Boat cleaners are the bane of most boaters life. With so many on the market to choose from, do they really do what they say they will?

I am not a huge fan of boat cleaning if I’m being honest. Frankly it’s one of my least favourite things to do, next to fishing a lost bolt out of a hard to reach oily bilge or dealing with a blocked marine toilet. There’s no way around any of these less enjoyable tasks. We can’t wave a magic wand and they’re miraculously done. But we can find tools to help us get it done with the least amount of fuss or effort. Boats are especially tricky things to clean due to the plethora of mixed materials, variable surfaces, hard to reach areas and lack of ventilation in some cases. So I’ve picked out some of the better products on the market that are less likely to give off toxic fumes, less likely to harm the environment or ourselves in the pursuit of a clean boat.

Grunt Boat Cleaner

Comes in 500ml and 1 litre bottles
Suitable for use on fiberglass, gel coat, metal, and painted surfaces
Can be applied using a spray bottle or brush
Contains biodegradable ingredients

Reasons To Buy
Powerful cleaning action, versatile for virtually every surface, contains biodegradable ingredients and is less environmentally harmful than some other products on the market, gel/thick liquid like consistency means it can be painted on to all surface angles

Reasons to Avoid
Some may find the smell a bit strong during use. ( I personally don’t mind it but someone else working alongside me said it had a whiff)

A little bit goes a long way. I’ve been using Grunt cleaner on a project boat (Rustler 31) that was absolutely filthy inside and out.
Simply pour a bit of Grunt into a container (I used an old plastic container that once had supermarket pasta snacks) and using a paint brush, daub it neat onto any surface for a deep clean. Leave it for a few minutes and wipe or sponge it away. Surfaces come up clean and visibly stain removed. Some stubborn stains have needed a few extra sessions with the cleaner to make them fade away. But mostly it’s one and done.

It’s recommended that you wear gloves and eye protection. Typically I am that luddite that wears neither. So far no harm has been done to my skin when I’ve accidentally got it on me and wiped it straight off. It states clearly on the packaging that it could be a skin irritant though so user beware, use gloves if you’re going to be getting it on your hands.

It effortlessly removes stubborn stains, algae buildup, and grime from various boat surfaces, including fiberglass, gel coat, metal, and painted surfaces. Whether you’re dealing with waterline stains, oxidation, or general dirt accumulation, Grunt has handled it all on my old scruffy Rustler.

Grunt Boat Cleaner is formulated using biodegradable ingredients. This makes it a safer choice for use in marine environments than many of the other toxic hazards we use to clean boats.

A little goes a long way too. I think one large bottle has done an entire boat from top to bottom, twice.

Overall, I really like Grunt Boat Cleaner and recommend it as a go-to product for a multitude of cleaning jobs. Its powerful cleaning action, versatility, ease of use, and environmentally friendly formulation make it my top choice of cleaner.

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Starbrite Ultimate All-Purpose Boat Cleaner

easy refill 22 fl. oz. spray container
Cleans fiberglass, vinyl, plastic, metal and inflatable boats
Phosphate-free, safe for use on or near the water; runoff won’t harm sealife or cause algae blooms

Reasons To Buy
Easy to use, simply spray on, wait a minute and wipe off

Reasons to Avoid
for really stubborn stains, you’ll need to repeat the cleaning process a few times.

Star brite is a name synonymous with keeping boats clean in all sorts of ways. There’s a load of different products from this company on the market and I have a range in my cleaning cupboard, especially mold and mildew basher, but that’s a story for another buyers guide.

Star brite’s ULTIMATE Xtreme Clean is formulated with the latest technology ingredients to be the toughest crud-buster ever. (so they say)

Chelating agents attack bug bits, bird deposits, and grease, breaking the bond that holds them to the surface so they can be wiped away without heavy scrubbing. Xtreme Clean does not contain caustic, dangerous chemicals that can damage surfaces. It’s safe for use on all metal, fiberglass, plastic, chrome, stainless, wrapped, leather and rubber surfaces.

To use it, simply spray the area to be treated, then use a sponge, brush or cloth to spread Ultimate Xtreme Clean evenly. Allow to work in for 15-30 seconds before lightly wiping or brushing. Rinse with fresh or salt water. Stubborn stains may require a repeat application that is allowed to soak in for about a minute followed by lightly scrubbing and then rinsing clean.

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303 Marine Multi-Surface Cleaner

Approved by Sunbrella as a suitable cleaner for canvas and vinyl.

Reasons To Buy
targeted toward canvas and upholstery cleaning duties, good at removing some stains

Reasons to Avoid
if you’re looking to remove stains from gel coat, then you’ll need to look for a different cleaner

Safe for all types of upholstery and vinyl, the marine version of 303® Multi-Surface delivers robust cleaning agents designed to counteract the damaging conditions of sea and sand. Soaked-in stains disappear within minutes and discolored surfaces are noticeably less discoloured. The manufacturer recommends to couple this with 303® Marine Fabric Guard.

