Aluminum is surely one of the best materials used for boats because it is resistant to corrosion and really durable. However, it is vulnerable to oxidation which makes it a little bit difficult to maintain. But that doesn’t mean that aluminum can’t be maintained. That’s where aluminum cleaners come into play.
Whether you want to learn how to maintain your boat for fishing or learn how to restore aluminum boats, the best aluminum boat cleaner is going to be needed. Now, if you have never bought one before, then this list will be of use to you. We’re going to show you which aluminum hull cleaners are the best ones to buy.
- Best Aluminum Boat Cleaner Reviews
- 1. Star Brite Ultimate Aluminum Cleaner
- 2. Marykate Aluminum Pontoon Cleaner
- 3. 3M Marine Aluminum Restorer and Polish
- 4. Quality Chemical Aluminum Cleaner
- 5. JJV’s Best Aluminum Cleaner
- 6. Toon-Brite Biodegradable Aluminum Cleaner
- 7. Bosh Chemical Aluma Bright Aluminum Cleaner
- 8. Bio-Kleen Aluma-Kleen
- 9. Sharkhide Aluminum Cleaner
- 10. Zing 188 WHITE Professional Aluminum Boat Cleaner
- 11. TotalBoat Aluminum Boat Wash
- 12. Boat Bling Toon Sauce Aluminum Maintainer
- Aluminum Boat Cleaner Buying Guide
- Aluminum Boat Cleaner FAQs
Best Aluminum Boat Cleaner Reviews
1. Star Brite Ultimate Aluminum Cleaner
Star Brite is an extremely well-known brand among aluminum boat owners. This product, in particular, is really good at polishing and shining boats. Not only does it polish your boats, but it also removes stains and dirt at the same time. What I especially love about this specific product variant is that it is not only used for pontoon boats, but it can also be used for canoes and other kinds of boats as well.
In fact, it can be used on various materials of boats. You can say that this is one of the most versatile aluminum cleaners you can find in the market. Aside from that, it also comes with a sprayer, making it really easy to use. And I love that it comes in a really big 64 fluid ounce size!
However, one con that I’d say about this product is that it dries too fast. You see, you’ll want your aluminum cleaner to stick to the material for a while so that the substance can really dig into the stain or oxidation.
2. Marykate Aluminum Pontoon Cleaner
One of the things that I extremely love about this aluminum cleaner is that it is really mild. You see, there are some people who are scared of using aluminum cleaners that are too strong because they may damage the aluminum material if it is used in high volumes.
That’s why this product is the one that I’d highly recommend if you’re scared of something like this happening. In fact, you can actually compare this aluminum cleaner to an aluminum pontoon cleaner homemade and made out of non-toxic materials. Aside from that, this is a pretty versatile cleaner that can be used for canoes and normal boats as well.
However, being mild does have its disadvantages. Because of its lack of power, this pontoon cleaner isn’t able to take out the heavy oxidation and stains that stick to the aluminum hull. So if you need something that’s a little bit heavy duty, then this isn’t the one that you should be getting.
3. 3M Marine Aluminum Restorer and Polish
3M is known for producing some of the best restorers and polishers in the market. Compared to other brands, I can confidently say that this variant is the best polisher in this list. The great thing about this product is that it has a very special formulation that is specifically made for aluminum. If you need to really shine your aluminum boat, then you’ll need this one at your disposal.
Another thing that I love about this formula is that it’s extremely concentrated. Because of the concentrated formula, you don’t need to use too much of it in one sitting. For that reason, you’ll be able to save quite a lot of money since you don’t need to buy so much.
However, one problem with this product is that it may not be strong enough to take on algae and extremely stubborn stains. But this actually does make sense since the formula focuses more on removing oxidation and hard water.
4. Quality Chemical Aluminum Cleaner
I know a number of people who want their aluminum boat cleaners to also be used on their other vehicles such as canoes, other boats, trailers, RVs, and even their vans. When it comes to ultimate versatility and application, this is the aluminum cleaner that you’re looking for. It can help remove stains, discoloration, and even salt corrosion from road trips.
