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 ScottByAbigail Scott
Updated on 6/23/2022

People take good care of their kayaks and keep them in good condition since kayaks are not affordable watercraft. How can you clean your kayak after use and protect it from hull damage and aging?

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

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. On the other hand, Freshwater moisture can promote the growth of mold and algae. For example, saltwater is more corrosive than fresh water.

Kayak hulls should be cleaned to prevent damage from the water they were used in 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 it 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. When the plastic becomes hard and brittle, it is susceptible to cracking.

Cracks in a kayak's hull become a weak point that allows water to enter the kayak or cause the kayak to break when it encounters an obstacle. As a result of the cracks, algae and bacteria can grow, further damaging the hull and lowering the value of the kayak.

The Kayak Hull: How To Take Care Of It

In addition to how you transport your kayak to and from the water's edge, you have to take good care of its hull.

If you are not going to take care of the kayak's hull when using it, there is no point in cleaning and protecting it.

When transporting your kayak, take care of its hull.

The majority of kayakers transport their kayaks on top of their car. To keep the kayak safe during the journey, it is usually secured on a roof rack.

The two most popular ways to transport a kayak on a vehicle roof rack are hull-down and hull-up. When transporting a kayak hull, it is best to use a roof rack designed to support the kayak hull properly. If the kayak hull is under too much pressure, the hull may fracture.

Another method of transporting a kayak is to have the upper deck rest on the roof rack, but once again, you need a roof rack designed for this position.

However you choose to transport your kayak, do not cinch down the securing straps too tightly; this can deform its hull and cause it to fracture.

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.

A kayak's hull can be scratched by dragging it over the ground, and sharp stones can cause significant gouges in the material. As a result, these gouges devalue the kayak and reduce its efficiency on the water.

It 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. Kayak trolleys are wheeled supports for kayaks that can be used for pulling a kayak to the put-in spot.

The Kayak Hull: How To Clean It

It would help if you washed your kayak hull with fresh water, whether it is made of composite material or plastic.

After your trip, make sure you clean the hull of any mud or aquatic vegetation. It is essential to rinse the kayak with fresh water both inside and outside if you've used it in salt water, and this 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.

Include some dishwashing liquid in the water in which you wash the kayak's hull if it has stubborn dirt or stains. Soft-bristled brushes can also be used to remove stubborn dirt.

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

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

The Kayak Hull: How To Protect It

If you want to protect the kayak hull further, you can coat it with a protective substance after being cleaned.

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 use a product such as Meguiar's Marine Pure Wax.

In addition to not needing wax, kayaks made of plastic materials 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 it clean.

Spray this product onto a microfiber cloth and wipe it off, or spray it onto a cloth and wipe it onto the kayak's hull.


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

Your kayak will be protected from corrosion from the elements and UV damage from direct sunlight by taking these steps.

If you take care of your kayak's hull, it will last longer and look good for many years to come.

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