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If you’re like the average boat owner out there, then you hate it when your boat starts to look old. All those stains scum lines certainly don’t add much to the aesthetic.
Sometimes getting rid of them is as easy as a good wash. At other times, no matter how many rounds of washing and wiping, your boat just can’t regain its sheen. In that case, you’re probably dealing with oxidation and will have to get the best boat oxidation remover.
But there are so many boat oxidation removers on the market that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. How do you know the right one to pick?
That’s what this article is for.
Not only will we cover the best products on the market, but we shall also have a comprehensive buyers’ guide and FAQ section to answer your most pertinent questions and help you make informed decisions when out shopping for boat oxidation remover.
In A Hurry?
This excellent oxidation remover from Meguiar is perfect for moderate oxidation and removes other types of stains as well.
This is a versatile oxidation remover that can be used on both fiberglass and painted aluminum.
This excellent oxidation remover comes in a spray bottle, making it especially convenient to apply.
Best Boat Oxidation Remover – Our Top 6
Best Picks – Product Overviews
1. Meguiar’s M4916 Oxidation Remover
This is a heavy oxidation remover with the ability to clean your boat and preserve the surface, getting your boat to look good as new for longer. It comes from a well-known brand and offers numerous benefits.
You can use to remove light to heavy forms of oxidation, and it is also effective against spots, stains, and even scratches on fiberglass boats that have been coated in gel or high-tech paint.
Another thing I live about this product is that it leaves your boat glossy and shiny, which is something all boat owners want. It has been formulated to diminish abrasion, while it also contains feeder oils to help with the sheen.
This boat oxidation remover is available in liquid form, so it’s very easy to handle. It’s also versatile enough that you can apply it by hand or machine.
- Multi-purpose oxidation remover that removes scratches as well
- Causes your boat to shine and restores the gloss
- Can be applied by hand or machine
- Does not leave scratches on boat surface
- Requires multiple applications for good results
2. Protect All Fiberglass Oxidation Remover
This is yet another multi-purpose product that restores your boat back to looking as good as new. It not only removes oxidation but also grime, the buildup of wax, and scratches. It can work on both fiberglass and painted aluminum, and leaves your boat with a glossy sheen.
Another great thing about this boat oxidation remover is that it can restore the color of your boat, and can be used to not only remove oxidation, but also to polish and seal the surface of your boat. You then don’t need to invest in any other product for the polishing. Just use a clean cloth and apply it in a circular motion.
You can also use a rotating buffer machine to apply it.
- Removes not only oxidation but also wax buildup, grime, and scratches
- Restores the color of your boat
- Can be used on both fiberglass and aluminum
- Can be applied by hand or machine
- Not suitable for use on boats with clear-coat surfaces
3. Bio-Kleen M00707 Oxidation Removers
This is an excellent boat oxidation remover with the ability to remove oxidation, scum lines, and yellow stains.
One thing I like about this product is the convenience that comes with the spray bottle. That makes it especially easy to apply, and also less likely to spill when compared to many other products on the market. All you have to do is spray it onto the target surface, wait a quick minute, and then start applying straightaway.
Another great thing about this product is that you can use it to remove dirt, mildew, and mold. That said, if you’re dealing with very heavy oxidation, I wouldn’t actually recommend this product.
I would recommend getting something a little stronger. If you have to use this one, then you will have to spray a lot of it and wait longer before you start wiping it.
- It comes in a spray bottle, which makes for very easy application
- Great for cleaning surfaces which are hard to reach
- Multi-purpose and can remove stains, dirt, and mildew
- Is meant for only light to moderate oxidation
- Does not have the ability to add a sheen to your boat
4. Meguiar’s M6732 One Step Compound
This is the second Meguiar product on this list, and for good reason. Meguiar is a reputable brand known for making great products.
This product, in particular, is named the One Step Compound because it allows you to wash and polish your boat in one step. It restores an oxidized gel coat, removes stains, spots, and scratches, and finally adds a glossy finish to your boat, preempting the need for a separate wax or polish.
This is a highly potent formula that is aggressive on even the most severe forms of oxidation and can restore boats that would otherwise be beyond redemption. I particularly liked this product.
With a single application, I managed to remove most of the oxidation. On a reapplication, I removed all of it. What’s more, as aggressive as the formulation is, it is safe enough to apply by hand.
- Can remove very heavy forms of corrosion
- Can be used to wax and polish your boat
- Is safe enough for use by hand
- Quite expensive
5. McKee’s 37 MKRV-3000 Gel Coat Polishing System
If you’re dealing with the heaviest forms of oxidation, or would like to restore a second-hand boat you just purchased, then this is the perfect boat oxidation remover for you.
This boat oxidation remover has been formulated with different lubricants and diminishing abrasives that not only remove heavy oxidation, but also tough stains and even scratches.
