Cleaning, protecting and restoring boat aluminium or anodised aluminium

Aluminium: Aluminium needs little ongoing care to continue to look good. A regular wash is generally all that is needed. However, the most serious danger to aluminium is damage due to galvanic corrosion (the type of corrosion that zinc is fitted into boat structures to protect). There are a few simple rules to remember to help keep your boat, propeller, or other aluminium items intact.

  • Do not attach other metals to aluminium, particularly under the waterline (zincs not included).
  • Avoid electrical connections between fittings.
  • Only use paints designed specifically for aluminium.
  • Do not use graphite lubricants or graphene products.
  • Fasten unpainted anodes securely.
  • Do not use automotive battery chargers on board – specific marine charger conditioners are made for the job.
  • Wash down aluminium surfaces with fresh water after every trip to avoid build up of salt.

Aluminium rapidly forms an oxide coating when exposed to air. Unlike rusting iron, the oxide prevents further reaction and protects the metal below. Abrasive cleaning removes the coating, which then reforms due to reaction with oxygen in the air. Repeated removal of the oxide reduces the thickness and strength of the component.

Avoid wire wool, abrasive cleaners and products like ordinary metal polish or car polish as these are abrasive. Avoid acid or alkaline cleaners except where you plan to protect the new surface afterwards.


Use clean fresh water or BoatSheen Wash and Wax.
If there is a grain in the finish, clean with the grain, not against it.


BoatSheen Performance Boat Wax or Best Brazilian Boat Wax help to throw off water and reduce salt marks or hard water marks.


Clean and degrease with BoatSheen Tough Boat Cleaner. Remove stains and corrosion with Boatsheen Propeller Cleaner, testing on a small area first. You will need to protect the surface against air after using this powerful product, solid paste or liquid wax is suitable.

Avoid abrasives if possible as these will alter the appearance.