Caring for thermoplastic

Can anyone tell me the proper cleaning/polishing “agents” to use to keep a thermoplastic kayak protected and shiny? Thanks

For our two small tupperware Keowees
that are close to 20 years old, and our Eclipse and Shadow which are about fifteen, the bride does them several times a year with armorall, and their finish except for the scrapes and scratches that we put in them are as good as the day we got them.

Believe me they have a zillion miles on them, and my many grand children were beating the hell out of them yesterday.

We tried 303, but found the armorall does just as good a job, and is much cheaper.

Jack L

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By “thermoplastic” do you mean
carbonlite, Lexan, ABS? (Same basic stuff.) Or do you mean the much commoner polyethylene?

It isn’t much worth fussing over polyethylene, except perhaps to use 303, etc., to ward off UV damage.

The ABS products generally have a skin made of another plastic like acrylic that stands up better to UV.

Often the manufacturer will provide advice on what they regard as best for the boat. For the acrylic over ABS products, I might use a yacht wax like that made by 3M. Careful, though, the boat will be slippery.

Whatever you do…
…don’t use acetone

Hose, Water, Cover or Shelter
My Eddyline Nighthawk (Carbonlite) is coming up on it’s 10th birthday and it still looks nice. Just hose it down well (including the cockpit) after each use and keep it out of the sun. It will get scratches on the hull and nicks in the bow over time that are generally proportional to the amount of fun you are having. The Eddyline decals are paritally gone, and the made in the USA sticker inside is gone :frowning:

The day you stop looking at the boat as a work of art is the day you start to really enoy it.


please clarify "thermoplastic"
You are getting some answeres that apply to rotomolded plastic kayaks and some that apply to “thermoformed” plastic kayaks (such as Eddyline) – would be good if you could clarify.

If the boat were polyethylene, acetone
would be safe, but there would be absolutely no reason to use it.

Thermoform Polish
I have a couple of Delta kayaks and the solar kote finish on these boats are remarkable. Delta recommends Novus polish cleaner. I have used this product and it works as advertised.

“Keep your Delta Kayak looking shiny and new! Novus cleaners and scratch removers gently clean the surfaces of your Delta kayak without scratching. Leaves a lustrous shine that resists fogging, repels dust, and eliminates static.Resists finger marking and contains no abrasives or harsh chemicals. Leaves a smooth, clean, greaseless shine.”

Thermoplastic is ABS, not polyethylene

ABS+acetone=not OK

Also 3M polishing & finishing compounds
I use 3M Imperial Polishing Compound and then Finesse It II with a buffing pad on an angle grinder, and it works better on thermoplastic than just about anything else. Top it off with marine wax or 303 Protectant buffed to a high-gloss finish.

"Thermoplastic" refers to a polymer material that becomes liquid when heated and solidifies when cooled. It does not refer to a specific material.

Both ABS and polyethylene are thermoplastic materials.

Problem is, ABS is often called
"thermoplastic" in paddling circles, and polyethylene is not. So we create confusion by using the term, and using it inconsistently.

Delta kayaks make only thermoformed kayaks. I believe somewhere on their site they recommend a product for their kayaks.