How to Clean an Aluminum Boat Hull With Bleachby James Rutter
Aluminum-hulled boats require regular cleaning to preserve their appearance and eliminate corroding elements. Water, algae, bacteria and other marine life, such as barnacles, can all cause damage and discoloration to a boat's aluminum hull. While aluminum does not rust, the hull can acquire a greenish coloration from algae, and bacteria can penetrate the hull's finish. Bleach is a common household product that can kill algae and bacteria and remove corrosion from the hull, restoring the boat's appearance.
Take your boat out of the water and dry dock it away from lakes or rivers if you plan on using bleach on the hull. While you can clean your boat while it remains in the water, the "Indiana Clean Marina Guidebook" reports that bleach can kill marine life and harm the ecosystem of a lake or river. Make sure that the docking area is well-ventilated so that you do not breathe in bleach fumes while cleaning your boat.
Put on a pair of latex safety gloves. Remove any large pieces of debris, seaweed and dirt by pulling it away from the boat. Dispose of this debris in your garbage.
Scrape away any barnacles, large clumps of algae or caked-on grime with a putty knife. Take the latex gloves off and set them aside.
Wipe down the entire boat with water by squirting it with a hose. Alternatively, fill a bucket with water and wipe down the entire hull with a sponge.
Put on old clothes, the safety goggles and the latex gloves. Bleach can damage your eyes and skin and it will leave permanent stains on any clothing it contacts.
Mix warm water and bleach in a 4-to-1 ratio in a bucket. Dip the nylon brush into the water and then brush one area of the hull in a circular motion until you have removed any algae buildup from the hull. Repeat this process on other sections of the hull until you have removed all of the algae from the boat.
Dip an old rag in the water-bleach solution and scrub a section of the boat in a circular motion until you have removed any discoloration from that section. Water, algae and contaminants in the water can give aluminum a greenish hue. Repeat this process on other sections of the hull until you have removed any discoloration from the entire hull.
Squirt the entire hull with water from a hose to remove any bleach, or wipe down the entire hull with a sponge and clean water. Long-term exposure to bleach can cause aluminum to oxidize, leaving a whitish crust or tint on the surface.
Things You'll Need
- Water or hose
- Nylon brush
- Latex gloves
- Safety goggles
- Old clothes
Since 2005, James Rutter has worked as a freelance journalist for print and Internet publications, including the “News of Delaware County,” “Main Line Times” and Broad Street Review. As a former chemist, college professor and competitive weightlifter, he writes about science, education and exercise. Rutter earned a B.A. in philosophy and biology from Albright College and studied philosophy and cognitive science at Temple University.