May 2006

Ship Shape

By Margie Anderson

Itís hard to be humble when youíve got the snazziest rig on the ramp. Boats and RVs are big investments, and keeping them looking sharp is good sense.

You want to be careful, especially when cleaning your boat, because you donít want to introduce any hazardous chemicals into the water.

Wiping down your boat as soon as you get it off the ramp is the best way to keep it free from deposits and scum that could build up over time. A lot of guys keep a spray bottle of white vinegar on hand because it works to keep hard-water stains away and shines up the fiberglass.

One of the things that we use on our boats is called "Buff This!" boat polish. It does a super job getting all the watermarks and scum off the boat and leaves it looking as if it just came off the showroom floor.

Itís safe to use on almost any surface, too. You can get Buff This! online at

Even if all you do is a quick wipe-down, itís better than nothing. If you want to leave the rest until you get home, there are a bunch of different cleaners on the market.

First off, go to the automotive section of your local big-box store and buy a couple of those fake chamois cloths that come rolled up in a tube. Those things are perfect for wiping down the boat because they do a fantastic job and can be put back in the tube damp with no problems.

If time on the road has done a job on your RV or boat, try some Safe-T-Solve cleaner/degreaser on it. This is a fast-acting, water-based cleaner that is biodegradable.

It removes heavy grease and oil, adhesives, glue, inks and even marker, so it really cuts through the road tar. Just spray it on and then either wipe or rinse it off ó itíll even get those yucky bugs off.

The same company that makes Safe-T-Solve also makes a live-well cleaner that removes bloodstains and odors, along with mold, mildew, and algae stains. Just mix it with water and circulate the pump or sponge out the box.

I knew a guy who accidentally left some fish in the live well for quite a while, and this stuff even got that smell out. You can find all the Iosso products at

If your boat has gone beyond what simple cleaning can do, maybe you need some Fiberglass Reconditioner. This stuff removes oxidation and chalking, water-lines, spots, and all those things that make your boat look old and nasty.

It also leaves a protective coating, so you donít even have to wax over it, and it wonít cause problems if you need to re-finish later.

There are plenty of metal polishes on the market, so keeping your props and other metal surfaces looking new is pretty easy. Just make sure you read the directions carefully, and if there are any harmful chemicals, be sure to use the metal polish far from the water and remove all of it before re-launching the boat.

If your cooler or the fridge in your RV gets smelly, Iosso Cooler Cleaner will take care of the problem. Itíll clean thermos bottles and plastic dishes, too.

Itís biodegradable and it comes as a concentrated powder.

To keep your cooler and fridge clean, leave the door or lid propped open when not in use. Letting the air circulate will keep bad smells from developing.

To absorb odors, try an old nylon stocking with some activated charcoal in it, or use an open dish of baking soda.