How to Clean Your Inflatable Boat

Cleaning an inflatable boat is a simple task, but doing it the wrong way could lead to lasting damage and reduced durability for your boat. If you want to have an inflatable boat that lasts for some time, you should know how to clean it properly – and that’s what you’ll learn from this article.

But before we get to how to clean your inflatable boat properly, let’s discuss the types of cleaning products you should use. 

how to clean an inflatable boat

Choosing the Right Cleaning Products for Inflatable Boats

Most of the popular household cleaning products are abrasive and corrosive for your inflatable boats. It’s generally a good idea to stick to mild soaps and detergent to clean your inflatable boat.

The general rule of thumb in picking a cleaning product for your inflatable boat is using a product with lower than 11.5 pH. Here are the types that are the safest for your inflatable boats:

  • Biodegradable cleaners
  • Citrus cleaners (conditional)
  • Mild soaps and detergent
  • White vinegar (conditional)

Citrus and white vinegar contain mild acids, but it’s safe to use them to get rid of lasting stains that you know can be removed from your boat. Using these chemicals also allows you to rid of stains without having to scrub your boat.

But there are certain chemicals that you should never use on your inflatable boats, including:

  • Acetone
  • Chlorine
  • Solvents
  • Toluene
  • Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK)

For all the finer details to look after your inflatable boat – check out our Inflatable Boat Care and Repair Guide

How to Properly Clean Your Inflatable Boat

The best time to clean your boat is not when it’s dirty – but after every use. Preventing any dirt and gooey filth from building up on your inflatable boat is the best way to keep it pristine at any time. Washing your boat after each use also saves you some time from cleaning it the next time you take it out on the water.

Use clean and running fresh water to rinse your boat

Rinsing your inflatable boat with running water is essential because it collects salt, sand, algae, and bacteria when you use it. 

The purpose of regularly washing your inflatable boat is to prevent any gunk or stain from building up on your boat. So if you notice a lasting stain after you use your boat, it’s a good idea to take action right away.

If you use any cleaning products to get rid of stains and dirt, be sure to rinse them down thoroughly. Soap residue buildup can lead to nasty gunks, which you should avoid at all costs.

inflatable boat care

Avoid using abrasive materials

When you find a stain on your boat, the urge to scrub it clean may be irresistible – If that’s the case, you’ll need more than just a good and thorough freshwater rinse. 

Instead of scrubbing away the outer layer of your inflatable boat with a brush, you’ll have to rely more on the cleaning solution to remove the stain.

Depending on the severity of the stain, you can use a 1:1 dish soap and water solution and slowly remove the stain with a sponge or soft-bristle brush. If it doesn’t work, you can start using white vinegar or citrus cleaner sparingly to wash away the stain.

Let your boat dry before storage

Never store your boat when it’s not completely dry because it can trigger molds to grow. 

Make sure to let your boat air-dry or wipe it down with dry towels after each wash. It’s also a good idea to dry your boat under the sun, but don’t let it sit out for too long since the UV can slowly damage your boat.

Whether you want to store your boat inflated or deflated, it’s a good idea to always keep your boat dry before storage. It may sound like a chore to you, but it’s much better than having to deal with the mold.

drying your inflatable boat

Use UV protection every other month

UV exposure is one of the most damaging natural elements for your boat, and therefore it’s a good idea to protect your boat from it. Spraying your boat with a sun-proofing agent like the 303 UV Protectant can reduce the sun damage that it gets whenever you use it during the day. 

Looking for an inflatable boat? Get out on the water with our Best Inflatable Boats – Buying Guide


While it may come off as an annoying chore at first, properly cleaning your inflatable boat can go a long way to prolong its lifespan. While inflatable boats have gotten much more durable than they used to be, they are still made from a flexible material that you can easily damage if you use the wrong solvent or cleaning products.

We hope that this article helps you learn how to clean your inflatable boat properly and get the most value out of your investment.