How to Clean Your Boat with Non-Toxic Alternative Aleaners That Don’t Pollute

You need to clean your boat, and I’m going to help you learn how keep it clean the natural non-toxic way, without having to use cleaning agents that contain phosphates and other poisonous chemicals that are a danger to the ecosystem as they are rinsed off your boat into the oceans, lakes, rivers, sewers, etc.


The main problem with chemicals is they don’t go away. They may get diluted into the water but they are still causing damage to both the life and land. It is just good math that if we do not use them they cannot poison anything.

Grey water is created when a detergent is added to the cleaning water. Algae growth accelerates when phosphates are discharged into fresh water and then the decomposition of the dead algae removes oxygen from the water, which in turn harms the fish and wildlife.


Grey water is waste water, like the water left in the sink when you wash your hands, shower or bathe. This water is not fit to drink but it can be used for flushing the head and landscape irrigation. It can also be treated in manmade and restored wetlands that are designed to act as bio-filters that remove contaminants from the affected water.

In order to protect that Ecosystem while keeping your boat clean lets have:


  • Less washing. Not you, your boat and vehicle.
  • No discharge of cleaning water into sewers; use it in landscape irrigation or flushing the head.
  • Cleaning of your boat and equipment at home as much as possible to avoid possible contamination of fresh or saltwater by runoff.
  • Use of a non-toxic brand of gel coat wax to help stop dirt from becoming engrained in the hull of the boat. A gel coat is designed to provide a high quality, durable finish on the outer surface of a fibre-reinforced composite material. This will reduce the need for detergents when washing your boat.

Any naturally occurring substances such as salt, spores, dust or pollen will not harm the ecosystem when washed into the water while rinsing your boat off with fresh water after putting it on your trailer.

Harsh chemical cleaners, soaps, and detergents are detrimental to the wax coatings on your boats hull.

Note: In Canada, manufacturers do not have to verify whether their claims that products they make are “non-polluting” or “fully bio-degradable”. All detergents including the ones that claim to be “Environmentally Friendly” or “Green” contain polluting phosphates and nitrates. The “Environmental Choice” logo indicates a degree of acceptability.

Alternatives to Toxic Cleaners

Item Being Cleaned Alternative Cleaners
Fiberglass Baking soda and salt
Aluminum 1 tbsp of cream of tartar in a half litre of hot water
Brass Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and salt solution
Chrome Vinegar and salt solution
Copper Lemon juice and salt solution
Decks 1 part vinegar to 8 parts water
Hair Baby shampoo (phosphate free and Ph balanced)
Hands Baby oil or margarine
Clear plastic 1 part vinegar 2 parts water
Mildew Vinegar and salt solution
Shower Wet the area, apply baking soda, wipe down
Toilet Baking soda
Windows 1 part vinegar 2 parts water
Wood Polish with olive oil
Chrome/Metal Polish with baby oil
Bleaching Hydrogen peroxide
Scouring Baking soda