The Best Aluminum Boat Cleaners for 2021

Nicholas Swartz
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It’s Sunday afternoon and you’ve been out on the water this entire weekend. You and your family are enjoying a nice day sailing when it looks like your mast is coated in green algae.

You look up to see a few scallops of the stuff floating down from your rigging. Your boat is filthy. You’re going to have to clean it as soon as you get back to the dock.

Of the several aluminum boats cleaners I’ve tested I can easily recommend the three listed below. I’ve rated them based on spray pattern, size, price, and price relative to the need.

NameCategoryProduct
Aluminum Cleaner & Brightener & Restorer-1 GallonBest OverallAluminum Cleaner & Brightener & Restorer-1 Gallon
Duragloss 551 Marine/RV Aluminum CleanerBudget PickDuragloss 551 Marine/RV Aluminum Cleaner
JJV'S BEST ALU100-G Aluminum CleanerUpgrade PickJJV'S BEST ALU100-G Aluminum Cleaner

1. Aluminum Cleaner & Brightener & Restorer-1 Gallon

Our rating: 9 / 10

Aluminum Cleaner & Brightener & Restorer-1 Gallon

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Pros:

  • Safe to use on aluminum boats, aluminum RVs, aluminum trailers, aluminum wheels, aluminum lamps & more!
  • Non-flammable, non-toxic formula with no aggressive chemicals.
  • Removes many surface contaminants, such as paint, resin, tar, wax, road salt and much more!
  • Works on ALL types of aluminum and vinyl!
  • Leaves a shiny, protective coating to protect against salt water corrosion, acid rain and environmental stains.
  • Easy to use, just spray on & rinse off.

The Aluminum Cleaner & Brightener & Restorer will restore your boat's original shine after just 1 application! The non-flammable, non-toxic formula not only removes contaminants, but also restores brightness & shine to aluminum, fiberglass, vinyl, rubber and plastic.

Dries completely and leaves a protective coating on the surface antichromic properties. Aluminum Cleaner & Brightener is fast, efficient & affordable.

2. Sharkhide Aluminum Cleaner

Our rating: 8 / 10

Sharkhide Aluminum Cleaner

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Pros:

  • Restores the luster to aluminum
  • Very simple to use.
  • No elbow grease needed.
  • Affordable, and does the job better than other aluminum cleaners.

Cons:

  • Can be a little difficult to get used to at first.
  • May need multiple treatments to completely clean.

Sharkhide is a specialized aluminum care cleaner that will remove rust, oxidation, waterlines, and light scratches from your aluminum. It is a simple and effective way to clean and restore the original luster to your aluminum.

Although many aluminum cleaners are abrasive, Sharkhide is a non-abrasive cleaner that will not wear down the thin layer of aluminum oxide. It is safe to use on your boat, pontoon, and motorhome. This makes it the perfect aluminum cleaner for occasional cleaning of your boat.

Sharkhide is a specially formulated, non-abrasive cleaner with wetting agents to help the cleaner be absorbed by your aluminum to get rid of rust and oxidation. It is easy to apply and requires no scrubbing or elbow grease. Simply spray it on and wipe it off, it is that easy!

3. 3M Marine Aluminum Restorer and Polish

Our rating: 8 / 10

3M Marine Aluminum Restorer and Polish

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Pros:

  • Easy to apply and remove
  • You only have to apply a small amount
  • It quickly restores the deep luster to faded surfaces
  • Ideal for anodizing, power coated and painted aluminum surfaces
  • It’s affordable

Faded and oxidized aluminium surfaces can be difficult to get back to their original color and shine. But, if you’re looking for the best aluminium boat cleaners, then this may be the product for you.

The 3M Marine aluminium polish comes with a specially formulated compound for restoring surfaces. It quickly removes oxidation and restores the bright luster to faded surfaces.

You only have to apply a small amount of the polish to your hand and then rub it over the surface with a clean microfiber cloth. The unique compound allows you to apply it with just one hand thanks to its auto-cleaning action.

4. Bio-Kleen M00109 Aluma-Kleen

Our rating: 8 / 10

Bio-Kleen M00109 Aluma-Kleen

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Pros:

  • Stronger than regular household cleaners
  • Works well on aluminum, fiberglass, vinyl, and painted surfaces

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • With very heavy buildup and other severe conditions may need to be followed with an acid bath

One of the best boat cleaners is Bio-Kleen M00109 Aluma-Kleen Degreaser 1 Gallon.

