Best Boat Deck Cleaner - Non Skid Cleaning

Best Boat Deck Cleaner: Non Skid Cleaning | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

June 15, 2022

Non-skid surfaces on fiberglass boats are notorious for trapping dirt and grime; they can be hard to clean without the right deck cleaning solution.

The five best non-skid deck cleaners for boats are the Star Brite deck cleaner and protectant, the Legend Brands biodegradable Un-Duz-It deck cleaner, the Seachoice deck cleaner, the MaryKate detailer, and the Simple Green all-purpose marine cleaner.

In this article, we'll review five of the most popular and highest-rated marine non-skid deck cleaners on the market. We'll also teach you how to use them and what surfaces they work best on. Additionally, we'll teach you how to find a safe and effective deck cleaner for your boat.

We sourced information about each product directly from its manufacturer to ensure accuracy. We've personally used many of these products as well, and we took into account the opinions and recommendations of other boat owners who regularly clean non-skid services.


Table of contents

Skid Vs. Non-Skid Deck Boat Cleaners

So, what's the difference between a traditional deck cleaner and a non-skid deck cleaner? It has less to do with the cleaner and more to do with the deck itself. Non-skid deck cleaners are for non-skid material on decks, which are textured and difficult to clean.

Non-skid decks have pores and raised surfaces that easily trap dirt and mud, which is why they can't simply be hosed off. A non-skid deck cleaner breaks up dirt and grime and makes it easy to wash off. That said, scrubbing is almost always required when using even the best non-skid deck cleaners.

What Makes a Good Boat Deck Cleaner?

What are the qualities of the best non-skid deck cleaners, and do they really work better than soap and water? Anyone with a boat will tell you that using the right kind of chemicals to clean your deck can make a world of difference.

Low-quality deck cleaners, especially those designed for smooth decks, can cause damage to your non-skid surface and may not clean it very well. Some might even make it slippery. Many cleaning chemicals can stain non-skid material and white streaks without removing dirt.

Additionally, a non-skid deck cleaner penetrates deeper into the material to remove stain-causing deposits. The best non-skid deck cleaners are either biodegradable or not extraordinarily harmful to marine life, as there's a good chance that you're going to wash it overboard and into the water.

It's always good to choose marine chemicals that do the least amount of damage to the local ecology. Because the cleaner we leave it, the nicer it will be, and we don't want to kill all the fish.  

How to Use a Deck Cleaner

Using a non-skid deck cleaner is simple, though the procedure might vary between brands and concentrations. Always read the directions on the back of the bottle and follow them unless you've developed a better system through experience.

For standard diluted non-skid boat deck cleaner, all you have to do is spray it on the deck or rub it on with a sponge. Scrub it with a marine scrubbing brush until you're satisfied, then hose it off with a good amount of pressure.

Some deck cleaners come in a concentrated form and must be diluted. The easiest way to do this is to mix part of the bottle with water in a bucket and clean the deck by dipping in the brush periodically.

Are Non-Skid Boat Deck Cleaners Safe?

Generally speaking, almost all popular non-skid deck cleaners are safe for humans to use. That said, some of them do contain chemicals that are harmful, especially to your eyes and skin. Environmental damage is another question, as many contain harmful chemicals.

The good news is that most boaters don't use these substances in great enough quantities to cause appreciable damage to local marine life. That said, it's always best to use an eco-friendly or biodegradable cleaning solution whenever possible.

As far as personal safety is concerned, always read the label on the bottle and follow the recommended procedure. Gloves are usually a pretty good idea, and it's best to use these chemicals in a way that keeps them far away from your eyes, skin, and mouth.

Best Non-Skid Boat Deck Cleaners

We spoke to boat owners and found some of the most popular non-skid deck cleaners on the market. Here are five safe and effective chemicals that get dirt, grease, and grime out of the most common non-skid boat deck surfaces.

1. Star Brite Non-Skid Deck Cleaner and Protectant

Star Brite is by far the most popular non-skid boat deck cleaner on the market. It not only contains effective cleaning chemicals, but it also integrates a protectant solution that helps prevent dirt and grime from sticking in the first place.

After use, Star Brite non-skid deck cleaner does not leave a sticky or slippery residue. It washes off easily with water, and it keeps your deck looking nice for longer than some of the competing brands. The protective coating is polymer-based, which makes it durable and protects it from water and UV radiation.

Using Star Brite non-skid deck cleaner is easy, and it works on all fiberglass and painted deck services. First, spray down your deck with fresh water. Put some Star Brite deck cleaner on a deck brush and spread it around as evenly as possible. After a few minutes, scrub the area with a reasonable amount of force and rinse it off with a freshwater hose.