Another great thing that I love about this product is that it consists of corrosion inhibitors. What exactly are corrosion inhibitors, anyway? They’re substances that can prevent rust from appearing on your aluminum boat or vehicle. So, if you want to totally prevent rust and corrosion, then be sure to buy this product.
One of the things that I probably don’t like about this product is that it has a very strong smell. This is the kind of smell I and a lot of people probably won’t like. I’d have to wear a mask when I apply this cleaner on my boat or my RV.
5. JJV’s Best Aluminum Cleaner
What I really love about this product is that it is totally safe and environmentally friendly. Unlike a lot of other very strong chemical aluminum cleaners, this one is totally acid-free. So, if you happen to be an environmental enthusiast of sorts, then this product will appeal to you.
It is also really easy to use since it’s mostly used for spray and rinsing. So, if you need something for a quick wash, then I’d seriously recommend this product. All you need to do is spray the cleaner on the boat, leave it there for a while, and then rinse it off. In fact, this cleaner is designed to be washed off by water easily, so you won’t have such a tough time.
As good as this product is, it doesn’t take out streaks and those sticky, stubborn stains. For that, you’ll probably need something that’s a little stronger since this cleaner kind of lacks power. But it’s a good choice if you need quick and simple cleaning.
6. Toon-Brite Biodegradable Aluminum Cleaner
Limescale buildup can be quite a problem, especially if they build up quickly. If ever your boat does have limescale, you’ll need an aluminum cleaner that is formulated to clean up this kind of substance. For that, you have the Toon Brite Biodegradable Aluminum Cleaner.
You can use this with a scrub or some steel wool should you want to take out the limescale. So, if you need to take out those pesky deposits, do keep this particular product variant in mind. Of course, another great thing about this product is that it comes in a gallon size at a pretty reasonable price. You’ll get your money’s worth with this cleaner!
The only problem with this aluminum cleaner is that it is a little bit toxic. So, even if one drop will hit soil or grass, the acid could destroy it. So, if you do plan to use this aluminum cleaner, it’s best that you keep it away from soil, grass, or plants.
7. Bosh Chemical Aluma Bright Aluminum Cleaner
What I love the most about this aluminum cleaner is how many things it can clean off. Most of the aluminum boat cleaners only focus on cleaning off oxidation, stains, and limescale. However, this one goes the extra mile and can even clean carbon, grease, oil stains, and even debris that comes from diesel exhaust smoke. It can also remove those annoying road salts from your RV. So, when it comes to the number of substances and dirt it can clean, this is most likely the best.
Aside from that, you’ll love that this cleaner works extremely fast. In most cases, you’ll need to leave the cleaner on the material and wait for the cleaner to suck out the dirt or oxidation. This usually takes around 15 minutes. For this one though, it’ll take a much shorter time, saving you a lot of time and effort when it comes to cleaning.
If there’s probably one thing I don’t really like about this cleaner, it’ll be that it doesn’t foam up. For most people, the foam is the indication that the soap can be spread and how far. Because of this, I have to use more soap than normal so that I can spread it around. I guess it does take a bit of time to get used to this kind of cleaner, but if you’re used to the traditional type, it’ll be something a bit foreign.
8. Bio-Kleen Aluma-Kleen
One of the things that most people are concerned about is discoloration or fading of the paint. You see, most of the cleaners consist of acid which can be a little bit dangerous to paint. So, if you’re a little bit iffy about your paint getting chipped off or getting fainter, then you’ll need something that’s a bit mild such as the Bio-Kleen Aluma Kleen.
Aside from the mildness of this cleaner, it’s also biodegradable and non-aerosol. This makes it really safe for use if you’re concerned about your health and the environment. Finally, it’s also really easy to use if you’re the type of person who likes quick cleaning jobs.
However, this cleaner isn’t good for high and heavy oxidation. If there is minimal oxidation, then this product will be totally fine but if there is a lot of oxidation, limescale buildup, or stains, then this one just won’t cut it.
9. Sharkhide Aluminum Cleaner
This is probably one of the most concentrated aluminum cleaners that you’ll find in the market. You’ll be able to save a lot of money if you use this because you can dilute it without really affecting its concentration. To be a little bit more specific, you can mix water with the cleaner at a ratio of 10:1 and it’ll still be fully concentrated.
