How to Clean and Wax Your Non-Skid Boat Deck

One of the most challenging areas to keep clean on any boat is the non-skid boat deck. Even so, a clean non-skid surface is crucial to ensure the safety of everyone on board. Without the traction provided by non-skid, a wet deck can lead to poor footing, slips, injuries and even man-overboard scenarios.

If non-skid boat decks go uncleaned, dirt and sludge can build up in the many crevices, decreasing the effectiveness of the non-skid surface. Caked-on dirt and grime can be abrasive when foot traffic grinds it into the deck, wearing out your non-skid surface prematurely. 

And, of course, what boat enthusiast doesn't enjoy stepping onto a clean, shiny, sparkling boat? Our helpful guide will teach you how to clean and wax your non-skid boat deck.

How to Clean and Wax Your Non-Skid Boat Deck

What Is Non-Skid Deck Cleaner?

Non-skid deck cleaners are products designed to break up and remove dirt and grime from the rough surface of non-skid decking. They impart a non-slippery, protective polymer coating to the deck, which helps prevent stains and grime from settling in. 

Non-skid decks are porous, with peaks and valleys to help boaters maintain steady footing. Unfortunately, those nooks and crannies can easily trap dirt. For boats with non-skid decks, it's best to use cleaning products specifically formulated for textured surfaces. Regular deck cleaners can't target a textured surface the same way non-skid deck cleaners can.

You can also use non-skid deck cleaners to clean the smooth surfaces of your boat, including fiberglass, metal, plastic, vinyl and rubber.

How to Clean Your Non-Skid Boat Deck

How often you should clean your non-skid boat deck depends on how much you use your boat as well as how you use it. Generally, it's best to clean the deck after every few outings or when you notice it getting dingy. 

To clean your non-skid deck, you will need the following supplies:

  • A soft-bristled brush
  • A boat non-skid deck cleaner
  • Two buckets
  • Fresh water
  • A cloth or towel
  • A hose or sprayer

How to Clean Your Non-Skid Boat Deck

Consider using environmentally friendly boat cleaning supplies to minimize harm to the surrounding marine ecosystem. Many formulas use low-toxicity ingredients that are just as effective as other cleaners. 

Once you've gathered the necessary supplies, follow these steps to clean your non-skid boat deck:

  1. Vacuum the boat deck: The first step in cleaning your non-skid boat deck is to vacuum it. This will help remove loose or bulky dirt and dust buildup before you apply your cleaning solution.
  2. Wet the deck with fresh water: Water will help loosen dirt and grime trapped in the non-skid surface. 
  3. Prepare your non-skid deck cleaning solution: Mix your non-skid deck cleaner with warm water in a large bucket as directed. 
  4. Apply it to the boat deck: Pour the cleaning solution directly onto the deck and spread it around with a brush to ensure even coverage. Let the solution soak for two to three minutes to penetrate the dirt and grime.
  5. Scrub the deck: Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the deck. Soft bristles won't scratch your deck as you clean it.
  6. Rinse the deck with fresh water: Fill another bucket with fresh, clean water and rinse the dirt residue and cleaning solution off the deck. Alternatively, you can use a sprayer to push the cleaner and dirt out of the non-skid deck if you need something with force behind it. 
  7. Dry the deck: Dry your non-skid deck with a towel or absorbent cloth. 

What Is Non-Skid Deck Wax?

Non-skid deck wax is specifically designed for use on the textured surface of a non-skid boat deck. These waxes contain stain-resistant agents and UV inhibitors to protect your deck from corrosion, oxidation, water spots and damaging sunlight, all without making it slippery. 

Once you've washed your non-skid boat deck, we recommend waxing it with a non-skid deck wax. Waxing your boat deck helps seal and protect it with a glossy finish. 

There are many benefits to regularly waxing your boat deck, including:

  • Prevents UV damage: Most boats spend a significant amount of time in the sun, which means they get lots of exposure to the harmful effects of UV rays. By blocking UV rays, boat deck waxes can help protect your boat from sun damage. 
  • Makes cleaning easier: Waxing creates a barrier between the boat deck and everything that comes in contact with it, including dirt, debris, fish products and more. These materials are much easier to clean off of a waxed surface because they aren't ground into the texture of the non-skid deck. 

How to Wax Your Non-Skid Boat Deck 

While there isn't a set answer for how frequently you should wax your boat deck, you should aim to do so yearly to keep it protected and maintain its finish. You'll need the following supplies to wax your boat deck:

  • Non-skid boat wax
  • A buffing machine 
  • A microfiber cloth

Follow the steps below to wax your boat deck.

  1. Apply the wax: After washing and drying the deck thoroughly, apply non-skid wax directly to the boat deck in circular sections. This approach ensures a much tidier process than if you dump the wax all over the deck at once. Be careful not to use too much wax, as it will create a mess. 
  2. Buff the wax into the deck: Use a buff pad or buffing machine to rub the wax into the deck in circular strokes. Buffing tools spread the wax evenly with no streaks or patches and create a high-gloss sheen for a like-new appearance. Place the buffer head on the waxed deck before turning it on so it doesn't sling the wax and make a mess. Once you turn the tool on, move it in a side-to-side, overlapping pattern. Repeat this motion slowly until the wax has almost disappeared. 
  3. Wipe away excess wax: Remove excess wax with a microfiber cloth. This step is important because too much wax in one area of the boat deck can cause stains. It also keeps your deck from looking blotchy because one section has more protection than another. 

Find Your Non-Skid Boat Deck Products at Fawcett Boat Supplies

Find Your Non-Skid Boat Deck Products at Fawcett Boat Supplies

Fawcett Boat Supplies stocks the products mentioned above, plus many more. With our expansive selection of boating supplies and our vast knowledge of the boating world, we are truly a one-stop resource for boaters of all kinds. 

Contact Fawcett Boat Supplies today or shop our collection of boat maintenance supplies. We look forward to keeping you out on the water!

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