Star Brite deck cleaner removes stains, though you may have to scrub the area a few times to remove it completely. The only downside of Star Brite deck cleaner is that it does contain some chemicals that aren't so nice to marine life, and they can cause eye irritation. That said, it's safer than many automotive chemicals that people use for cleaning boat decks.

2. Legend Brands Biodegradable Un-Duz-It Non-Skid Boat Deck Cleaner

Are you looking for an effective deck cleaner that's less harmful to the environment? If so, consider the Legend Brands Biodegradable 'Un-Duz-It' non-skid deck cleaner. This effective cleaning solution avoids many of the harmful chemicals found in other products, and it still does a pretty good job of removing dirt, grime, and stains from non-skid deck services.

Un-Duz-It biodegradable deck cleaner is fast-acting, and it doesn't require any waiting before you get to scrubbing. Applying this deck cleaner is also pretty easy. All you have to do is spread it around the deck with a brush and scrub.

Be sure to wet the deck first and scrub until you're satisfied that all of the dirt is gone. Hose it off, and repeat the process if any gunk is left over. This eco-friendly deck cleaner works on all fiberglass and non-slip boat surfaces, but it's not designed for wood or any other non-washable materials.

This is one of the safer deck cleaners available, as it's free phosphate, chlorine, ammonia, and hydrocarbons that are harmful to people and marine life. It's also affordable and usable on stained and dirty surfaces. It doesn't remove paint either, unlike harsher chemical deck cleaners.

3. Seachoice Non-Skid Deck Cleaning Solution

Seachoice is a brand that's likely familiar to many mariners, as the company produces a wide range of marine chemicals, equipment, and accessories. The Seachoice non-skid deck cleaner is an affordable and effective chemical concoction that's trusted by boaters of all kinds.

Seachoice deck cleaner comes in multiple bottle sizes, and it's available online. It's an excellent alternative to Star Brite deck cleaner, as users report that it works about the same way. This deck cleaner is safe to use on all non-skid surfaces, as long as they're not wood. This deck cleaner is designed primarily for fiberglass, and it works on smooth and non-skid services.

It's safe to use on paint as well, as the chemicals are not harsh enough to strip petroleum-based paint or gel coat off of fiberglass. It's easy to use, as it works just like other non-skid deck cleaners. All you have to do is wet the deck, spread the chemical solution around, scrub, and hose it off when you're done. No dilution is required.

So, why buy the Seachoice deck cleaner over the Star Brite deck cleaner? At the end of the day, it really comes down to personal preference and availability. These two cleaning solutions work in a very similar way, and they're both good choices. Occasionally, one may be less expensive than another, and that could be the primary determining factor.

4. MaryKate Cleaning Detail Non-Skid Deck Cleaner

The MaryKate non-skid deck cleaner is more of a detailing solution than a 'dump and scrub' deck cleaner. This solution comes in a smaller bottle, and it's likely the best choice for removing stubborn stains and tough discoloration. Just be sure to buy an extra bottle for a big job, as it comes in a smaller container than most others.

It works on almost all fiberglass surfaces, both non-slip and smooth. Users report that it works better than standard deck cleaners overall, as it uses a highly effective proprietary formula. You can consider the MaryKate cleaning solution to be a high-end deck cleaner, and it's likely the best choice for small powerboats.

As you might expect, the MaryKate non-skid deck cleaner is more expensive than some competitors due to its premium nature. That said, it's worth the price if you really need to clean that boat and leave it with it with a spectacular shine. It leaves no residue, and it's one of the highest-rated deck cleaners on the market today.

5. Simple Green Marine All-Purpose Boat Cleaner

You can't go wrong with Simple Green, and many people swear by this pleasant-smelling and eco-friendly solution. Simple Green is famous for producing a kinder lineup of chemicals, as their cleaning solution is biodegradable and generally less harmful to people in marine life than the primary competition.

Simple Green itself is somewhat of a miracle chemical, as it cleans almost too well to be an eco-friendly boat chemical. Many people use standard Simple Green for cleaning their decks, though there are some benefits to using the marine version. This formulation is specifically designed for use on boats, and it's particularly effective at cleaning non-skid surfaces on fiberglass.

Simple Green all-purpose marine cleaner is safe to use on most surfaces on the decks of boats, and it leaves no residue stains. Unlike many of the other chemicals on this list, Simple Green is perfectly safe to use on a teak deck, painted area, and any other washable surface. You don't have to worry about getting Simple Green on your varnished deck fixtures, glass, plexiglass, or brass parts, either.

Simple Green Marine won't damage most relatively sensitive surfaces under normal conditions. It can be found online or in most marine supply stores, and it's almost always highly affordable. It's undoubtedly one of the best all-purpose boat cleaners on the market today.

Best Boat Deck Cleaner - Non Skid Cleaning
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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