man cleaning the underside of a yacht

How to Clean the Interiors and Exteriors of a Yacht

Having a yacht that’s regularly maintained is a satisfying aspect of boat ownership. For many owners, there’s nothing more enjoyable than sailing the high seas or cruising around in a beautiful marine vessel that’s in tip-top condition.

But of course, in order to have a well-maintained boat, you need to invest time and effort into yacht cleaning. Keeping your boat looking good and clean isn’t just a matter of vanity too — it’s a key part of basic boat maintenance. That’s why knowing how to clean a yacht, or even just looking for a provider of yacht cleaning services, is of utmost importance to any boat owner.

In this article, we discuss yacht cleaning tips and tricks, particularly for the interior and exterior parts of your water vessel.

The Importance of Yacht Cleaning

Have you ever noticed signs of rusting on your boat after a day on the water? That’s inevitable because a day of cruising can be tough on any water vessel. Yacht cleaning every day seems over the top, but wiping down the varnished teak with boat cleaning supplies after a day of sailing is essential. Why? Because salt may instantly start to corrode on your yacht and form pox, which will damage your boat if it’s not washed away.

Similarly, if you leave salt on your boat, it will cause pitting and chalking. The crystals from the saltwater will scratch and cause abrasions on your boat, leaving it full of deterioration and rust.

Of course, boat maintenance doesn’t start and end at yacht exterior cleaning. You need to clean and maintain the interiors too! Yacht interior cleaning may not be an obvious concern for those boat owners, but it’s an essential part of yacht ownership. With regular boat interior cleaning, you help prevent rust and the decay of surfaces and components. This type of decay can be especially serious when your vessel is parked regularly in bodies of salt water. Without proper care, constant exposure to saltwater can accelerate a watercraft’s yacht’s deterioration.


How to Clean a Yacht: Interior Surfaces and Components

The interiors of yachts are complex spaces, especially ones beautifully handcrafted with intricate details. But unlike a house, they may take up a lot of abuse. For instance, the carpets are trampled on and the furnishings are constantly blasted with exhaust fumes and salt-infused air.

So, how exactly do you keep your boat’s interiors smelling fresh and looking pristine? Here are some yacht cleaning tips and tricks:

Tackle mold and odor

One of the major problems with yacht interiors is odor. While there are several ways to prevent it, the best way is to keep your bilges dry and clean.

A great solution is to set up self-draining dehumidifier systems in the shower or galley. If you want something more cost-effective, you can get some charcoal bricks, put them in several plastic containers with holes in the lids, and then place them in strategic locations throughout your yacht. Charcoal is known to neutralize odors and they’re much safer to use than chemical odor neutralizers.

You need to take control of mold too. Mildew remover sprayed on a rag, or even just disinfecting wipes, are a good start. You can wipe them on surfaces to ensure mold doesn’t develop.

Protect interior finishes

When it comes to interior yacht cleaning products, it’s best to avoid harsh chemicals and limit the number of products you use. For instance, don’t use a different cleaner for each task. If you need to disinfect multiple areas, do a simple wipe-down using antibacterial wipes. However, keep in mind that while these wipes are good for hard surfaces, they don’t belong on varnished, high-gloss surfaces.

An important part of our boat cleaning tips: Be cautious when cleaning the satin finishes of wooden surfaces. Aggressive rubbing will gradually break down the satin’s traits. This will leave you with a shiny or lightly sanded finish on what was once a matte surface. Don’t use harsh cleaners as these will hurt your finishes over time. For instance, spray cleaners may be incredibly effective in removing dirt and grime, but they will eventually dull the finish. Lastly, make sure you always use microfiber towels in cleaning surfaces as they are less likely to scratch.

growth on the bottom of a yacht

How to Clean a Boat: Exterior Surfaces and Components

Now that you know how to clean a boat’s interior, it’s time for exterior yacht cleaning tips and tricks. By regularly maintaining the external parts of your boat, you can keep it looking beautiful until the time you decide on a yacht exterior refit.

Here are the items you need to take note of:

  • Engines
  • Hull and gel-coat surfaces
  • Teak

Let’s go through each of them.


A yacht’s engines need regular cleaning, whether you have an outboard or an inboard powering your boat. If you have outboard engines, start by waxing the cowl and then washing them down with water and soap after every use. The surfaces are similar to automotive finishes, so treat them as you would your car. That said, never hit an outboard cowl with an abrasive bristle brush. It’s best to use wash mitts or microfiber cloth.

However, keep in mind that there are electrical wires and sensitive components that can be damaged by harsh chemicals and cleaners. That’s why most boat owners leave engine cleaning to the pros at Marine Care.

Hull and gel-coat surfaces

Hull sides and other gel-coated surfaces require maintenance and serious protective coverings to prevent oxidation and stay shiny. This starts by applying a base coat of two layers of paste wax. After each cruise or sailing trip, you also need to wash down the boat with soap that contains liquid wax.


To regularly clean teak, simple scrub-downs with soapy water are the best way. But this will only get you by for so long. If your teak begins to blacken and look mottled, you will need to use a teak cleaner that’s acid-based.

One of the most important yacht cleaning tips: remove the teak from the yacht before you use these cleaners. The acids will dull and damage the paint, metals and gel coat of your vessel.

yacht on a dock

Keep Your Yacht’s Exteriors and Interiors Clean with Marine Care

You’ve invested a lot of money and love into your yacht. With regular yacht maintenance and cleaning, you can avoid costly repairs in the future, preserve the life of your boat, and make sure it stays looking and running great should you ever decide to sell it in the future.

At Marine Care, we understand that regular yacht maintenance and cleaning isn’t as easy as enjoying the sea breeze, which is why we offer a variety of yacht cleaning services to keep your watercraft spic and span all year round. We take away the chores and headaches of cleaning your yacht by offering them at very competitive rates, no matter the level of service needed.

For more information and inquiries, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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