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When it’s time to work on your boat, some common items found around the house can save time and money and are readily available. Many work as well as high priced, specialty items.

TOOTHPASTE
A very fine abrasive that cleans without scratching. Use white because pastes with color added could leave stains. Coat a stubborn stain on a fiberglass deck with toothpaste, let set a few minutes than scrub with a soft brush. Try it to remove spots on vinyl tops.

Rub it briskly on glass lenses on boat lights to remove foggy appearing films without leaving deep scratches. Use it on dull and tarnished stainless and make it sparkle without scratching. Do not perform these tips in direct sunlight or on hot surfaces.

NAIL POLISH
Moisture can penetrate wood resulting in ugly dark discolorations if a varnished finish gets chipped or scratched. It will also cause it to peel. A light coat or two of clear nail polish, filling the chipped area, creates an unnoticeable seal that will protect the wood and prevent staining. Clear nail polish on a snag or small hole in a fiberglass screen will prevent unraveling or further deterioration.

Small screws that vibrate loose can be hard to replace. A coat of nail polish before re-installing them will hold the screw tightly. Replace the screws before the polish dries.

LIQUID DISH SOAP
If your glass or Plexiglas windows have a haze that window cleaner won’t remove, mix a few drops of Dawn or Joy in a pail of water and wash the haze away with a rag, sponge or brush. Rinse with clear water and wipe or squeegee dry. Clean Plexiglas windshields and gauge covers without etching like many glass cleaners do. Dish soap also works well to clean up oil spills while working around the motor.

LEMON PLEDGE
A coat of Pledge keeps vinyl dashboards and trims soft and pliable, even after long exposure to sunlight. It helps stop cracking and discoloration and leaves a pleasant order. Wipe off consoles and instruments, which always seem to be covered with fingerprints and use it to clean your outboard motor cover. It may even restore brittle and cloudy isinglass windows and restore them to a clear, flexible state.

COOKING OIL
A small container of plain cooking oil can be used as lubricant on doors or deck hinges. Remove black grease marks from decks or even some carpets. Rub clear cooking oil into the grease and immediately blot off with a clean rag then clean with soap and water. Wipe out window guides on sliding window channels with cooking oil leaving a light film on them so they will slide smoothly.

NYLON STOCKING
Have a partial can of paint that’s lumpy and will not apply evenly? Stretch a nylon stocking over an empty can and strain the old paint through the stocking and mix thoroughly. It can be used as a temporary V belt on your I/O or inboard engine to allow you to get back to shore. Loosen the belt adjustment and place the stocking around the pulley, tie a tight knot in the stocking and tighten the tension. Run your boat at a moderate speed with this temporary repair. Once ashore be sure to replace the belt.

I’m sure you know of items that we have not listed. Leave a Reply with the common household items you use to help maintain your boat.

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7 Responses to Household Items Good For Boat Maintenance

  1. Ed C. says:

    The brownish stains on my white gelcoat caused by the iron from my well-fed sprinklers can be removed easily using Sno-Bowl toilet cleaner. Use rubber gloves, full strength and a rag. It’s works like magic.

  2. Juan says:

    To remove those brownish stains on you hull Bar Keepers in powder form mixed with a little water to form a paste will take them out without much effort, I simply apply it with a sponge and let it sit for a minute and rinse with water. When dry I follow up with polish and wax.

  3. Jay says:

    avoid using tilex or other bleaches on the stitching on seats as it may cause the stitching material to disintigrate

  4. Randal says:

    The Mr Clean Magic Eraser is one of the best household inventions for boaters. It is great at getting stains off Gelcoat, vinyl seats, plastics etc. Try it and you won’t go back to old methods.

  5. vicp says:

    Comet sink cleanser label claims its ok on fiberglass, but I have not tried it.
    Baking soda has many uses and believe it is environmentally ok. Does great job getting rid of cat litter box odors, so may work well if boat has fish odors.

  6. Jeremy G says:

    Tilex cleaner took YEARS of mold and dirt of the vinyl seats & trim in seconds! I tried everything and nothing worked, but this made the white seats bright white again and with NO real scrubbing!!

  7. james mcguiness says:

    I find soft scrub with bleach good in tough stains

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