, which means they are hidden away for extended periods of time.

When cleaning kayaks, the most difficult part is removing them from storage at the start of the season. So, how do you clean a kayak effectively?

A bucket of warm soapy water and a sponge are the simplest tools for cleaning a kayak. Rinse the soap from the kayak and dry it with a microfiber cloth after cleaning. Mildew can be killed and removed by soaking it in a weak solution of bleach and water. In a dry location, store the kayak.

Cleaning your kayak varies according to the material used to construct it. Additionally, the material dictates how the kayak reacts to months of storage and storage conditions.

Cleaning can be a relatively simple and straightforward process, but it can become somewhat complicated when deep cleaning is required to correct certain problems.

How to clean the outside of a kayak

Cleaning the exterior of a kayak is quite simple. The boat’s exterior is designed to be soaked, which facilitates the process.

Outside of the kayak, regardless of material, the best way to clean it is with a bucket, warm water, a little soap, and a sponge.

As a soapy component in the water, you can add car shampoo or kayak soap. This combination is gentle on the kayak’s surface but effective in removing the majority of dirt.

A simple cleaning will remove the majority of the common contaminants found in kayaks, and it only requires a few simple tools.

A bucket of soapy water is all that is required.

A sponge from your local store’s car care department will do.

Soap; alternatively, try car shampoo, kayak shampoo, or even a few drops of dishwashing liquid.

Tap water is ideal because a hose and water are typically nearby.

Microfiber cloths are readily available in the majority of stores, particularly in the auto care and occasionally in the dishwashing detergent departments.

Fill a bucket halfway with soap and half with hot water from the kitchen faucet. Although the soap is slightly frothy, this is acceptable.

In the bucket, dampen a sponge and use the soapy solution to wash the outside of the kayak. Certain areas with stubborn dirt may require increased pressure on the sponge to extract it.

Once the kayak is clean, rinse the sponge under running water to remove any soap residue. To remove dirt from the kayak, rinse it with fresh water from the hose. Using a sponge, if necessary, wipe away the soap.

Can you wash your kayak with a pressure washer?

A pressure washer can be used to clean certain kayaks. It effectively removes any embedded dirt from the hull’s surface. While some kayaks can be effectively cleaned with a pressure washer, others require caution.

Kayaks made of wood It helps if a pressure washer is not used on a wooden kayak. When a wooden hull is submerged in water, high-pressure water jets can damage and peel away the varnish, destroying its water resistance.

Kayaks made of composites. Pressure washing is a possibility with composite kayaks. However, caution should be exercised because the boat’s thin composite material may sag and possibly crack as a result of the water jet’s action. When pressure washing the decals, caution should be exercised, as the water jet may cause the decals to peel away from the boat.

Kayaks made of polyethylene Plastic kayaks are constructed of molded polyethylene. These boats are tough and easy to clean with a pressure washer both inside and out.

How to clean the inside of a kayak

The interior of a kayak is frequently the most difficult part to clean, especially in kayaks with a small opening for the paddler to enter the water. They are extremely difficult to clean aboard.

Typically, wood kayaks are just wiped down with a damp cloth from the inside. The cloth should not be dripping wet, and you do not want moisture to build up in the boat unnecessarily. The majority of dirt in the cabin accumulates on the foot pedals or steering pedals. These areas are prone to becoming clogged with mud if paddlers step on them.

How to rid your kayak of mold

Because the interior of a kayak is a hot and humid environment, mold can easily grow there, resulting in mold in the kayak. This can occur in any material kayak.

Mold can also grow on wooden kayaks that have been stored in moist locations. However, it occurs more frequently in composite or plastic kayaks that have not been thoroughly cleaned of water.

Mold is frequently caused when kayaks are stored damp for an extended period of time or when water is left in the boat during storage. Before storing your kayak for the off-season, ensure that the interior is completely dry and avoid storing it in a damp location.

Should you wax your kayak?

Contrary to popular belief, waxing a kayak does not make it faster. It coats the kayak in a protective layer that shields it from harmful UV rays and makes dirt removal easier.

This means that a waxed kayak will remain cleaner longer and will require less frequent washing. The wax you use on your kayak can be specifically formulated for kayaks or it can be a general-purpose car wax.

proper kayak maintenance

If every kayaker had their way, kayaks would glide for years without scratching or denting the hull. However, let us not kid ourselves – a well-used kayak is subjected to considerable stress! The good news is that kayaks are completely impervious to damage and require little maintenance. There are a few straightforward steps you can take to maintain the condition of your kayak and equipment. This procedure will quickly become second nature!

When you retrieve your kayak from storage and prepare for your first spring swim, the last thing you want to discover is that something was left on it from the previous year or that it was damaged during storage. Here are some pointers for inspecting your boat while it is stored.

Examine the kayak’s hull for signs of wear and tear. Prolonged storage is a common cause of hull damage in kayaks. If the kayak’s hull is dented, heat frequently restores it to its original shape. On a hot day, it frequently reverts to its original shape when left in the sun.

