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The Right Way to Pressure Clean a Boat

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Owning a boat can be so much fun, especially in the pleasant, temperate Miami weather. Many people in Florida enjoy boating as a regular activity over weekends. While boating is a fun hobby for the whole family, owning a boat can also take a lot of work. Unfortunately, boats require lots of upkeep, especially when exposed to salty sea water.

One way many boat owners try to reduce the effects of harsh sea water on their boats is by pressure cleaning them. Pressure cleaning a boat is an effective way to remove grime, algae growth and other dirt on the outside surface. However, pressure washing is a task that needs to be performed properly, so as not to cause harm to the boat or yourself.

Why Pressure Clean a Boat?

There are many ways you could clean your boat, but not many are as quick, effective and effortless as pressure cleaning. Pressure cleaning is a great way to get rid of salt on the surface of your boat. It’s also a good way to clean hard to reach places, as the pressure washing machine’s water beam can reach areas you can’t.

A good boat clean requires a rinse first, followed by a proper clean with soap, but adjusting the levels of pressure on a pressure washing machine, the machine can be used for both the prewash rinse and the actual wash. A lot of pressure washing machines also have a rotating scrub brush, which is perfect for cleaning the boat with soap.

If you don’t pressure clean your boat, you’ll need to do all the scrubbing and washing by hand with a sponge. For the prewash rinse, hosing down the boat is the best option. For the best results, you’ll need a hose attachment that will allow you to spray water onto the boat at a higher pressure. These attachments are generally cheap and should be easy to get from a local store.

The problem with cleaning a boat manually without any pressure washing equipment is that there are clear limitations. You’ll need to use a ladder to clean all spots you can’t reach. The water pressure you get from the hosepipe also won’t be enough to rinse down the areas of the boat high up, so you might even need to use a ladder during the rinsing process.

Pressure Cleaners for Cleaning a Boat

Pressure cleaning a boat is reasonably simple and many boat owners choose to do it themselves. To pressure clean your own boat, you’ll either need to buy or hire a pressure washing machine. Be sure to get a machine that’s suitable for the job.

You’ll need to get a household pressure washer rather than industrial strength one. Industrial strength pressure washing machines aren’t suitable for use on your boat, as they’re mainly used for heavy duty jobs like removing oil stains from paved areas and other intense jobs.

Pressure washers come in three main strengths:

  • Light duty – 100 bar pressure or less
  • Medium duty – 110 bar pressure or slightly more
  • Heavy duty – pressure up to 130 bar

Light duty machines are suitable for small jobs around the home. They can be used for cleaning small decks or patios and perhaps even exterior walls. These pressure washers aren’t ideal for cleaning boats, the only exception being very small boats. Seeing as you can easily wipe away any dirt left behind if the pressure washer fails to clean certain spots.

Medium duty pressure washing machines are great for most tasks around the house. On low pressure settings, they’re good for cleaning vehicles such as cars, trucks and boats.

Pressure Washer Specifics

It’s important to choose a pressure washing machine that has multiple pressure settings. This will allow you to toggle between lower and higher pressure adjustments for different tasks. Even if you choose a medium duty pressure washer to pressure clean your boat, it doesn’t necessarily mean the pressure range will be ideal.

There are also different pressure washer attachments and nozzles you can use, such as a rotating brush head to scrub away dirt, a trigger gun nozzle to allow for easy control of the water flow and various spray nozzles for everyday use.

Before pressure cleaning your boat, you’ll also have to choose a safe soap or detergent to use. To protect the fiberglass of the boat exterior, it’s best to opt for an ammonia-free detergent. Also check the pressure washing machine instructions manual to learn more about what detergents are suitable to use with the equipment.

It’s always best to go for environmentally friendly, gentle cleaners, as using them will prevent damage to grass and other plants in the land area surrounding the spot where you’re busy.

Lastly, to use your pressure washer with soap, you’ll need to have a chemical injection kit. If you’re hiring a machine, chances are there will already be a chemical injector kit installed, just ask the staff at the equipment hiring company to show you how to use it. Installing a chemical injection kit on your own machine can be more complicated and will take some figuring out, but you should be able to do it with enough research.

How to Pressure Clean a Boat

Once you have the right pressure washer, nozzles and detergent to get the job done, pressure cleaning a boat can actually be quite simple. Before you start, however, you should know that practicing good safety precautions is a must. The water beam from the pressure washer can be powerful enough to cause injury, so you should never place your hand in front of the beam to test the pressure.

You can pressure wash your boat following the following steps:

  • Gently rinse your boat on a low pressure setting to remove sand, debris and dust particles from the surface. This step can be performed without any detergent, if you wish.
  • Before cleaning at a higher pressure, add soap and attach a pressure washing soap nozzle to your machine.
  • Allow to detergent to sit for a few minutes. Just be sure to keep the surface of the boat wet during this time.
  • To get rid of mold and algae, you can use a rotating scrub brush pressure washer attachment.
  • Once you’re done cleaning all the dirt and stains, it’s time to rinse off the soap. You can do this by attaching a trigger nozzle. Go around the boat and rinse it from the top down.

When pressure cleaning your boat, you should remember to clean the boat trailer and motor as well. Just be careful around the motor and try not to get any soap in it.

When to Get Boat Pressure Cleaning Services

Pressure cleaning a boat yourself is doable and can be learnt quite easily, but don’t underestimate the task. It does take quite a bit of effort to learn all the ins and outs of pressure cleaning. To pressure clean the right way can take time to learn. On top of this, getting together all the necessary equipment is a difficult task in itself.

A lot of people like to learn how to pressure clean things themselves and buy their own pressure washing machine. Even if you want to learn how to do pressure washing, your boat isn’t a good place to start learning. Mistakes could damage your boat, costing you much more in repairs when compared to hiring professionals.

If you’re interested in pressure washing things yourself, rather start on easier surfaces that won’t damage easily, such as your driveway and leave other areas to professionals until you’re familiar with all your equipment. Practicing beforehand can not only save you money, but can also spare you from accident-related injuries.

If you’re new to pressure cleaning, it’s advisable to call in professionals to help clean your boat. Hiring a local Miami pressure cleaning service can help save you time and effort. Seeing as professional cleaners have ample experience using pressure cleaning equipment, you can be rest assured your boat is in good hands.

The Right Way to Pressure Clean a Boat

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