Pontoon Care

Tips for easy boat cleaning

Published in the June 2021 Issue March 2024 Feature Seth Harper

Performing a deep clean on your boat is a chore. A necessary chore, but a chore nonetheless. But it’s also my favorite chore because of what it represents: an upcoming trip out on the water. Cleaning your pontoon or deck boat doesn’t have to be a hassle if you have the correct equipment and know-how. I’ll take you through the products and tips I find most helpful when cleaning my boat.

Portable Cleaning

Pontoons are large and outlets can be limited when moving around the boat as you’re trying to get to each and every inch of it. Having portable cleaning supplies is vital and a huge time-saver. The SPX3000 XTREAM (www.sunjoextream.com) can help with this, allowing you to freely walk around the boat.

This SunJoe Product provides cleaning power on wheels that allows you to move around your pontoon or deck boat while getting the dirt and grime off using a detergent foam cannon that shoots up to 15 feet through a 34-inch spray wand with all the bells and whistles to help you get a proper cleaning. With four different removable spray tips for a variety of cleaning options, you receive a utility bristle brush and a wheel and rim brush that help get in those hard-to-reach spots.

Deep Cleaning

While using a spray wand saves a lot of time and sweat, I’ve found that sometimes I need to use a little elbow grease and really get in there myself. To do this, I’ve found using the Hybrid Wash Mitt from Meguiar’s (www.meguiars.com) brings good results.

This product features a two-sided, color differentiated feature that helps users conveniently identify which side to use. The “wash” side is constructed with chenille microfiber to hold onto suds while gently lifting away dirt and grime to minimize swirling. The “wax” side is a plush microfiber designed to spread out wax products evenly for maximum water beading protection while you wash.

Meguiar’s also offers a variety of washing and waxing products to use along with the Hybrid Wash Mitt, including the Rinse Free Wash-N-Wax, which removes dirt while leaving behind a nice shine. It’s safe to use on gelcoat, clear coat, fiberglass, glass, plastics, instrument panels and polished metals while being easy to use on wet or dry surfaces.

The multi-use function of the Hybrid Wash Mitt is what draws me in, and while any cleaning cloth will do, I enjoy the extra comfort that a mitt provides.

Easy Cleaning

There are not a lot of carpeted pontoons these days, but there are still seats with deep crevices. You don’t need a large vacuum to get to these spots when a small, handheld vacuum gets the job done.

The BISSELL AeroSlim Handheld Vacuum (www.bissell.com) is designed to quickly pick up unexpected messes. It’s cordless, which gives you the freedom to move around as needed without restraint. You can customize your clean by using the included 2-in-1 Crevice Tool & Dusting Brush, which conveniently stores right on the vacuum's storage stand, so you always know where it is. It’s small, easy to store and can charge anywhere with a USB port.

Back-Saving Cleaning

A clean deck completes the look of a boat, but getting the deck as clean as you want can be a back killer. On my hands and knees scrubbing hard leaves me with days of pain. A proper deck brush can be a lifesaver and for me, someone who has a body that seems to hurt constantly, it’s a necessary item.

Star brite (www.starbrite.com) offers their Telescoping Deck Brush as a solution to this. It’s an adjustable brush that can shrink to 6 feet long when in storage and 3 feet long when in use. The brush itself is 8 inches long and has Star prene fibers for pristine decking cleaning.

To go along with the deck brush, Star brite also offers Nonskid Deck Cleaner that removes dirt and leaves a protective coating. It doesn’t require hard scrubbing, once again making our lives easier while cleaning.

Although I haven’t personally used these items, based on my experience in deck cleaning, the combination of these two items would create the easiest and most complete cleaning experience.


You wouldn’t play tennis with a bowling ball and you wouldn’t open a bank account with Monopoly money. Using the right equipment saves time – time that should be spent out on the water. It also saves stress and might make the kid you’ve paid to clean your pontoon a little more likely to do it right.

Although cleaning more often turns my cleaning time into shorter and easier experiences, I like to change the old saying from, “Measure twice, cut once,” to “Clean once, enjoy more.”

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