Washing vessels is a routine after use, mainly when boats are run in the coastal waters of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Soap aids in removing stubborn dirt, salt, grease, and other contaminants that accumulate when the watercraft is used or stored. However, not all soaps are alike. Understanding the difference between boat soap and dish soap is essential when choosing the best product. 

PH When Comparing Boat Soap And Dish Soap

Not all soaps are alike, despite them serving the purpose of cleaning food, dirt, or other objects free from dishes or vehicles. 

The primary difference is the potential hydrogen, otherwise known as PH, when comparing soap intended for dishes or boats. 

Dish soap is acidic compared to liquids designed to clean vessels. When comparing the two side by side dish soap is between four and five on the PH scale compared to seven with soaps intended to wash boats. 

How Does The PH Of Soap Impact A Boat

PH significantly impacts the boat’s finish when the improper soap is used consistently. Be sure to use the correct soap when washing a boat to avoid creating additional work combined with long-term avoidable problems. Below are the negative impacts of using dish soap versus boat wash. 

Wax Degradation

Waxing a vessel is a necessity that requires a substantial amount of time. A wax coating protects against damage caused by the sun’s powerful UV rays, rust, scratches, and more. Wax adds an invisible layer of protection that must remain in place. Here are the 5 steps to waxing a boat

When using soaps such as liquid dish soap to wash boats, be aware of the consequences. The acidity of the soap quickly reverses your efforts in preserving the long-term appearance by applying wax consistently. 

Dish soap has a low PH that strips wax applied to the hull, metal railings, engine cowlings, and any other area of the boat. The acidity removes the layer of protection that was purposely put in place to avoid damage from exposure, including fading and rust. 

Take into consideration all of the hard work in applying wax, only to have it be stripped away in a matter of moments when washing with dish soap. Keep the dish soap in the kitchen and order boat wash to save yourself time and effort. 

Gelcoat Damage

Once the layer of wax has become stripped away, next comes gelcoat. Gelcoat makes up the hulls of the vast majority of boats compared to paint. 

Due to the low PH level of dish soap similar to removing wax, it penetrates gelcoat causing degradation. Prolonged use of dish soap on gelcoat causes long-term damage and must be avoided at all costs. 

What Is The Cost Of Boat Soap Versus Dish Soap

When deciding which detergent to use when washing a boat, the cost comes into factor. Boat wash and dish soap differ significantly in the price per gallon jug. 

Dish soap is available for purchase at grocery stores and the internet. Boat wash is found in marine supply stores, including West Marine, Bass Pro Shop, and other retailers. 

We have used a significant number of boat soaps through the years but have found that it is worth investing money into the highest quality.

When comparing boat wash to boat soap, quality boat washing liquids cost three times the price per gallon.

The best boat washing soap on the market is ORPINE Boat Soap. A one-gallon bottle of Orpine lasts for a significant number of washes as the ratio is one ounce of soap to three gallons of water. Orpine is suitable for use on wood, fiberglass, metal, paint, and plastic. Lastly, the soap provides a refreshing pine smell in combination with removing dirt, grime, exhaust stains, blood from fishing, and more. 

What Supplies Do You Need To Clean A Boat

In addition to soap, additional supplies are required when cleaning a boat. Other boat cleaning supplies include poles with soft bristle brush attachments, bucket, chamois mop, and more.

After washing, remove all water as hard water marks are left behind when the boat is left to dry in the sun.  

Keep The Dish Soap In The Kitchen

The next time you’re planning to wash your boat, invest in high-quality boat soap compared to bringing soap from the kitchen. Boats require continued maintenance to remain in tip-top condition to maintain resale value. Avoid stripping wax by using the improper soap, which requires you to reapply, thus keeping you off the water.