The diminishing abrasives are efficient enough to get the job done, and yet do not leave scratches on your boat surface. Finally, it leaves your boat with a lustrous sheen.
This is also an easy to use product, though it is advisable to apply it by machine, as it is not very gentle on hands.
- Potent on even severe forms of oxidation
- Does not leave scratches on the boat
- Adds a sheen to your boat
- Very easy to use
- Not advised for use by hand
6. Collinite Fiberglass Cleaner and Wax Combo
This is a must-have combo. When used together, it gives you the best results for your boat. The boat cleaner does a very good job of removing light to moderate oxidation from fiberglass boats, as well as other blemishes, such as dirt or grease. It can even restore color on your boat.
As for wax, you only have to apply it when you’re done cleaning your boat with the cleaner. It adds a protective layer of wax that not only slows down the oxidation process, but also gives your boat a glossy finish.
- Eliminates stubborn stains and black streaks
- Works well against light to moderate oxidation
- The combo works very well together and gives your boat a glossy finish
- Can be applied by hand
- Not very effective against heavy oxidation
Best Boat Oxidation Remover – Buyers’ Guide
What is Boat Oxidation?
Knowing how to pick the best boat oxidation remover on the market starts with knowing the fundamentals, and what is more fundamental than knowing what boat oxidation is?
Boat owners love their boats dearly. I daresay they love their boats even more than car lovers love their cars. I should know, I’m a boat owner myself. How do I know? Well, car owners don’t mind it much when their car ages and starts to look old. Sometimes they even take a strange pride in the old look. It makes the car look somewhat dignified.
And yet many boat owners I know like to have their boats look as good as new, no matter how many years it’s been in service. I don’t know as many boat owners who take pride in an old-looking boat as car owners that take pride in an old-looking car. Besides, the market for vintage cars is much more popular than the one for vintage boats.
There are, of course, many biases in my claim above, and the situation is a little more nuanced. The market for boats overall is smaller than the market for cars, so it should logically follow that the markets for the vintages of each will reflect the same relativity.
But the point of this section, or this whole article, isn’t to foolproof my claim that boat owners love their boats more than car owners love their cars. I have made it, and I’m confident enough boat owners will agree with me that it doesn’t matter. The real point of that claim is to use it as a preamble to the topic of boat oxidation.
When you love your boat that much, boat oxidation is the bane of your existence. You want your boat to look immaculate, and sometimes wiping it down is simply not enough. It won’t get your boat shining like it did when new, and the reason for that is beyond the physical dirt that you can wipe down with a simple cloth.
The reason for that lies in a chemical process called oxidation.
There are many things that threaten the look and feel of your boat, including dents, scratches, and filth. However, oxidation and its order effects, such as corrosion, is the most malicious, and the most important to handle before things get too serious.
Fortunately, there is a remedy to this problem, just like there are remedies to most problems we experience with boats.
How do you know that your boat is experiencing oxidation?
The general term for the process, or at least how it appears to the eye, is chalking. What appears on the surface of your boat looks a lot like chalk. It comes in the form of yellowish stains that simply won’t go away no matter how hard you wipe down your boat. If you’ve got that, then you know for sure that your boat is experiencing oxidation, and it’s time to take care of it.
How Does Oxidation Occur?
I hope you’re in the mood for a chemistry lesson, because that’s what’s about to happen. Most metals interact with oxygen from the atmosphere at the chemical level, where they bond with it to form an oxide of the metal. Aluminum will form aluminum oxide, iron will form iron oxide, and so on. This is what is known as oxidation.
Depending on the type of metal in question, the effects of that oxidation will vary. Heavy cast iron forms iron oxide, which we all know as rust, and nobody likes it when their iron starts to rush. Copper forms copper oxide, which is green and is responsible for the way the Statue of Liberty looks today.
That may be a good or bad thing, depending on your aesthetic preferences. As for aluminum, which is used in the hulls of most boats, it forms aluminum oxide, which forms a chalky film on the surface of the aluminum.
An obvious but important note to make here is that oxidation is something you only have to worry about if you have a metal boat. If you have a wooden boat, then oxidation is something you will never really have to think about.
That said, you will have your own fair share of problems to think about when you have a wooden boat, such as waterproofing. Wood needs to be perfectly sealed unless you don’t mind re-enacting the story of the Titanic every time you go out into the water.
As for a fiberglass boat, there are other issues to consider. Fiberglass isn’t metal, but it does experience wear and tear, especially when exposed to the sun. If you own a canoe or kayak, most modern versions of which are made of fiberglass, you may still see forms of oxidation. In that case, you will need a boat oxidation remover for your fiberglass boat.
Is It Possible to Prevent Oxidation?