Why? Because it is safe and effective. To the contrary of pretty much any household cleaner, which you should never use on a boat, it isn’t a toxin.

A lot of boat cleaners are also corrosive chemicals a lot of which using hydrochloric acid which isn’t good for the environment or really for you.

5. TotalBoat Aluminum Boat Etch Wash

Our rating: 8 / 10

TotalBoat Aluminum Boat Etch Wash

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Pros:

  • Can be used indoors as well as outdoors
  • Removes salt, silicones, and grease
  • Leaves a very light matte coating that doesn’t turn white when struck by the sun
  • Leaves an antimicrobial coating that is resistant to mildew and mold
  • Very economical

This TotalBoat Aluminum Boat Etch Wash is part of TotalBoat’s Etch Cleaning System. The system consists of a foam roller (EtchWash Pressure Washer), a FlatWash aluminum boat cleaner, and a MirrorWash marine grade polish.

The FlatWash cleaner cleans the surface and removes any silicone. As soon as the wash has dried, you then use the MirrorWash polish to give the surface a bright finish.

This wash also works well in preparing an aluminum fishing or utility boat for repainting or for stripping the paint. Once the paint has been removed, you should sand the surface first before applying any paint to it.

6. Duragloss 551 Marine/RV Aluminum Cleaner

Our rating: 8 / 10

Duragloss 551 Marine/RV Aluminum Cleaner

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Pros:

  • Great for use on aluminum
  • Made with care to help minimize streaks
  • Makes a great boat cleaner
  • Will last a long time

Cons:

  • If there is any downside at all to the product, some have said that the trigger sprayer is a bit sensitive.

Duragloss 551 Marine/RV Aluminum Cleaner is an aluminum cleaner with a specialized formula for use on marine grade aluminum. It is actually vehicle safe and will bring out a wet look shine you will love.

It can also be used on chrome, stainless steel, and plastic. It’s a tough aluminum polish that will leave behind a gloss finish that will last for a very long time.

This aluminum cleaner is also a lot like a standard metal polish, apart from the fact that you won’t need to use a lot of elbow grease to get good results. This is good for when you don’t have too much time to spend on cleaning.

7. Zing 188 WHITE Professional Aluminum Pontoon & Boat Cleaner

Our rating: 8 / 10

Zing 188 WHITE Professional Aluminum Pontoon & Boat Cleaner

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Pros:

  • Safe for use on all aluminum surfaces
  • Non-corrosive
  • Removes all water stains
  • Non-streaking
  • Non-flammable

Vanish Nylon Rope Cleaner for Boat, Stroller and Window Wipers.

8. STAR BRITE Ultimate Aluminum Cleaner & Restorer

Our rating: 7 / 10

STAR BRITE Ultimate Aluminum Cleaner & Restorer

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Pros:

  • Works on fiberglass, plastics and metals
  • Quickly removes scum and oxidation
  • Cleans away sunlight stains
  • Works on white and dark boat surfaces
  • Will nourish and protect
  • Leaves a long lasting shine

The STAR BRITE Aluminum Cleaner & Restorer is specially created to be safe to use on aluminum, fiberglass and other boat surfaces.

STAR BRITE aluminum cleaner and restorer can be used in indoor or outdoor environments. It aims to restore color, clarity, protection and shine to aluminum and vinyl boat surfaces.

It is a powerful aluminum cleaner and restorer designed to reduce fading and sun damage. It also protects the surface from deterioration caused by changing weather conditions and from the salt air.

9. JJV'S BEST ALU100-G Aluminum Cleaner

Our rating: 6 / 10

JJV'S BEST ALU100-G Aluminum Cleaner

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Pros:

  • A degreaser that gets rid of oil and grime
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Can be used for cleaning your aluminum boat and motor
  • A non-toxic formula, so it’s safe to use around kids and animals
  • Leaves a non-stick finish

If you clean your boat regularly, using this excellent aluminum cleaner is essential. It’s a non-toxic formula, so you don’t need to worry about any harmful substances getting into the water. It also includes mild vinegar, which is crucial for getting rid of oil and grime that’s embedded in the plastic and rubber parts of the boat.

I like how well it works at getting rid of odors from fish and other fishy items. As a result, your boat smells fresh and clean after every use. The product works perfectly, and it’s a great size for smaller boats or for individuals.

