Cleaning aluminum boat with vinegar: How to do it correctly

Cleaning aluminum boat with vinegar

It’s fun to take your boat out into the sea and enjoy riding the waves – until your vessel gets signs of oxidation and mineral deposits.

As a boat owner, you have to take the responsibility of cleaning the boat. One of the most popular cleaning agents is the humble but versatile vinegar found in every household.

Even though there are many cleansers available, cleaning aluminum boats with vinegar is standard. That’s because it’s cheap and easy to use. However, what’s the best method of cleaning an aluminum boat with vinegar? You shouldn’t directly put the acidic liquid on the metal, after all!

Let’s find out the best and correct way of cleaning aluminum boats with vinegar.

Cleaning aluminum boat with vinegar:

Does vinegar clean aluminum?

You already know that white vinegar, a common cooking ingredient in our house, is a powerful and inexpensive cleaner.

From old pennies to key bowls, vinegar works like magic on every metal item in the house.

This is as it has an acidic nature and it reacts with salt in the form of oxidation or mineral deposits on metals.

Vinegar is known to work really well on aluminum. This metal has a reactive base, and it acts aggressively when the acid touches it for neutralization. 

This process counteracts all the build-up and loosens the dirt on the surface of the metal. Thus, vinegar is effective in cleaning aluminum and reducing discoloration.

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How to use vinegar to clean an aluminum boat

Cleaning an aluminum boat with vinegar without causing any harm requires you to make a solution with water and vinegar.

You need to spray this solution on the boat surface using a spray bottle and wipe it off using a clean towel.

You can also use a paste of water and baking powder for the same. And make sure not to leave the solution there for too long.

Steps of cleaning an aluminum boat with vinegar: What is the best way to clean an aluminum boat?

Steps to clean aluminum boat with vinegar

Step 1: Use soapy water to clean dirty aluminum

Clean the surface of the boat with mild soap and some water. This will help remove dirt from the surface.

Step 2: Mix water and vinegar

Now, mix vinegar with water in a ratio of 1:1. For best results, use distilled water. Even if that’s not available, don’t use water from the sea. It’s best to use warm water.

Step 3: Spray the vinegar-water solution

Transfer the mixture into a spraying bottle and spray the solution on the boat in the section that you want to clean. Let the mixture sit for 60 seconds, so the grime on the aluminum surface attaches to the acid. 

Step 4: Wipe to clean the dirt away

After about a minute, wipe it away with a towel. You can rub upwards and downwards to clean the dirt. If you still find some stains, using circular motions can help.   

If you notice stubborn mineral deposits, you can do the following –

  1. Boil the water and vinegar solution first.
  2. Next, pour this solution on the affected area of the boat’s surface.
  3. Then, leave it for about an hour.
  4. Scrub it before washing or wiping away the solution and the loosened dirt.

You can also use another way of cleaning aluminum boats with vinegar. Make a cleaning paste using baking soda and vinegar, as suggested by none other than the American Boating Association. To use this method, you have to –

  1. put together 3 parts of baking soda and 1 part of vinegar and mix them.
  2. Then, apply this paste to the boat with a sponge.
  3. Scrub well to loosen the dirt.
  4. Rinse everything off with soap water.

What is the best cleaner for aluminum boats in the market (other than vinegar)?

Vinegar works really well when it comes to cleaning aluminum boats or any aluminum item as such. However, vinegar may fail to remove all kinds of marks and stains.

To handle more stubborn stains, there are other solutions, including market-bought cleaners.

You can keep it on the boat and give the vessel a quick clean when needed. Plus, it won’t require you to mix vinegar in anything and create a mess.

One of the most popular answers to your boat-cleaning problem is the Boat Bling Hot Sauce.

It is one of the most effective cleaning sprays available in the market. Interestingly, one of its main ingredients is vinegar. But the key component in it is the Carnuba wax.

This product can eliminate hard-to-remove stains and marks – without hurting the metal surface or the waxy coating on the top. This spray manages to leave a wax sealant on the boat and make the vessel shinier. You just have to spray this product on the boat and wipe.

There are also other options that you can look into. These include the following –

  1. boat wax,
  2. commercial cleaning solutions,
  3. homemade bleach solution,
  4. elbow grease with steel wool, and
  5. power washer.

What vinegar won’t clean?

Even though cleaning aluminum boats with vinegar is a popular choice as a cleanser, there’s only so much you can cleanse with this acid. Vinegar generally has zero effect on algae and barnacles growing on your aluminum boat.

It also has minimal impact on salt deposits and mildew stains.

Sometimes, a boat may develop scuff marks. Vinegar is no good at removing these, either.

In such cases, you will have to use more powerful cleaners. You might have to resort to specialized solutions or power washers to get the job done.

Final thoughts on cleaning aluminum boat with vinegar

To sum it up, it can be said that vinegar, when diluted with water or mixed with baking soda, can be a powerful agent for cleaning a boat made of aluminum. Cleaning an aluminum boat with vinegar means you don’t have to pay substantial maintenance costs.

However, you must ensure that vinegar shouldn’t be used on the boat’s metal surface and kept there for too long. You also need to remember that not all types of dirt will be removed by vinegar. Then you might need to consider more powerful cleaning solutions.

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cleaning aluminum boat with vinegar