Maintaining Your Kayak Hull: How To Clean And Protect Your Kayak Hull?

How To Clean And Protect Your Kayak Hull

How To Clean And Protect Your Kayak Hull

Abigail Scott

Abigail Scott
Mother, Professional Kayaker, and Software Engineer

Updated on 3/22/2023

People take good care of their kayaks and keep them in good condition since kayaks are not cheap. How to clean and protect your kayak hull?

How To Clean And Protect Your Kayak Hull

How To Clean And Protect Your Kayak Hull

If your kayak is dirty or has saltwater residue, rinse a kayak with clean, fresh water. After rinsing, the kayak should be allowed to dry thoroughly, inside and out. Wax can be applied on a composite kayak and a plastic hulled kayak, and You can use a UV protectant.

Kayaks should be cleaned and protected from the environment to maintain their low resistance in the water and retain their resale value. The proper care for your kayak hull is crucial to achieving these goals.

Why Is It Important To Clean A Kayak Hull?

The material used to manufacture kayaks varies, so the care of the hull will also differ.

Corrosion and damage to kayaks can occur in some environments more than others. Freshwater moisture can promote mold and algae growth. For example, saltwater is more corrosive than fresh water.

Kayak would be best if you cleaned kayak hulls to prevent damage from the water used and protect the kayak from the sun's damaging UV rays.

A kayak's hull will be damaged by the sun's rays no matter what material is. When left in direct sunlight or exposed to excessive UV radiation, composite and fiberglass kayaks become brittle and start to crack.

As the plastic compounds harden in the sun, polyurethane or plastic kayaks will also lose suppleness. The kayak is susceptible to cracking when the plastic becomes hard and brittle.

Why Is It Important To Clean A Kayak Hull?

Why Is It Important To Clean A Kayak Hull?

Cracks in a kayak's hull become a weak point that allows water to enter the kayak or cause it to break when it encounters an obstacle. Algae and bacteria can grow in the cracks, reducing the kayak's value.

The Kayak Hull: How To Take Care Of It

Kayak is essential to care for the hull of your kayak and how you transport it to and from the water's edge.

Kayaks' hulls should be taken care of when used; otherwise, cleaning and protecting kayaks is pointless.

When Transporting Your Kayak, Take Care Of Kayaks' Hull.

Most kayakers transport their kayaks on top of their car, usually secured on a roof rack to keep the kayaks safe during the journey.

The two most popular ways to transport a kayak on a vehicle roof rack are hull-down and hull-up. Using a roof rack is the best way to transport a kayak hull. If the kayak hull is under too much pressure, the hull may fracture.

Kayaks can also be transported by having the upper deck rest on a roof rack, though once again, you must buy a roof rack that fits the upper deck position.

When Transporting Your Kayak, Take Care Of  Kayaks' Hull.

When Transporting Your Kayak, Take Care Of Kayaks' Hull.

If you decide to transport your kayak in any way, be careful not to overtighten the straps, as the kayak could result in the hull deforming and fractured.

Kayak To The Water's Edge Safely

Your kayak must be keyed to the water's edge when you arrive at the put-in site. Don't drag your kayak onto the water.

You can scratch a kayak's hull by dragging the kayak over the ground, and sharp stones can cause significant gouges in the material. Due to substantial gouges, the kayak is devalued, and its performance is compromised.

Kayak's hull would help if you carry your kayak to the water or invest in a kayak trolley to get it to the water's edge safely. Kayaks trolleys are wheeled supports for kayaks that you can use for pulling a kayak to the put-in spot.

The Kayak Hull: How To Clean Your Kayak

Kayak hull would help wash your kayak hull with fresh water, whether the kayaks hull is made of composite or plastic.

After your trip, clean the hull of any mud or aquatic vegetation. Kayak hull is essential to rinse the kayak with fresh water inside and outside if you've used the kayak in salt water, and the kayak hull is especially true if you've used skegs or rudders.

The saltwater residue can cause corrosion or limit the freedom of movement of pedals, footrests, and other moving parts.

The Kayak Hull: How To Clean It

The Kayak Hull: How To Clean It

Include dishwashing liquid in the water you wash the kayak's hull if the kayak has stubborn dirt or stains. You can also use soft-bristled brushes to remove stubborn dirt.

Allow the kayak to dry after the kayak has been cleaned and rinsed. Let the kayak dry in the shade rather than in the sun. Wind will speed up the process.

Dry out all kayaks compartments so trapped water will not become stagnant and cause the kayaks to smell.

The Kayak Hull: How To Protect Your Kayak

If you want to protect the kayak hull further, you can coat the kayaks with a protective substance after cleaning the kayaks.

Depending on the primary material used in your kayak, you will have to use different techniques and substances. Waxing fiberglass and composite kayaks periodically will protect the hull from UV damage.

You can use a car wax suitable for fiberglass to wax your kayak or a product such as Meguiar's Marine Pure Wax.

Besides not requiring wax, plastic kayaks can also benefit from UV protection coatings.

The product recommended for both plastic and composite kayaks is 303 Marine Aerospace Protectant, which leaves a non-greasy UV protective coating on the kayak's hull that helps keep your kayak clean.

Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the product off the kayak, or spray the kayak hull and wipe the product.


Kayak hulls must first be transported to and from the water's edge, then cleaned and coated with protective materials.

The steps will protect your kayak from corrosion from the elements and UV damage from direct sunlight.

If you know how to clean and protect your kayak hull, a kayak will last longer and look good for many years.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to clean and care for a kayak?

You can wipe the outside and inside of the kayak with a sponge from time to time (e.g., 2-4 times a season) to remove built-up dirt and stains. Avoid using any abrasives. After cleaning, remove all loose gear and accessories and let everything dry thoroughly.

Is it necessary to wax my kayak?

Protecting your kayak against damage is possible by applying a kayak wax. Consequently, it could enhance the hull's durability, protecting it from scratches, dents, and harmful UV rays.

Is it possible to use Armor All® on a kayak?

A vinyl protectant such as Armor All®, 303 Products, or Pledge is recommended. You can use them on polyethylene, superlinear, royalex®, fiberglass canoes, or kayaks.

What can I do to make my kayak look brand new?

Get rid of dirt, debris, and mildew on the kayak's surface by washing it with soapy water—Polish your plastic kayak with an automotive polish that matches its color. Protect the hull from harsh UV rays by applying a coat of plastic gel protectant. Before using the kayak, let it dry for three days.