10. Toon-Brite Aluminum Pontoon and Aluminum Boat Cleaner

Our rating: 6 / 10

Toon-Brite Aluminum Pontoon and Aluminum Boat Cleaner

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Pros:

  • Great for aluminum, gelcoat, fiberglass, plastics, vinyl and rub rails
  • Works extremely well on all types of stains caused by oxidation, UV rays, mold, mildew, oxidation, and rust
  • One application effectively works for up to six months on fiberglass and vinyl surfaces
  • Contains no noxious chemicals, bleaches or phosphates, making it a safe, eco-friendly product
  • Works perfectly to keep hulls, odors and stains from returning, so your boat stays cleaner, longer
  • Repels mosquitoes and gnats to help prevent the spread of malaria and dengue fever when you’re at the lake

Toon-Brite makes an aluminum boat cleaner that is safe and effective. It was specifically designed for boats that are made of aluminum, gelcoat, vinyl, fiberglass and other marine surfaces. It does not contain any harsh chemicals that could damage your boat surfaces.

You’ll get 64 ounces of the water-based formula. Toon-Brite aluminum boat cleaner prevents algae and mold from re-growing. It effectively stops oxidation and rust stains.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best aluminum boat cleaner?

Over time, even the best-looking aluminum boats start to look a little dingy with oxidation. It will probably not be a huge surprise to you to know that this is caused by pollutants in the air. When these pollutants mix with water, it can take on a white or dirty appearing color.

If you like to keep your boat looking shiny and new, you will need a boat cleaner like the ones you will discover about in the review below. One of the best you will find is the Natural Base Boat Cleaner. It is a biodegradable cleaner that is salt and ammonia free and doesn’t require rinsing.

How do you remove oxidation from aluminum boat?

A: It depends on how deep the oxidation is. It is possible that in some cases the only way to completely remove it is with sandblasting. This is the action of blasting away layers of metal one at a time until the bare metal is revealed.

Other times a spray on replacemeant, such as Cquartz Finest Auto (p. 70) or CLQ1 (p. 93), may be enough. The key is finding a product that can treat and adhere to the highly porous and chemically reactive nature of aluminum.

I scoured the world looking for the best aluminum boat cleaners for this book, and this list represents the top ones. All of the products below are proven cleaners for aluminum boats.

What is the best aluminum brightener?

Without question, the best aluminum brightener for boats is Star Brite Aluminum Boats & Tops.

Star Brite is a popular and well-known brand of boating supplies and their aluminum tops and boats cleaner is no exception. It is a highly effective, easy to use, and inexpensive way to clean the gelcoat on your boat. Using other more abrasive methods can actually dull or damage the hull of your boat.

Aluminum Boats & Tops also has the added bonus of not being extremely corrosive when compared to other brighteners. Using this product is better for you and for your boat.

How do I remove hard water stains from my aluminum boat?

Scored surface can be effectively repaired by removing hardened deposits of calcium, lime, or iron with a combination of electrolysis and crocus cloth.

In a nutshell, an electrolysis bath uses electrolysis action to dissolve minerals from the surface of an aluminum alloy. The effect can be produced with an ordinary 12-volt battery with a 6-foot 2-conductor extension cord.

The 12-volt battery will be connected up across a network of fine lines of crocus cloth or emery cloth. When attached to the battery, electrolysis action will reduce the mineral deposits.

In essence, electrolysis action is the process of converting an ionic compound into an ion and electrons.

The electrolytic chemical reaction will be facilitated with a piece of aluminum turned into an anode and a chemical called a salt that attracts electrolytes as an electrolyte.

Conclusion

When it comes to boat cleaning products, there’s a lot to learn from my comprehensive guide. But the best part about preparing this guide is that I got to try out many products and varieties of products, all and all, it was a heck of a lot of fun.

If you’re looking for a great aluminum boat cleaner for your outboard or pontoon boat, then I highly recommend that you read through my summary of the best products, as well as the in-depth reviews of the top products. You should consider all your options, but this list features everything from simple soap to powerful enzymes. With those ingredients, you can clean your boat the way you want.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Aluminum Cleaner & Brightener & Restorer-1 GallonBest OverallAluminum Cleaner & Brightener & Restorer-1 Gallon
Duragloss 551 Marine/RV Aluminum CleanerBudget PickDuragloss 551 Marine/RV Aluminum Cleaner
JJV'S BEST ALU100-G Aluminum CleanerUpgrade PickJJV'S BEST ALU100-G Aluminum Cleaner