The answer to that question isn’t a simple yes or no, unfortunately. Mother Nature is not only powerful, but she is also persistent, and she wins in the end, over all things. Over a long enough timeline, your metal hull will experience oxidation.
However, it is possible to slow down the process of oxidation, if not eliminate it entirely. There are 3 main stages to oxidation, and you can do things to catch them on time and take the right measures to slow them down.
- First, there are early oxidation signals. You will notice that your boat isn’t shining as much as it used to, no matter how many times you give it a good wipe. The surface will not sparkle. In fact, it might actively take on a dull look.
The reasons for this dullness may be varied, and sometimes a good wash and wipe will restore the boat. Sometimes it’s nothing more than some debris or dust that causes your boat to lose its sheen. However, if cleaning does not seem to do the trick, then there is a high chance you have oxidation on your hands.
- You know your boat is definitely suffering from oxidation when, no matter how much cleaning you do, it just doesn’t get its sheen back. This dullness should persist, even if you try to use proper boat washing detergents that don’t seem to do the trick. In that case, you are definitely looking at a case of oxidation. You should think of using an oxidation remover at this point.
- The third stage will be heavy oxidation. At this stage, your boat has been experiencing oxidation for quite a while and the effects are obvious for anyone to see. It might not be too late to save the boat, but you should generally not let your boat reach this stage. If you are using a fiberglass boat, you will see a gritty substance on the surface. If it’s made of aluminum, you will see chalk. The best thing you can do for your boat at this point is to immediately purchase an oxidation remover and polish your boat heavily to remove all signs of oxidation.
Who Needs A Boat Oxidation Remover?
You might be wondering here if you are the kind of person that might need a boat oxidation remover.
Generally speaking, all boat owners will need an oxidation remover at one point or another, if for no other reason than they need to maintain the good condition of the surface of the boat. If, however, the boat has been neglected for too long, and the oxidation has reached a very severe stage, you don’t just need an oxidation remover; you also need a professional.
There are at least 2 reasons why a boat owner might need an oxidation remover:
- First, boats are constantly exposed to the harsh elements. It’s not just the air, but the water as well. All the various substances your boat comes into contact with can lead to the formation of spots, yellowing, scratches, staining, and, of course, oxidation.
Most of these issues can easily be solved if you maintain your boat well and regularly use a boat oxidation remover. You’re simply nipping the problem in the bud and preventing it from becoming unmanageably severe. In fact, boat oxidation removers have been formulated precisely to battle these types of issues.
- You might also want boat oxidation remover if you’re looking to restore your boat to a shiny state so it looks like new. When doing that, you first have to get read of the blemishes on its surface caused by oxidation, and for that you’ll need a boat oxidation remover.
If you don’t do that, no amount of polishing will do the boat any good. It will look shiny in some areas and spotty in others. In fact, the signs of oxidation might be even more visible.
What are the Merits and Demerits of Using a Boat Oxidation Remover?
Well, for starters, it’s preferable to use boat oxidation remover on your boat, as opposed to just letting it sit and rot outside. You need to take action to save your boat if it has undergone severe oxidation, and boat oxidation remover will help you do that. There are also other benefits to using boat oxidation remover, as outlined below:
- You get to remove the chalky substance on the surface, as well as any other deposits that might be on the surface. The last thing you want on the surface of your boat are deposits of any kind. Once you’ve got rid of all those yellow stains, your boat will be as good as new again.
- I like to think of boat oxidation removers as life restorers. They bring your boat back to life, especially when it has undergone a severe amount of oxidation. This will not only increase your boat’s lifespan, but will also increase its resale value.
- In case you’re planning on polishing your boat, it is imperative that you apply boat oxidation remover. If that polish will do any good to your boat, it is important that you first make sure there are precisely zero signs of oxidation on the boat.
- Sometimes, all your boat really needs is oxidation remover, and that’s enough. Try it for yourself: apply some boat oxidation remover on your boat, then don’t treat it with anything else, and see if you don’t like the sheen it has after that.
- Boat oxidation remover is simple, and simplicity is key when doing anything difficult or especially long and arduous. You don’t need any kind of prep or knowledge before using boat oxidation remover. All you need are a few tools and some time, and you’re good to go.
On the other hand, there are a few challenges that come with using boat oxidation remover. For one, you might not know which product to buy. With so many of them on the market, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed.
If you choose to procure the services of a professional, then you won’t need to worry about what product to get, or what the necessary tools are. You will also have the assurance of a fully restored boat at the end.
However, it will be expensive. On your own, you have far more control of the costs, and, if you like to do things yourself, you get to engage in a new activity. Sure, you will be uncertain about what the right product or tools, or even application process are, but that’s what this article is for: to help you figure that stuff out.