Vessel rigging should be inspected. Ascertain the integrity of the fittings, boundary lines, and straps. Ultraviolet rays can cause the plastic eyelets on the overlays to deteriorate and the cords to fray. Check drain lines, stainless steel lines, hinge couplings, and treads if you have a rudder or glider. Ascertain that any items in need of repair are addressed immediately, rather than while the vessel is still in the water!

Replacing worn-out components and accessories This is an excellent opportunity to dispose of obsolete components such as seats or bulkheads. Inspect all of your equipment and take note of any issues that have arisen over the last year. If you wished for something extra last season, such as an additional rod holder, now is the time to upgrade!

Prepare for the worst-case scenario by stocking up on essentials. Examine your first aid kit, rescue kit, and emergency repair kit to ensure that you have sufficient supplies. This is critical because restocking implies that you’ve used the item within the last year.

How to wash, clean and polish a composite kayak

Kayaks of all types, from polyethylene sitting kayaks to carbon and Kevlar composite sea kayaks. I’ve cleaned, washed, and polished so many kayaks that I’ve developed a strong understanding of which products and methods work and which don’t.

Cleaning and polishing your kayak on a regular basis is one of the most effective ways to protect it from scratches, UV rays, acid rain, stains, and gel coat cracks. Not only does it protect and preserve the gel coat’s appearance, but it also gives your boat a new, gleaming appearance. Whether you’re looking to restore an old, faded composite kayak or want to know the best way to keep your kayak clean and protected, this guide will provide you with the necessary materials and instructions.

Recommended accessories:

  • Buckets of Water

  • Water from the faucet/hose from the garden

  • Sponge

  • Cloth

  • Cloth made with microfiber

  • Latex gloves

Avoid being excessively concerned with soap. I recommend car and boat washes of all types. Simply ensure that it is clear coat/gelcoat compatible before proceeding.

This product is intended to be used on fiberglass surfaces to remove lime scale and other large “settled” stains. Although this blue gel is non-abrasive, it is quite potent, which is why I use it only once a season. Use only with kayaks that have been gel-coated.

This fantastic product was created for automobile care, but it also works wonders on composite kayaks. It smooths out surface scratches, eliminates surface stains, and leaves a nice glossy finish with a protective layer.

Fill a bucket halfway with water and add a few drops of soap solution. Following that, you’ll want to clean your kayak on a clean, flat surface. You can use a rack if you have a kayak stand; otherwise, a deck or lawn will suffice.

Rinse the kayak thoroughly with a garden hose to remove surface dirt, pollen, and sea salt residue, among other contaminants. Soak a sponge in a solution of soap and water while the kayak is still wet. Always avoid using the sponge’s abrasive side. This can result in the darkening of the gelcoat surface and permanent swirl/scratch marks. In a solution of soap and water, wash the entire kayak. This method effectively removes embedded dirt and debris, as well as minor surface stains.

After rinsing the kayak’s surface with the water and soap solution, rinse it once more with a garden hose to remove any remaining dirt. Allow the kayak to dry naturally or dry it with a towel.

The following step is to clean the boat’s surface of any stubborn deep stains. Typically, these stains are caused by pond scum, algae, bird droppings, or rust. Turn the kayak over and inspect the entire hull for moisture – you don’t want any in the next step. Put on latex gloves and bring a fresh can of FSR.

As the contents of the FSR tend to separate, ensure that you shake it thoroughly. Apply FSR over the entire surface of the case with a clean sponge, terry cloth, or brush. Distribute evenly, with the goal of leaving a film on the gelcoat surface.

Allow 10 to 15 minutes after applying FSR for it to dry. As the surface dries, a misty film will form on it. Then, using a hose, repeat the process of cleaning the body.

Although this step should remove the majority of the FSR, I recommend wiping the surface clean with a soapy sponge. Nota bene: Although FSR is a relatively strong product that is not abrasive, it can cause skin irritation. Utilize caution and latex gloves when applying FSR.


Polishing/waxing is the subsequent step. When applied with a damp terry cloth, 3M cleaning wax works best. You can start with the hull or the deck, depending on your preference.

Start with a quarter portion of the product and work your way up and down the kayak in small even circles. Circular side-to-side motions have been shown to be the most effective. You do not need to apply a lot of pressure, but keep in mind to “rub” your hand across the kayak.

When applying cleaning wax to the deck, lift the deck line and avoid contact with deck fittings. While it does not harm deck lines or fittings, it does leave a white residue that can be difficult to remove in some cases. (At the conclusion of this article, you’ll find a “Pro Tip” section on removing deck lines.)

Allow the product, as with FSR, to dry to a silky haze. Generally, one end of the kayak will be cured before the other end is completed.

After that, start polishing with a microfiber rag. This is my favorite step because it demonstrates the end result of your efforts. This step is straightforward – simply wipe the surface in a circular motion to remove any remaining wax film.

Once the remainder of your kayak has been polished, inspect the surface for marks, scratches, or stains. These areas will require refinishing in the near future. Once you’ve identified areas that require extra attention, use a damp cloth and 3M Cleaning Wax to clean them. Remove the stains using a small amount of cleaning wax and a strong circular motion. Due to the slightly abrasive nature of the cleaning wax, stubborn stains may require a little more time to remove. Once the stains have been removed, wipe those areas with a microfiber cloth.

