How to polish boat hulls

Updated July 20, 2017

Most boat hulls are made out of a fibreglass material. If the boat is in the water for long periods, the hull can lose its shine. Algae, pollen, and other contaminants in the water and on its surface can remove the wax coating from the hull. Before you can polish the boat hull, you must first clean it to remove any stains that might prevent the polish and the wax from being absorbed into the hull.

Move the boat out of the water and onto a dry area. Wash down the hull of the boat with clean water.

Mix together liquid dish washing soap and water inside of a 5-gallon bucket. Use the soft-bristled scrub brush and a soft cloth to scrub down the entire hull of the boat. Wash the soapy water off the hull with clean water. Use the liquid boat hull cleaner to remove any hard to remove stains.

Apply the liquid boat hull cleaner to the boat hull as described by the application instructions on the bottle. Use a soft cloth or the soft-bristled scrub brush to scrub away any hard-to-remove stains from the hull. Wash away the excess cleaner from the hull with clean water. Apply the cleaner as many times as needed to remove all of the stains on the hull.

Dry the hull of the boat with a couple of soft cloths or towels. Make sure that the entire hull is completely dried before adding the boat hull polish.

Apply the boat polish to the hull of the boat with a soft cloth or a polishing pad. Make small circular motions when applying the polish to the hull. Continue rubbing the polish into the hull until the hull has a glassy look to it.

Insert a polishing pad into the cordless buffer. Apply a generous amount of boat wax to the polishing pad. Begin applying the wax over the polished boat hull by making small circular motions with the buffer. Once the wax begins to haze over the polished hull, use a clean polishing pad to remove excess wax and to finish buffing the hull until it shines. Continue applying the wax over the polished hull until the desired shine has been met.


You can find the boat hull cleaner, boat polish and boat wax at most boat and marine-parts stores. Certain types of automotive wax can also be used to wax the boat hull. The wax will make the polished boat hull shine even more brightly.


Wear safety glasses when using the buffer to prevent any chemicals from getting into your eyes.

Things You'll Need

  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Water
  • Liquid dish washing soap
  • Liquid boat hull cleaner
  • Soft-bristled scrub brush
  • Soft cloths
  • Towels
  • Boat hull polish
  • Safety glasses
  • Electric buffer with polishing pads
  • Boat wax
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About the Author

Kevin Mclain has more than 20 years of automotive, home improvement and landscaping experience. He has been writing for various online publications since 2002. Mclain has U.S. Army certification in automotive maintenance and repair, among more than 15 additional certifications related to the automotive field.