Another thing that I love about this product is that it can restore old boats. In fact, I was able to use this aluminum cleaner to clean my 30-year-old aluminum fishing boat. Somehow, this one was the cleaner that was able to bring back the shine that my old boat had when I first bought it. No other cleaner was able to give such great results. And all it takes is 10 minutes of leaving the solution on your boat to work.
However, you need to be very careful when you use this solution. Because it is highly concentrated, it can be a skin irritant as well as an eye irritant. That’s why I always recommend to people who buy this product to always wear a pair of gloves and a face mask when using it. It’s definitely better to be safe than to be sorry.
10. Zing 188 WHITE Professional Aluminum Boat Cleaner
Algae can be a bit of a problem when it comes to boats and pontoons. That’s why you’ll need a solution that concentrates on taking care of algae. For this type of cleaning, you’ll need the Zing 188 White Professional Aluminum Boat Cleaner. The formula of this cleaner specializes in cleaning off not only algae but also grease and grime. It’s pretty good for limescale as well.
Another thing that I absolutely love about this product is that it’s phosphate-free. I have friends who are very particular about phosphates in their cleaners because they know the health repercussions of too much exposure to phosphates. That’s why I’d usually recommend this product to them if they’re looking for a phosphate-free aluminum boat cleaner.
Do take note though, that you cannot use too much of this boat cleaner at one time. This boat cleaner may make your aluminum finish fade. That’s why I also advise my friends to use it sparingly so that the substance won’t discolor their boat.
11. TotalBoat Aluminum Boat Wash
Just like the previously mentioned product, this one also has a formula that’s safe for use. First of all, this boat wash is chromate-free. If you’re not familiar with the health hazards of chromate, zinc chromate is usually known as a skin irritant. A lot of aluminum boat cleaners have chromate materials inside which is why a lot of them can burn your skin. But with this boat cleaner, you won’t have to deal with this problem.
Another great thing about this product is that it is non-flammable. I noticed that a lot of cleaners are flammable. That’s why boat owners have to be very careful when lighting fires near their aluminum boat cleaners. I know some people who have already gotten into some small accidents because they were carrying fire lamps near areas wherein cleaners were applied. But, you can be assured of your safety with this product.
What I probably don’t like about this product is that it cannot be used on fiberglass material. It’s supposedly a mild cleaner so I expected it to be able to clean wood and fiberglass areas. However, it seems like I’ll need to use another cleaner to clean to polish the other parts of my boat.
12. Boat Bling Toon Sauce Aluminum Maintainer
The last on the list is the Boat Bling Toon Sauce Aluminum Maintainer. The advantage of using this product is that it can remove oxidation and hard water spots. Hard water spots are normally very hard to take out, so, this cleaner is really great to have if your boat is prone to having those spots often.
Another pro of this product is that it can be used on raw or painted aluminum surfaces without you having to worry about discoloration, fading, or chipping. You can say that it’s a very safe product to have at your disposal.
Finally, it’s really easy to use since it’s pretty small and comes with a sprayer. So, if you want a quick cleaning process, this is the one to buy. Just spray some of the solutions on your boat and rinse it off with water after you let it sit for a while. After that, you can just wipe off your boat to dry.
However, do remember that this is a rather weak solution; so, don’t expect it to do well on boats that need restoration. Also, it might not do well with algae, grime, and heavy oxidation. So, I don’t recommend that you use it for those purposes. However, regular cleaning and maintenance are totally fine.
Aluminum Boat Cleaner Buying Guide
Now that we’re done listing down the best aluminum boat cleaner products, I’d like to make this review and buying guide a little more informative and comprehensive, so, you’ll learn more about how to buy the most suitable boat cleaner. In this section, we’ll tell you what factors to consider when buying a good product and give you some other facts about it.
Who is This for?
First of all, who is this product for? Well, I’d say that this product should be for anyone who owns a boat that is made out of aluminum material. This is especially true for frequent boat riders. You see, your boat will have marine deposits covering the material over time.