I recommend taking some 303 Aviation Plastic Protector and lightly spraying it on hatch covers and other rubber/plastic components. This will restore the shine to the hatch covers and protect them from UV rays and other environmental hazards.

As a professional, I would like to offer you the following advice .

One way to optimize the cleaning and waxing process is to remove the lines from the deck before beginning. While this will require some effort and possibly hand tools at the outset, it will ultimately simplify the process. By removing the lines from the deck, you can create an uninterrupted area for cleaning and waxing that is free of piping, fittings, and fittings. If you’re using an orbital polisher, you’ll want to remove the lines from the polishing surface to prevent them from becoming tangled and becoming stuck in the polishing disc.

Step 1: Rinse the kayak

Rinse the kayak thoroughly with a garden hose to dislodge and remove any debris.

Step 2: Fill your bucket

After that, collect a bucket of water and a mild soap or boat detergent. Fill the bucket halfway with hose-clean water and add some soap. If you are using boat detergent, follow the package directions for how much to add to the bucket.

Step 3: Washing your kayak

In the bucket, dampen a sponge with soapy water and start washing the kayak. Wash both sides thoroughly. For particularly stubborn stains, this procedure may need to be repeated several times until the stain is completely removed.

Step 4: Washing

After thoroughly cleaning the case with soapy water, rinse it with fresh water using a hose. Ascertain that the boat has been thoroughly rinsed and that no soap or foam residue remains.

Step 5: Allow it to dry.)

Allow the kayak to air dry once it has been thoroughly rinsed. Allow it to dry naturally or use a towel to hasten the process.

Continue with step 9 if using a plastic kayak or if you wish to skip waxing.

Step 6: Waxing.)

Use a microfiber cloth to apply the wax. If the product is a spray, spray it all over the body and gently wipe it away with a microfiber cloth. To begin wiping, dampen the cloth slightly.

Step 7: Allow to dry

Allow the kayak to dry after waxing it. When you are finished, you may discover that the section you started is already dry.

Step 8: Spraying UV Protector

Spray the kayak with UV Protectant to add an additional layer of protection. Prior to spraying, the kayak must be dry.

Polish the boat with a clean, dry cloth once the product has been sprayed. If you have applied an excessive amount of product, wipe it away with a damp cloth. After that, you should wipe the kayak dry with a dry cloth, as it will not dry naturally.

You can now launch the kayak into the water once it has dried.

Recommendations for kayak repairs.

A broken kayak that has been kept for a year is the last thing someone needs to discover.

When you take your paddle out of storage for the first spring paddle, it’s possible that it was damaged during storage.

When your boat is being stored, perform the following checks:

If you see any signs of a problem on the hull, consult a specialist.

Keeping a kayak in storage for long periods of time is one of the most common ways to damage its hull.

The depressed hull of a kayak can be restored to its original shape with heat and no further care.

Take a look at how the rigging is set up.

The hardware, perimeters, and bungees should all be undamaged.

UV rays may also damage plastic, such as pads and bungee cords.

The presence of a rudder or skeg, as well as any deployment lines, stainless tubing, pivot hardware, and pedals, should all be tested.

By replacing worn-out parts and components with new ones, you will extend the life of your vehicle.

If old equipment, such as seats or bulkheads, is being scrapped, it is a good time to sell them.

Examine all of your belongings to recall what bothered you last year.

Make sure your first-aid kit is up to date.

Check to see if your first aid kit, bailout pack, and emergency repair kit are all stocked.

Throughout the season, the kayaks are serviced on a daily basis.

At the height of paddling season, these pointers are critical:

The cart you use to carry your kayak will save you time and money by preventing you from having to repair it.

Purchase a Kayak Cart.

As a yak’s bottom is pulled against the dirt, it will inevitably break apart over time, ultimately resulting in holes that must be filled by a specialist store.

It must be protected from the sun to keep it secure.

Long-term exposure to the sun can cause a kayak’s colour to fade and the plastic to become fragile and brittle, leading to cracking.

By spraying 303 Protectant on a kayak before using it, you can protect it from UV rays.

One of the most common ways to protect your skin is with 303 Protectant spray, but it washes away in the rain or when your boat gets wet, so you’ll need to reapply.

Cockpit is a word that has a lot of different meanings.

When the cockpit isn’t in use, a cockpit cover will keep rain and animals at bay.

It is not appropriate to clean a kayak after and outing in order for it to be spotless and brand new.

Kayak Maintenance in Preparation for Off-Season Storage.

Since there is no off-season in the United Kingdom, your kayak must be stored during the winter.

Check that all of the rigging system’s components are in good working order.

The attached sections of the kayak should be inspected for fraying.

If something has to be replaced, such as deck cables, toggle handles, or bulkheads, it must be done as soon as possible.

Loosen any bungees, belts, or buckles that can be undone before storing your gear.

Using a sponge, scrub any residue from bolts/screws and bolts/screws throughout the cleaning process.


Is it a good idea to use WD-40 on a kayak, or is it not?

As a protective coating, WD40 should not be used.

There’s also no UV defence, and WD-40 only works by repelling moisture.