How to Clean a Jet Ski
As a jet ski owner, you understand the importance of upkeep for this vehicle type. One of the most important things you can do is keep your jet ski clean. A dirty jet ski is bound to have gnarly buildup which can lead to rust and paint issues as well as mechanical concerns down the line. Here are the top 10 tips on how to clean a jet ski to help you navigate this important aspect of ownership.
1. Hose it down after every ride at the minimum
When it comes to how to clean a jet ski, it doesn’t have to be complicated. One of the easiest ways to keep your vehicle clean is to simply rinse it off with water after a ride. Even if you can’t get into a more detailed cleaning with every ride, this simple act will at least get a lot of the saltwater and dirt off which will help to keep it cleaner until you can perform a more in-depth cleaning.
2. Do a more detailed cleaning on a regular schedule
While a quick hose down is enough in between rides, an in-depth cleaning needs to happen at least every few weeks. Without a regular cleaning scheduled, your jet ski will collect more and more algae and slime on the hull as well as dirt and grime on areas like the seat, handlebars, and any crevices or joints in the welding or frame.
3. Use a jet ski safe cleaner and warm water
The most important thing in how to clean a jet ski is to use the right cleaner. If you use a cleaner that is too tough or acidic, you may strip your paint job. If you use a cleaner that is too mild, you won’t be able to get all the algae, dirt, and grime off without some serious elbow grease on your end. While some people say it is okay to use your regular car wash on this vehicle type, you should keep in mind that your jet ski experiences different, sometimes harsher, riding conditions than your car so a specialized jet ski cleaner may be the best bet. It is also important to use warm water rather than cold or hot. Cold water most likely won’t get enough of the buildup off while hot water can ruin your paint job over time.
4. Wash the inside of the seat and storage areas
While most people focus on the body and hull of their jet ski since it sees the most contact with the water, the seat and storage areas are just as important when cleaning. Since the seat sees a lot of use and you want it to last, it needs to be cleaned regularly with a cleaner that is suitable for the material type of the seat. This will vary based on your model and you can consult the owner’s manual for further suggestion. The storage area should be emptied out and cleaned to avoid any nasty bacteria or mold from collecting inside this important area of your jet ski. Make sure you thoroughly dry the seat and storage area before reassembling or closing them to avoid any issues.
5. Do not spray any mechanical areas
While a jet ski is made for the water and that comes with certain protections in terms of the mechanical elements coming into contact with water, that doesn’t mean its fair game when cleaning. You still need to be careful not to spray water directly into the engine area. While some people claim its more important to remove the corrosive agents of algae and salt water from the engine than to skip spraying it, there are other ways to get it clean. For starters, instead of spraying water too close to the engine, use a microfiber towel and a little bit of water to clean the engine area of any residue or buildup.
6. Pay special attention to the hull and footboards
While you want to clean thoroughly in every area, the hull and footboards require special care. These are the two areas submerged in the water the most and they are prone to algae which creates that nasty slime jet skis are notorious for without the proper care. The hull should be cleaned with a soft sponge and if you can’t enough of the algae off, consider using a brush with soft bristles to avoid damaging the paint while getting it a bit cleaner. For the footboards, make sure to get in every nook and crevices to avoid hidden spots of algae buildup.
7. Clean in layers
When cleaning certain areas of your jet ski, a one and done approach should do it, but if you haven’t cleaned the hull for a while or there is just a lot of buildup, you should expect to clean in layers. For instance, you may need to spray with a pressured hose to get the first layer off the hull before then going in with a sponge or brush to get the second layer of buildup off. It’s better to clean in layers and make slower progress than to use a high-pressure washer or harsher cleaning agent and damage your hull for good.
8. Rinse the vehicle completely and dry
Once you are done cleaning, make sure you thoroughly rinse the vehicle to remove any cleaner left on the vehicle. After you are satisfied with the rinsing, you should dry the machine with a microfiber towel. If you allow it to air dry, you will end up with splotches and streaks.
9. Apply a wax to protect the paint
Just like a car, a jet ski needs a coat of wax to protect the paint job. For this step, make sure you use a jet ski safe option instead of just any car wax you have on hand. Marine waxes are made specifically for the water which is ideal for both the environmental impact and the life of your paint job.
10. Lubricate important areas
Finally, you should lubricate any area, such as pivot joints, where a little extra grease can be a benefit. This is an important part of maintaining your jet ski and it makes sense to include it in your cleaning since you will already be in the process of examining your jet ski while cleaning.