What Factors to Consider When Choosing a Boat Oxidation Remover
While the options are overwhelming, there are ways to narrow down your options. Here are some of the most important factors to look for when choosing a good boat oxidation remover:
- The surface of the boat – Boats don’t all have the same surface. Some are fiberglass and others are aluminum, and so on. Fiberglass boats, in particular, are usually covered in a coat of gel or paint. If this is the case with your boat, it is important to look for an oxidation remover that works well with gel, or paint, or both. Check the product description to make sure.
- The purpose of the oxidation remover – Boat oxidation removers have evolved to the point where many of these products do way more than their advertised work of removing oxidation Some of them eliminate scratches, scum lines, and other stains while they’re at it. Others are multi-purpose marine cleaners which include UV protection and even wax to shine the boat. If you prefer a traditional boat restoration, then you might want to forego all these bells and whistles. Otherwise it doesn’t hurt. If you’re unsure, you should try out different products in order to find which ones work well for you.
- The severity of oxidation – It’s important to determine just how bad the oxidation is before you buy boat oxidation remover. Oxidation can be light, moderate, or heavy, and different products are formulated to battle different levels of oxidation. If, however, you don’t want to make this consideration, then it’s probably a good idea to get a product formulated to battle the most severe forms of oxidation. Also, determine how well you can handle it. If it feels like the oxidation is too severe, consider hiring a professional to do it for you.
- How versatile the product is – Some boat oxidation removers aren’t just meant for boats, and can be used on other vehicles, such as RVs. This is especially true for oxidation removers formulated for fiberglass. Other products are only made for boats, or made for fiberglass, but not in marine vehicles. The trick here is to read the labels t make sure you get a product that is built for your purposes.
- The application method – Most boat oxidation removers are pretty simple to apply, and it can be done with nothing more than a buffing machine, machine polisher, or even your hand. Be sure to read the instructions on the label for the suggested application method. Other removers might need multiple applications to achieve stellar results, especially in cases of severe oxidation.
- The permanence of the results – When choosing a boat oxidation remover, make sure to go for one with lasting results. For example, it might seem economical to go for a 2-in-1 remover, with both wax and oxidation remover. However, if you want lasting results, buy a separate polish or wax, which you will apply in an extra layer to protect the surface of your boat from further oxidation for a long time.
How Do You Remove Oxidation from a Fiberglass Boat?
The first step is to wash and dry your boat. Next, you need to remove any loose contaminants from the surface, being careful not to damage the wax on the surface. Finally, apply the boat oxidation remover to the surface, stripping it of all blemishes, such as water spots, stains, scum lines, scratches, and oxidation. You can use a cloth, a machine polisher, or a buffing machine to do this. Once you have removed the impurities, you can apply a layer of wax or polish to protect the boat from further oxidation and give it a lustrous sheen.
Is Vinegar Effective Against Oxidation in Fiberglass?
Vinegar can be used to remove light oxidation on fiberglass surfaces, but it isn’t effective on heavy oxidation. It can be used to remove normal stains, such as scum, grime, mildew, and others, but it isn’t very potent against oxidation – at least, not nearly as potent as boat oxidation removers that have been built for the purpose.
If you would like to use vinegar to clean the fiberglass surface of your boat, mix it with baking soda. Be careful, as baking soda can be abrasive and might make scratches on the fiberglass surface. Also, the mix of baking soda and vinegar on fiberglass might cause a reaction.
Your best option is to use a proper boat oxidation remover, as many of these have been formulated with additives to prevent abrasion or chemical reaction, and will remove oxidation without damaging the surface of your boat.
Should I Use Gloves when Using Boat Oxidation Remover?
You don’t have to use gloves every time you use boat oxidation remover. Most of them have been formulated so that they are gentle on your hands. There are, however, those that do not have this formulation and are harsh on the skin. It’s a good idea to read the product label to find out if gloves are strongly recommended or not.
Is Boat Oxidation Remover Enough to Restore the Original Look of My Boat?
That depends on the severity of the oxidation on the boat. Even though there are boat oxidation removers that have been designed to remove very heavy oxidation, there are levels of oxidation where you’re better off hiring a professional, and sometimes even God can’t help your boat. I would advise you to prevent this by regularly applying boat oxidation remover to your boat when it starts to show signs of light to moderate oxidation.
Are Boat Oxidation Removers Safe to Use on Water?
Some have been made to be environment-friendly. However, generally speaking, boat oxidation removers are harmful to marine life, and so it is advised that you only apply them to your boat while it is on land, and not over the water.
Best Boat Oxidation Remover – Conclusion
And with that we come to the end of our article. Feel free to try any of the boat oxidation removers suggested in the article. They are all solid products that will restore your boat’s sheen and have it looking as good as new.
And in case you want to do a little shopping yourself, you can use the buyers’ guide to help you pick the right product for your needs.
Until next time, happy sailing!
Last update on 2021-06-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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