It’s only normal for a pontoon to accumulate all sorts of filth the more you use it. Stains, debris, algae, and scum can cover most of your pontoon’s tubes after a few uses, making them look like they were dragged through a muddy bog. But aside from the aesthetic problems they can produce, all of the filth can also weigh down on the performance of your boat and even cause long term damage if left unaddressed.
Fortunately, you can clean those tubes with some of the stuff you already have at home. Yes, cleaning pontoons with toilet bowl cleaner is safe and easy, and the simple process can get your boat looking as good as new in just a short amount of time. So if you’re ready to scrub away at that gunk, here’s everything you need to know on how to do it right.
A Step-By-Step Guide
Remove Large Clumps of Debris
Whether it’s clumps of algae or accumulated dirt, removing large clusters of debris would be the ideal first step. Removing these bigger pieces can clear up more of the tubes’ surface area, making it easier for you to work away stains without having to spread all of that debris around.
There are lots of ways you could get rid of these larger clumps, but the best way to do it would be to use a large stiff brush. If you’ve got the elbow grease and energy for it, a manual handheld brush should be an inexpensive solution. But if you were hoping to spend as little effort as possible, a motorized drill brush could speed up the process ten fold.
Spray Away the Remaining Dirt
While the stiff bristled brush might have done the job of removing large, clumped chunks of debris, you’re still going to see some scattered filth that ‘sticks’ because of moisture. To get rid of these, you might want to rinse them off with some water. Sure, your hose set to the highest pressure setting might work, but you might also want to try a pressure washer.
Giving far more power than a hose, a pressure washer won’t only remove loose debris, but also work away some of the stains before you even pull out your toilet bowl cleaner.
Rub with Toilet Bowl Cleaner
In a clean bucket, add about a gallon of warm water and mix in 1/2 cup of toilet bowl cleaner. This should be just the right concentration for cleaning your tubes. Then you can dip a large sponge into the bucket and start rubbing the surfaces of your tubes with the solution.
If you’ve got sensitive hands, you might want to wear some rubber gloves for the process. You also won’t need to scrub the solution too much onto the surfaces since you’re going to leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes so it can dissolve any stains or difficult debris.
Rinse and Repeat
You can choose to use a standard hose or your pressure washer to get the job done, but the objective is to get all of the cleaner off so you can see how well it got rid of any blemishes and stains. If there are any tough spots left, you can do some spot treatment by reapplying the solution with a sponge on the areas where you might need some extra cleaning.
Once you’re all done, rinse the tubes and let them air dry. You can also use a soft, non-abrasive rag to wipe away any excess moisture.
Wipe and Polish
When your tubes are nice and dry, you can move on to the polishing process. There are lots of different kinds of polish on the market, but you should generally look out for the solutions that are developed specifically for marine metals. Aluminum polish can be a suitable choice for your tubes, while metal polish can work wonders of metal parts like steel, brass, bronze, and chrome.
To polish your tubes, add the solution sparingly to the surfaces being cleaned, and use a soft rag to spread it over evenly. If you really want to make her shine, you might want to consider using a polishing tool to buff out the paste and bring out your tubes’ original gleam.
Helpful Tips for Cleaning Your Pontoon
Cleaning pontoons with toilet bowl cleaner was probably the discovery of the decade for pontoon owners looking for an effective way to get rid of stains and scum. But there are other equally intuitive hacks you can try to keep your boat in tip top shape.
Use Vinegar for Tough Stains
Here’s another household essential you might have lying around that also doubles as a pontoon cleaning solution. Vinegar is acidic which eats away stains on reactive bases like aluminum. So if you’ve got some tough stains, you can use a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar to get rid of them. Fill up a handy spray bottle with the mixture and perform spot treatment on any problem areas. Leave for 10 to 15 minutes and then wipe off to reveal the stain-free result.
Letting stains sit on your pontoon tubes for a long period of time can make them much more difficult to remove. But that doesn’t mean you should perform a deep clean on your tubes every time you take your boat out for a spin. Instead, wipe down the tubes and protect with polish after every use. After a month of use, or five trips to the lake - whichever comes first - you can then get started on cleaning with the steps outlined above.
Putting your pontoon on a routine cleaning schedule like this helps to prevent sludge and stains from embedding into the aluminum.
Take It Easy with the Brush
While you might think that going at it with a hard bristle brush is the way to go, the stiff hairs can abrade your tubes and make them lose their shine. For the most part, you’re going to want to reserve the brush for just removing the tough stuff like clumps of debris and scum. After that, try to stick to gentler, softer cleaning tools especially if you’re working directly on the tubes’ surface.
Tip Top Shape
Cleaning pontoons with toilet bowl cleaner is the ultimate hack for a boat owner who wants effective results without having to spend a fortune on cleaning agents. Easy, fast, and efficient, this step-by-step guide should help you restore your pontoons brand-new gleam with no more than the stuff you probably already have lying around your home.