Armor All on Kayaks

I recently purchased a couple of used touring kayaks (Dagger Edisto, Walden Passage). Unfortunately they have to live outside on a rack, partially covered and turned upside down. I am wondering if Armor All is an okay protectant to use on a kayak? (no flames please–I’m a newbie) Any other advice about outdoor storage?

and a cheap blue plastic tarp.


Don’t use Armor-All
It dries out auto dashboards/trim, despite what they claim.

It’ll come right off as soon as you put the boat in the water, so you might as well just cover it instead of laying down an oily slick every time. Faster to cover with a tarp than to Armor-All, too.

If you really want to put chemicals on the boat to shine it up, use 303, which has UV protectants in it and won’t dry out the plastic. It’s expensive, and not as easy to find as the ubiquitous Armor-All, but it actually works–on dashboards, toppers, and tires, which are not exactly marine uses. I still think it’d be better to just cover the kayak with a tarp, though.

A little 303 goes a long way , so don’t
be too shocked at the price. Armorall makes handling your boat feel like wrestling with a greased pig.

I suggest…
Suggest you use the 303; just a light coat. Also suggest a tarp, but I wouldn’t let the tarp lay on the kayak. With a little inventiveness you can rig it so there is a little air flow between the tarp & your kayak.


Go with the bob
& 303/shade. All of my kayaks & canoes are skin coat only. At the moment all but two are inside & the ones I use the most are in boat bags for travel to the water. I try to put 303 on my deck before or after paddling & then shammy it off, as I leave (couple of times a week). I have a kv/carbon kayak, with a darker hull because it’s in the water, while the deck bakes in the Kansas summer sun. Good luck & have fun paddling!

on plastic boats
it don’t matter if the plastic drapes over the boats. maybe on composite but you ain’t gunna hurt plastic one way or the other just keep the UV to a minimum.


Don’t know …
Don’t know where spider 1999 lives, but location might make a difference. If he/she lives in a location where the temp. gets up into the high 90s, or the 100s during the summer, and the boats are in a location that gets a lot of direct sunlight, I’d be willing to bet that the boats (plastic), will stay cooler if there is a gap (and thus air flow) between the tarp & the boat.

I guess the real question is whether or not the temp difference would be significant enough to warrant the few minutes it would take to rig the tarp so that air flow occurs? I know if I rig a fly for shade, I want it to cover me, but not lay on my body. Same principle when I rig a fly for rain.



armor all is bad for anything
in the long run. It’s full of solvents. 303 is the easy way boat wax with lots of Uv inhibitors is the hard way and do not drop the boat. space between the boat and tarp is a must to avoid mold.

the reasoning behind…
not allowing the tarp to lie directly on the boat has nothing to do with fading the plastic, it’s purely for airflow means. If the tarp lies directly on the boat, moisture will get trapped between the two, and you’ve just created a perfect haven for mildew, which if you search back through the archives, you’ll find fellow’ers have found nearly impossible to remove the resulting stains from.

Go with the 303, and jimmy-rig a tarp tent over the boat. An alternative I have used is a pulley system rigged up under the eaves of the house if you’ve got a large enough overhang (back patio or something) Gets the boat out of the sun, keeps the elements off it, and allows for airflow–but also makes an inviting home for birds, etc, so you’ve got to batten yer hatches, matey!

Though I prefer 303, I object to
the statements that Armor All is loaded with petro solvents, or that it washes off as soon as the boat hits the water. Neither statement is true. The amount of solvents is small, and is harmless to all types of plastic and resins used to make boats. My experience is that Armor All will stay on the boat for a few trips, but not as long as 303.

IN the long run armor all is not
good for anything. It absolutely eats vinyl over the long term. And nobody needs the non-biodegradeable poisonous pruduct anyway.

It’s less effective and highly polluting at best. Give it up. Nothing it can do that 303 can’t do better and with less pollution.

The shine it gives comes fron taking the plasticizers out of the vinyl and bringing them to the surface and robbing its future.

Highly polluting? Eats vinyl?
Considering how much ArmorAll gets used on vinyl in cars, it would have disappeared from the market long ago.

Safer statements would be, “Probably somewhat more polluting than 303” and “May affect plastics more than 303.”

Armor all doesn’t bring plasticizers to the surface to make it shine. It contains ingredients that add shine.

Science vs speculation

– Last Updated: Feb-10-05 10:17 AM EST –

I am not taking sides, just trying to look for light and not interested in heat.

Evidently it contains Polyvinyl Alcohol which is a platicizer. What happens with it is as follows:

I did an internet seach and so far I found three references. Two science experiments showed conflicting results, one the it removed plasicizers over time, the other no significant negatives.

The third article is from a biochemist with no axe to grind. He states

There is general agreement however that you should avoid using "Armor-All" protectant. Not only does it leave a permanently greasy and slippery finish - the last thing you want - but there is also anecdotal evidence that instead of protecting rubber, it may actually hasten its deterioration(!)

Here is the URL

Anyone familiar with Autobond?
This is an AMAZING product! It is not a wax, but rather an acrylic coating that will NOT wash off! If applied properly, it will adhere to any hard surface for up to 4 years, has built-in UV protection, and will repel dirt, bugs, and water. The website is: This products is great for car polishing, especially for dark colored cars.

Plasticizers for vinyl are indeed
quite polluting. some reasearch or general knowledge will confirm it. From Cal tech chemistry professors to greenpeace the information is getting out there.

You can only make vinyl in a couple of states in the US now, Louisiana and texas I think.

Bottom line is, it pollutes, its manufacture pollutes, better products are available, the carrier solvent may well deteriorate the plastic it’s supposed to protect, give it up. Why not take money away from people who manufacture obselete toxins.

Other forms of protection?
As long as we are on the topic of protection are there any other things that people find are helpful.

Like this one for areas of high wear and use on the deck

And the carrier solvents in armor all
do not remove the plasticizers in the plastic either.

solvents in polish do not remove paint, and lots of people in the fine furniture business use pledge.

Armor All a NO-NO, use 303!!!