If you don’t maintain the boat well, then the deposits and the wear and tear will overshadow the beauty of the aluminum glossiness. That’s why I say that any person who owns an aluminum-based boat should have this type of product at his or her disposal and must know how to clean aluminum boat hull.
Features to Consider When Buying Aluminum Cleaners
Size of Aluminum Cleaner
One of the first things that you may want to consider is size. The size of the aluminum cleaner bottle you’ll want to buy depends on how much you use. This usually depends on how big the boat is and how often it needs to be maintained.
If you’re a heavy user with a big boat, you may want to get the 64 fluid ounce size, but, if you have a small boat or don’t use it too often, I think that the 32 fluid ounce size will do.
Number of Usages
Some of the aluminum cleaners in the market have multiple applications. For instance, there are some aluminum boat cleaners that can also be used on other materials like brass, steel, vinyl, and more. If you want to use your aluminum cleaner on more than just one vehicle or surface, look for the multipurpose type.
When I buy a bottle of aluminum boat cleaner, I want to make sure I won’t have a hard time using it. That’s why I always buy the ones that have sprayer attachments on them. This makes it much easier to apply, especially since my boat’s pretty big.
The thing about aluminum cleaners is that they do contain a lot of chemicals that may be harmful to humans. These toxic chemicals may hurt the eyes, burn the skin, or even do damage to the immune system.
While it is ideal that you buy the non-toxic types, you may need harsher products if the maintenance job of your boat requires it. But as a rule, I make sure to buy non-toxic ones as much as possible. If I get the natural types, it’ll be like cleaning aluminum boat with vinegar which is totally safe.
Toxic aluminum boat cleaners are not only damaging to health but also to the environment. They can contaminate water when it goes down the drain. Aside from health, protecting the environment is another reason why you should stick to non-toxic products.
However, do take a look at the situation since there may be times when you’ll have no choice but to start cleaning aluminum pontoons with muriatic acid because of poor maintenance. But if you can avoid that, try to so you can do your part in saving the environment.
Price and Brand
The last thing that you need to take into consideration is the price and the brand. I highly recommend that you only buy the ones that come from good brands, so, you can be guaranteed of effectiveness and safety.
You should really avoid brands that are too cheap because you might damage your boat further with them. That’s why our list consists of only the products in the market. As long as you choose from any one of the products we posted, you’re in good hands.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using an Aluminum Boat Cleaner
If you are a beginner at using aluminum boat cleaners, you may not know of the advantages of the product (more so the disadvantages). If you’re going to use it for your boat, then the least that you should know are the advantages and disadvantages of the product; so, you’ll know what you’re buying. We’ll list down some of the main advantages and disadvantages of a painted aluminum boat cleaner. Check them out below:
- Easily restores the luster and shine of your boat’s aluminum material
- Effective at removing oxidation from aluminum boat
- Able to prevent any stains from sticking to the boat in the future
- Can add another layer of protection for your boat that can further shield from future oxidation, corrosion, and buildup of lime deposits
- May also act as a substitute for usual cleaning products and can scrub off the dirt that sticks to the boat hull
- Can also be used for many other types of surfaces other than just aluminum
- Can also be used for other vehicles other than boats (RVs, trucks, vans, etc.)
- Most of the aluminum cleaners in the market are rather harsh on certain materials
- A lot of aluminum cleaners tend to have toxic materials in them that may be harmful to health which is why you need to be very careful when choosing your aluminum cleaners
- The reason you need to know both the advantages and disadvantages is so that you can get an objective view of how to use this product. By knowing the advantages, you’ll know what outcome to expect from using it. By knowing the disadvantages, you can determine what to watch out and be careful when you apply the cleaner on the aluminum hull.
Care and Maintenance
For those who haven’t tried cleaning using aluminum boat cleaners, here are some care and maintenance tips you need to take note of:
- When you clean your boat, you need to leave the cleaning agent on the material for at least 10 minutes before you scrub it off.
- As a general rule, you may want to clean your boat right after use. That way, oxidation, and dirt won’t build up over time.
