Cleaning Plastic Kayak

I’ve recently gotten into flatwater kayaking and have a question regarding cleaning my plastic boat (Necky Manitou).

The manufacturer suggests using simply soap and water to clean the kayak. However, after a day on my local lake, there is an algae (“pond scum”) ring around the hull of the kayak. I can get the algae off with soap, water and a lot of scrubbing. There’s got to be an easier way.

Any suggestions? Thanks.

That’s not algae.
Sorry but your water must have pollutants in it to leave a ring, that is not from algae. Try “Dawn” dish detergent. It cuts through oil and grease!

Tannin stains
The rivers in my area have “tea-colored” water from the tannin content, and this always seems to leave a light stain on both gelcoat and plastic boats. The gelcoat finish on my qcc cleans up very easily with a good “boat wash” found at any marine supply store, but on my plasic boat (yellow Manitou) I use “Simple Green” which seems to be pretty good at cleaning anything.

Recent High Sierra Warnings
I was warned just yesterday to wash kayaks after Sierra trips.

They have a New Zealand Sail infestation, and you can spread it if your do not wash boats after use.

Wow 'cuda
so does your kayak sprout sails?!



This Time Of Year
there is a lot of pollen that falls into the water and floats as this yellow/green scum. It does stick and leave a residue around the water line. Just spray it down and brush scrub if need be. It ain’t no big deal and won’t hurt the boat.


Scrub a dub dub
It is always a good idea to wash your boat between ponds and lakes. mil foil and other non-native plants and animals hitch hike with your boat from place to place. Make sure to get behind the ears.

This is a 100% biodegradable cleaning product available from Voyageur:

Just scroll down to the bottom. I’ve used this on my plastics hulls for years.

Simply Green was mentioned before it’s very effective and biodegradable as well.


Pressure washer
Use a pressure washer with a wide spray tip. Plastic is very porous and the pressure washer will clean it well. You can also use simple green for the tough areas.

Not Yet, But
In the larve stage they are tiny. you would not notice them on your boat. Left unchecked they can cover the bottom of a stream. Really gross to think about… I will post a thread on it…

Typo? 'Cuda?
Snails not sails…

paddle more…
its hard to see the ring when your in your boat…eh?



Cleaning Plastic Kayak
What an awesome resource this board is - today I decided to look for ways to clean my 'yak, and what do I find but this topic, opened up today!

Anyway, Simple Green sounds good. Better than what I found when I Googled “how to clean HDPE” - the first link was something about using 90% Nitric Acid! I kid you not… I don’t think I’ll use that one. :wink:

Anyway, I appreciate y’all’s input!

  • rob

the auto car wash…or a pressure washer.
No…not the drive thru (tho that would make for a great album)The do it yourself. I’ve run my plastic fantastic thru the magic wand process more than once…especially IF I was taking it to Kinzua or one of the finger lakes after a day of paddling in the Erie Canal/Buffalo River/Buffalo Harbor.

Elbow Grease
works wonders when applied in the proper amount with sufficient pressure.

NC Cal

washing kayaks
Soft Scrub w/ bleach. Really mades my yellow yaks look like new. Gets all the “storage crap” from the rain, etc off easily.

I saltwater fish a lot also and it gets the blood and stuff off the yak.

Simply Green
Tried Simply Green as some of you suggested. Worked great. Much easier to get the boat clean.


N.Z. snails
Zebra Mussels , came over from Eastern Euro. , discharged in the ballast in the great lakes and spread , funny part about the DEC having boatwashes and all to stop em . Well the funny part is they have cleaned up a few lakes that were all full o algee , but they still clog the intakes and such .

Ditto on the Simple Green
Works great, enviro-friendly…what more could you want? A couple or three trips on the 'Doah and I have a nice ring of “I-don’t-want-to-know” around the Loon and Simple Green gets it off with virtually NO effort.

Probably unburned gas and oil from
2 cycle motors.