How to clean a jet ski in 3 simple steps

How to clean a jet ski

Learning how to clean a jet ski properly is something every good owner should do. It’s not hard to keep your jet ski looking new for years after you buy it, all it takes is a little upkeep.

A well maintained PWC not only looks better but it can help keep its resale value. Follow these simple tips on how to clean a jet ski and you’ll always have yourself a good looking watercraft.

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Related: How To Winterize A Jet Ski

Step 1

For starters, even if you don’t clean your jet ski after every use you should at least hose it down. A gentle spray of water washes away and dirt or dust that will wear down the paint. It’s okay to use a pressure washer but to be honest a garden hose should work just fine.

Be sure to wash the footwells since that’s where the majority of dirt will be. Try getting in all of the cracks and crevices, but it’s mostly the paint you should worry about.

Be sure to wipe all of the excess water off and don’t let it air dry. Leaving the water to air dry will leave water spots and streaks.

Some people hose down the inside to wash away any salt or algae but that’s not always necessary. Drenching the engine can cause water to get into electrical connections so stick to a light rinse.

To make sure the salt and algae is gone wipe down the engine with a microfiber rag. Finish up by using some anticorrosive spray on the engine and electrical connectors. 

The level of detailing required for this step will vary depending on the type of engine. If your jet ski ever gets clogged, you should read my article on how to unclog a jet ski.

Related: How To Change The Oil On A Jet Ski

Step 2

Now that all of the surface dirt is rinsed off, it’s time to wash off anything left over.

Depending on how serious you are about making your jet ski clean, you can either use car soap, or marine soap. Marine soap usually gives the paint more of a shine but car soap can clean a jet ski without a problem. Avoid using dish soap because it can damage the paint and strip away wax.

Meguiar's Flagship Jet Ski WaxIf you want to buy high quality marine soap, Meguiar makes some great biodegradable boat wash. A lot of people use it and love the results.

Use a nice microfiber rag to scrub away whatever dirt is left. Avoid using any hard bristled brushes, they’re often times abrasive and damaging. Microfiber rags are much more forgiving on paint.

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You can learn more in my article on the best jet ski cleaner

Step 3

The last step to cleaning a jet ski is applying wax. Waxing a jet ski is a simple way to protect the paint and keep it looking nice. Always clean a jet ski thoroughly before waxing it so no dirt gets trapped on the paint.

When it comes to waxing a jet ski, don’t cut corners. Invest in some good marine wax if you really want a nice results. Liquid wax is recommended, especially for darker colors. Wax should always go on easy and come off easy.

Never wax the bottom of the hull. Some waxes can be abrasive and waxing the hull can cause speed loss. Along with wax, you can also use a jet ski polish.

Related: Finding The Best Jet Ski Cover

Final Tips

Learning how to clean a jet ski is much more simple than people make it out to be. After the first few times you’ll begin to develop your own system and it will get easier and easier. All it takes is a few cleaning products and 20-30 minutes of time.

Put in the effort to wash it after every use and you’re jet ski will continue to look like it just came off of the showroom floor for years to come.

  1. I had no idea the type of soap I used mattered. I’ve always used whatever was laying around the house. Hopefully I didn’t do too much damage haha

    • I’m sure it’s fine! Just try using the proper soap from now on. A little bit of wax might help fix any faded spots.

  2. Seems easy enough. I knew a simple hose down wouldn’t do the job just didnt know what else needed to be done..

  3. I use “Woolite” soap for washing delicates. It leaves a great shine, and softens the water reducing water spots. It is a very mild soap that doesn’t “suds” up much, but it does a fantastic job. a 2″ puddle in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket with 3 gallons of hot water and a good soft wash mitt works great. Been doing this since the 70’s and my paint jobs have lasted incredibly well. Never use dish soap, shampoo, or harsh detergents.
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