- You need to make sure that you totally rinse off the cleaning agent in order to get that nice shine aluminum material can give.
- Use two coatings of cleaner on places that have twice as much oxidation as the other areas.
- Always wear gloves when using aluminum cleaners because they’re usually acid-based and may burn skin.
Aluminum Boat Cleaner FAQs
Even after I’ve provided you with reviews, a buying guide, and some important facts about using aluminum boat cleaners and cleaning aluminum boat hulls, there might still be some unanswered questions that you may have at the top of your head. For that purpose, I made a FAQ section to help answer these questions. Let’s take a look below:
How to Clean an Aluminum Boat?
The best way to clean aluminum boat is to start by spraying the boat and rinsing it afterward. This is the method that’s used if the dirt and limescale buildup isn’t too bad yet.
In order to do this, cover the entire aluminum hull with a whole coating of aluminum cleaner and let it stay there for around 10 minutes (or more depending on the amount of oxidation). Let it foam up after ten minutes, and then, rinse off the cleaner completely with your hose. After you do this, the shine should come back.
Now, if the stains and the limescale buildup is too stubborn for a normal rinse to handle, then you may need to scrub the hull after applying the cleaner. In order to do this, apply a coating of aluminum cleaner again, then get yourself a scrub and start scrubbing off the cleaner.
Of course, you need to leave it on for 10 minutes first before you start scrubbing. Once you finish scrubbing, wait for another few minutes (maybe around 5 minutes), then rinse the aluminum material. After thorough rinsing, then you can use a clean cloth to dry it.
How to Clean Algae Off an Aluminum Boat?
Having a buildup of algae on your boat is pretty common since your boat will be in the water most of the time. If there are algae present, I recommend that you get the aluminum cleaners that specialize in killing off algae.
You’ll be able to see in the product features whether or not your aluminum cleaner can kill algae. Once you get the one that can kill algae, just follow the steps that I’ve provided above in order to take out the algae. In most cases, you’ll probably need to scrub off the algae.
How do You Remove Oxidation from an Aluminum Boat?
This really depends on the amount of oxidation that’s found on the boat. If ever the oxidation buildup isn’t so bad, then a thorough rinse with the aluminum cleaner will be enough. But, if ever the oxidation buildup is pretty stubborn, then you may need to give it a good scrub. In any case, using a good aluminum boat cleaner won’t require you to do so much work since the solution effectively takes down limescale buildup.
Also, the amount of buildup may determine how much of the solution you’ll need to use in one sitting. Obviously, the more the buildup, the more solution you’ll need to use. In any case, just assess the situation first and follow the steps that I provided in the first FAQ above.
Can you Polish an Aluminum Boat?
Yes, you can!
However, experience tells me that not all aluminum boat cleaners can polish well. That’s why you need to choose the one that has extra polishing power.
When I want to polish my boat, I usually buy a starbrite aluminum cleaner or a 3M aluminum cleaner. In my experience, these two brands carry some of the best aluminum polishers in the market. Of course, it also does pay to read the product features completely, so, you’ll know how good these cleaners can polish your boat.
If you go back to the list above, you’ll see that I’ve mentioned some products that specialize in polishing boats. For those who need to polish and restore the shine of their boats, I recommend that you buy the products above that focus on polishing.
What is The Warranty Policy?
Since this isn’t a product that wears out over time, then there really isn’t any warranty policy, such as most liquids. So, when you buy this product, don’t think too much of the warranty since you can use it for a long time. Besides, you’ll be finishing your cleaner really fast if you’re the type of person who likes riding your boat every so often.
I can say that aluminum boat cleaners are very important to boat owners simply because it not only helps bring back the shine of your boat, but it also helps maintain the boat so that it can last longer.
Sure, a lot of people may tell you that they can use a homemade aluminum boat cleaner to achieve the same results, but there is no guarantee of its effectiveness. As an enthused boat owner, I like guarantees and having the best aluminum boat cleaner at my disposal can guarantee good results.
So, if you’re someone like me, choose from only the best products in the market. And use my buying guide to get the one that’s most suitable for you. You surely won’t regret your choice if you stick to the best brands that the market has to offer.