How To Wash Your Boat WIthout Stripping Your Wax

Did you know that every time you wash your boat, you strip a bit more precious wax off?  If you’re like Winterlude, we’re an almost 30 year old boat that can’t afford to have the wax stripped every time a bird craps on the deck… which in Florida seems like daily.  We wax the deck striving for a bit of shine trying to avoid the chalky white oxidation that characterizes so many older fiberglass boats.

So one day we’re chatting with the people that take care of the 55′ wannabee mega-yacht beside us.  They have a bottle of bright blue something that they’re using in the boat wash water instead of my usual Joy.  Since they’re pro’s at detailing boats, we’re curious.  Turns out it’s “Woody Wax Boat Wash” and not only does it NOT strip wax every time the boat is washed, it actually ADDS wax during the wash.  Yeah Right …

But the pro’s swear by it and we’re not about to turn  up our noses at something that sounds too good to be true.  We run right out to West Marine and buy a quart bottle – it’s expensive, but you dilute it so that a quart ends up making 102 gallons – about enough for 50 boat washes.   According to the company website:



Woody’s non-alkaline wash is specifically formulated NOT TO STRIP WAX like other boat soaps. It leaves a shiny and clean wax finish -water beads off beautifully! WOODY WAX ULTRA PINE WASH –N-WAX BOAT SOAP contains antibacterial additives that kill mold spores and odors on contact. Fresh and clean smelling, this product is safe for all surfaces and is safe for the environment. The concentrated gel will make 170 gallons of soap!


Obviously, this is not a quick “wash the boat and it’ll shine like it’s been hand buff waxed for days” solution.   But in the past, we’ve hesitated to have the deck washed too often because we don’t want to wash off the wax.  It’s sort of a catch 22 situation because the wax protects the deck from staining with the bird crap (especially those that feast on berries), but the crap needs washed off before it penetrates the wax and stains … but if you wash too often you eliminate the wax that’s providing a bit of protection.  Yikes!  A no win situation if I ever heard one!

We bought our Woody Wax Wash, washed the boat and promptly left to go cruising for 3 months,almost 2 months of which were spent in the Bahamas.  Guess who’s boat didn’t get washed in the Bahamas – mainly due to lack of going to marinas coupled with the cost of water in a desert island country — sometimes over 50 cents a gallon!  So we didn’t really have any opinion on the Woody Wax Wash.  When we returned, we used it a couple of times and it does seem to increase the sheen on our wax.  So we asked our caretaker to use it while we’re gone for hurricane season.  Hopefully by the time we return, the boat won’t be in desperate need of waxing as is usually the situation.

So the jury’s still out, but the preliminary indications are that Woody Wax Wash may be a good addition to our commuter cruiser boat care checklist!

To order your own Woody Wax Wash, click here and buy it for under $17 a bottle on Amazon (UPDATE – THX CHARLOTTE – AS OF 3.1.2013, Woody Wash is up to $19 on Amazon) (it’s more than that at West Marine) and if you order from here, Commuter Cruiser will receive a few cents from Amazon to help support the website and it won’t cost you a dime extra.  I’d appreciate it!  THANKS!

Do you have experience to share using Woody Wax Wash or another product we should try?  Leave a comment and let us know!  Cheers!  Jan


  1. Charlotte says:

    Jan, FYI,it is over $19 on amazon with 4.54 shipping.

    • Thx – Charlotte — I made an update note in the Woody Wash post on Amazon’s price increase. I appreciate you letting me know — our bottle is still half full, so we haven’t needed to get another yet! 🙂 Cheers — Jan

  2. I am eagerly waiting to hear if you think Woodys Wax helped protect your wax and keep your boat clean?? Any conclusions yet??

    • Yes, we think Woody’s Wax boat wash definitely helps preserve the wax. It also makes it shine more – maybe just because it’s clean? – and smells good. We’ve been using our one bottle for close to two seasons on the boat — a season being 6-7 months. We don’t wash it all the time – especially when we’re out away from the dock, but we’re pleased and we will buy a second bottle when this one finally runs out. It’s expensive, but it doesn’t take much to wash the boat. Cheers! Jan

  3. Thanks for sharing this advice! I plan on selling my boat, and I want to make sure that it sparkles when people see it. I’ll have to try out that wash and see if it is able to clean my boat without stripping the wax. If it does, I’ll have to find a service to detail it and reapply it.

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