To use: Spray on spot until wet. Agitate with a medium-soft brush or wet cloth. Wipe up stain and excess cleaner with a damp cloth, rinsing out cloth in clean water as necessary. Let fabric dry. For heavier soils, increase agitation and soak time. Repeat if necessary.

Useful to clean upholstery, canvas, vinyl, rubber, or fiberglass.

It can be used for various cleaning tasks, from spot cleaning upholstery to deep cleaning canvas covers, making it a convenient all-in-one solution for boat maintenance.
Effectively lifts dirt, stains, and mildew without the need for excessive scrubbing.

Made with a non-toxic and biodegradable formula. It contains no harsh chemicals or bleach.

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Shurhold Serious Marine Cleaner

Available in various sizes, including spray bottles and larger containers for bulk use.
Suitable for use on fiberglass, metal, plastic, and other hard surfaces.
Can be applied using a spray bottle or brush.
Contains a biodegradable formula, safe for the environment

Reasons To Buy
Versatile cleaner for all surface types inside and outside the boat

Reasons to Avoid
may be too abrasive for delicate surfaces. Try on an inconspicuous surface first.

Yacht Brite Serious Marine Cleaner is safe and effective on firbeglass and gel coat, exterior surfaces, Stainless steel and metal railings, teak, carpeting, interior cabin surfaces, vinyl seating, canvas canopies, engine and bilge degreasing/cleaning… this cleaner does it all!

This one might need a test patch before use to check it isn’t too concentrated or abrasive for some surfaces.

Despite its heavy-duty cleaning capabilities, Shurhold Serious Marine Cleaner features a biodegradable formula.

A little goes a long way with its concentrated formula. This means that you can dilute the cleaner as needed, making it economical for regular boat maintenance.

Applying Shurhold Serious Marine Cleaner is a straightforward process. Simply spray or brush the cleaner onto the surface, allow it to penetrate for a few moments, and then rinse it off with water.

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International Super Cleaner


Bottle size: 500ml
Super Cleaner is a highly concentrated cleaner. Removes wax, oil and contamination effectively. Suitable for hand and high pressure machine washing. Degreases and cleans with no damage to gelcoat or paintwork. Always use before waxing. * Very effective degreasing when used at higher concentrations * Easy to use * Use before painting or waxing * Also suitable for general cleaning on the boat, bilge/engine or car * Biodegradable PRODUCT INFORMATION Colour YMB820 Specific Gravity 0.98 Volume Solids 30% Mix Ratio Light/medium cleaning  4 to 8 black caps to 4 litres water. Heavier cleaning  use undiluted.

Reasons To Buy
Easy to use, effective cleaning, versatile, non-toxic formula

Reasons to Avoid
this is more of a degreaser type, so if you’re looking to remove fibreglass staining, you might need a different cleaner.

Manufactured by AkzoNobel, a leading name in marine coatings and solutions, this cleaner is engineered to tackle a broad spectrum of cleaning tasks aboard boats, from routine maintenance to stubborn stain removal.

It almost effortlessly eliminates dirt, grime, grease, and salt residue from various boat surfaces. Its formula helps to give your boat a thorough clean without causing damage or abrasion to delicate materials.

It is compatible with a wide range of boat surfaces, including fiberglass, gel coat, metal, vinyl, and painted surfaces. Whether it’s the hull, deck, cockpit, or interior, the Super Cleaner is versatile.

To use: spray or brush the cleaner onto the surface, allow it to sit for a little while then rinse it off with water. Minimal scrubbing is required.

International Super Cleaner contains biodegradable ingredients that pose no harm to marine ecosystems.

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Aurora Boat Cleaner

Bottle Size 450 ml or 1 gallon Jug.

Reasons To Buy
Aurora Boat Cleaner delivers impressive cleaning results, effectively removing dirt, grime, algae, and other tough stains from boat surfaces. Its potent formula ensures thorough cleaning without causing damage to gel coat, fiberglass, or painted surfaces.

Reasons to Avoid
none that we can see, other than a slight whiff like all of the others.

This cleaner is suitable for use on a variety of boat surfaces, including hulls, decks, fiberglass, metal, vinyl, and rubber. Whether it’s cleaning the exterior hull or detailing the interior cabin.

Applying Aurora Boat Cleaner is a straightforward process. Simply spray or brush the cleaner onto the surface, allow it to penetrate for a few moments, and then rinse it off with water. Minimal scrubbing is required, saving time and effort during the cleaning process.

Aurora Marine contains biodegradable ingredients that are safe for marine ecosystems according to the label.

In addition to cleaning, Aurora Boat Cleaner offers UV protection for boat surfaces, helping to prevent fading, oxidation, and deterioration caused by prolonged sun exposure.

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