How to Clean Algae Off Pontoons: Steps & Items You’ll Need

how to clean algae off pontoons

If you don’t take the necessary steps to prevent algae from building up underneath your pontoons, then you might find yourself facing a green-tinted mess sooner or later. Unfortunately when that happens, it might be too late to slather on that boat bottom wax. That also means you’re going to have to go through the whole process of cleaning that gunk off.

Unlike other boat cleaning issues, the specifics of how to clean algae off pontoons might not seem too obvious at the start. So to help you achieve that polished sheen, we’re dishing out all the steps (and products) you need to know.

What You’ll Need to Clean Algae Off of Pontoons

pressure washer to wash algae off pontoons

It might be tempting to rummage through your cleaning cabinet and just use the first things you find. But pontoons require unique care and algae might not be as easy to remove as other common stains, sludge, and slime.

So to get the job done properly, you’re going to need the following stuff:

There are some sources online that say you can get away with cleaning algae from your pontoons with bleach, and it might work to some extent. But keep in mind that algae can be stubborn, and bleach might not be able to remove those green stains as effectively as an algae cleaner.

Another thing is that the pressure washer might just be your best friend when it comes to cleaning stubborn stains and algae from your pontoons. But if you don’t have the budget to buy one just yet, you might be able to achieve similar results by putting your garden hose at its strongest setting.

Finally, it might help to have some personal protective equipment at the ready. You’re going to be working with some pretty strong chemicals here, so it really doesn’t hurt to take some extra precaution and keep your skin and eyes safe.

Steps on Cleaning Algae Off of Pontoons

algae remover

Now that you’ve got everything you need, it’s time to get to cleaning. But because the process is more than just scrubbing to your heart’s content, it’s important that you get familiar with the proper procedure first:

Spray Algae Remover

The obvious first step would be to spray your algae remover. Algex works to dissolve algae build-up without destroying your aluminum pontoons. The stuff is also works much faster than bleach, without the need for multiple applications.

To leverage its benefits, simply spray it liberally across your problem areas. Leave the stuff on for 2 to 3 minutes, or longer if you’re working against stubborn old stains. After a few minutes of wait, you should see the stuff reacting with the algae and forming a slime that’s easier to remove.

Whip Out the Pressure Washer

Now that the algae is softened up, you can move on to working the stuff off with your pressure washer. As a precaution, try not to use the highest setting just yet. Instead, start off at a lower pressure and then work your way to the right strength for the job.

If you don’t have a pressure washer, then a strong garden hose should be good enough. There are also lots of different garden hose nozzles that you can buy to achieve a stronger jet flow for the purpose of cleaning algae off of your pontoons. If you don’t have those either, then you can use your bristle brush under flowing water to give it more cleaning power.

Get Rid of Other Stains

While the green tinge might be gone by now, Algex isn’t designed to remove other sorts of stains from aluminum pontoons. So you might still be left with a cloudy appearance that’s less than satisfying.

If that’s the case, you can take some Alumabuff to get rid of other blemishes on your pontoons. Apply the stuff and make sure you buff it out before it dries. If it does dry before you get to buffing, re-lubricate the formula with water. You might also want to work in small areas to make sure you don’t have to rush the buffing process.

Treat the Aluminum

Once you’ve achieved that algae and stain-free look, it’s time to treat the aluminum. Alumetron works to achieve that brand new boat shine, making your logs look extra polished. But more than just the aesthetics, this stuff also improves durability by working as an aluminum protectant.

As a general rule, you’re going to want to leave the stuff to cure for 4 days before you do anything else. See to it that you work the solution into the nooks, crannies, and crevices that you might not usually reach while cleaning.

Protect from Future Algae Stains

Now this one’s totally optional, but unless you want to keep cleaning algae stains off of your pontoons in the future, it makes perfect sense to wipe on boat bottom wax. This stuff gives your pontoons a slick surface that repels algae and keeps it from sticking.

To achieve optimal effects, apply one coat and wait 24 hours before applying a second coat. When the second coat is done, you’re going to have to wait 48 hours before you give your boat a whirl. When properly applied, this stuff should last for up to a whole boating season.

Tips to Keep your Pontoons Algae Free

Those algae stains might be some of the most stubborn cosmetic problems your pontoon will ever have, so it pays to do what you can to prevent them from developing in the first place. If you’re tired of cleaning off algae from your logs, try these tips:

  • Dry dock your boat. No water means no algae formation
  • Clean your pontoon regularly
  • Consider investing in anti-fouling paint
  • If you've got the money for it, consider pontoon legs or a lift

Keep Your Boat Algae-Free

Most pontoon boat owners have asked themselves how to clean algae off pontoons at least once because of the stubborn nature of these green-tinged stains. Fortunately, there are products that are specifically designed for just that purpose. Make sure you follow these steps the next time you have to get rid of algae stains. Better yet, do what you can to prevent algae from forming in the first place so you can keep your boat algae-free for longer.

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