Gordon's Lakeside Marine
322 Lakeside Drive ~ Mayfield, NY 12117 ~ 518-661-5031


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Maintenance Tips for Your Boat


  • Stuck zippers on side curtains and zip-out windows can be eased open with a spray of silicone or rubbed sparingly with Teflon grease.

  • Sticky snap fasteners will go on and off easier when coated with lip balm, a candle or crayon.

  • When snap fasteners are corroded, clean them with bronze wool or a 3M Nylon Scotch Pad. Use a small screw driver inside the spring to loosen grit.

  • Crud-encrusted can vas should be lightly scrubbed with warm, sudsy water. Rinse and hang to dry, then apply a waterproofing agent.

  • To remove bird droppings, place a rag dipped in cooking oil over the spot. Keep covered until it loosens enough to be wiped up. This also works for squished bugs and tar spots on the hull.

  • Bird droppings that are left for a long time can stain. On Weblon and Dacron, rub with Soft Scrub soap and rinse. Don't rub Sunbrella, which has a coating; just dab gently.

  • Cement cleaner gets rust stains out of most canvas. Test first in an inconspicuous area to be sure it doesn't damage the fabric.

  • To remove blood from canvas, apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to the stain and let soak for half an hour.

  • When clear vinyl panels get stiff or hazy, coat them with Pledge.

  • If your clear vinyl panels are scratched, polish them with a paste of 2 tablespoons each of glycerin, jeweler's rouge and water. Put it on a clean rag, rub into scratches and rinse.

  • To remove stains from clear vinyl, try using a damp cloth dipped in water with baking soda. For a stubborn stain, rub a little toothpaste on it with your finger.


  • A seized macerator pump can be freed by unhooking the discharge hose and raising it above the pump. Pour in a solution of dishwashing liquid and water. Let sit for at least an hour.

  • If the drain keeps clogging and smelling, toss a handful of baking soda in it, then a pot of boiling water.

  • To keep the rubber joker valve from drying out, pump some vegetable oil through the system each month.

  • Hair spray buildup on the mirror? Wipe it off with rubbing alcohol.

  • Before cleaning the toilet, drop 2 Alka Seltzer tablets in the bowl. After the fizz, scrub the bowl as usual

  • Before leaving the boat, pour Pine-Sol into the toilet bowl to keep it fresh.

  • Deodorize the toilet with a solution of 3 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 quart of warm water. Don't rinse it

  • Check to see if the source of a bad smell in the head is coming from a hose. How? Wrap the hose in a warm, damp rag, then let it cool. Unwrap the hose and smell the rag. If it stinks, replace the hose.

  • Need a temporary fix for a smelly waste hose? Wrap it in Saran Wrap.

  • Mildew in the bowl can be cleaned by generously spraying oven cleaner and letting it sit for five minutes. Wipe with damp paper towels.

  • If gunk is caking up your shower tracks, clean them out it a cotton swab soaked in a mild solution of bleach and water. Keep this away from caulking.

  • To clean tile, rub a little vegetable oil on the stain.


  • Creaky hinges and sticky locks can be silenced using a vegetable spray.

  • Sticky portholes, hatches and windows take well to petroleum jelly. Dip a small brush in the jelly and wipe it around the inside rubber seal.

  • Sticky drawers will slide again if you rub candle wax or soap on the runners.

  • Get rid of moisture and mildew with kitty litter. Place several shallow boxes throughout the interior.

  • Keep moisture from stowed gear by tying a dozen pieces of chalk together and hanging them in lockers and cabinets. Or, fill a plastic container with charcoal briquettes. Punch holes in the cover and place the container at the bottom of the locker.

  • To help eliminate cabin odors, fill a small bowl with charcoal (available for potted plants) and place it on a shelf.

  • Reduce locker odors by putting a little vanilla extract on a piece of cotton and place it on a shelf.

  • Make your own all-purpose cleaner by mixing 1 quart warm water, 1 teaspoon liquid soap, 1 teaspoon Borax and 1 teaspoon vinegar.

  • To get the odor out of musty lockers, hang a nylon stocking and fill it with cedar chips.

  • To get rid of the smell of fresh paint, place a large cut onion into a big pan of cold water and leave it onboard.

  • Get rid of old tape on a bulkhead with oil-free nail polish remover. Another way to remove tape is by heating it with a hair dryer to soften the glue.

  • To remove the leftover glue from tape, spray it with WD-40, wait a few minutes and rub with a piece of nylon netting.


  • Get dull stainless steel shining again by rubbing it with a mixture of alcohol and kerosene of a soft rag.

  • Wipe down stainless with the same lemon oil you use to clean wood cabin furniture. It leaves a high shine and creates a water-spot resistant surface.

  • For glittering chrome, use vinegar or window cleaner. Also, try a cloth dampened in ammonia.

  • Aluminum, like wood, has a grain. Always rub cleaners with the grain.

  • Ammonia will pit aluminum's surface. Keep it away.

  • To keep chrome from tarnishing, brush on a coat of clear lacquer.

  • To clean brass, use 1/2 cup of vinegar mixed with 1 tablespoon of salt.

  • For water spots or hard water buildup that has dulled stainless steel sinks and fixtures, wipe with vinegar then rinse with water. To thoroughly clean stainless steel sinks, use a mix of ammonia and water. To keep stainless shiny, rub it with a little mineral oil and buff with a dry cloth.

  • Rust stains on sinks and drains will lift right out with a cut lemon.

  • For a showroom shine on stainless, polish with a rag that's been dipped in club soda.


  • Wipe sticky messes from vinyl with a cloth dipped in a warm dishwashing detergent solution (not soap) and polish with a soft cloth. Wax and cream polishes will leave the surface tacky.

  • To remove stains on leather, try rubbing castor oil into dark leather, or petroleum jelly on lighter surfaces, with your finger. Wipe with an absorbent cloth.

  • Clean deck carpets with 1/4 cup liquid Wisk laundry detergent and 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar in 1 quart of hot water. Use a damp sponge and rub in a circular motion. Blot dry.

  • To keep boat vinyl looking new, wash regularly with a mild dish detergent, then lightly coat with petroleum jelly.

  • Add 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle when washing musty fabrics to make the small disappear.

  • Spray deodorant or Hair spray to remove pen marks from vinyl, canvas, and upholstery.

  • Prevent leather from cracking by polishing regularly with a cream made of 1 part vinegar and 2 parts linseed oil. Never use mink oil, it attracts insects and smells.

  • For fresh grease and oil stains, sprinkle with talcum or cornstarch. Rub well and let stand until the stain in absorbed. Brush off and wipe with a damp cloth.

  • Plain old dirt on upholstery? Get it off with shaving cream.


  • To remove ugly brown spots on glass, use full strength hydrogen peroxide.

  • Freshly dried plaint comes off glass with a hot vinegar solution or nail polish remover.

  • Use newspaper to clean windows. They leave less lint than paper towels.

  • Mixing 2 cups of dishwater soap into 5 gallons of water makes a fine window wash.

  • Use 1/2 water, 1/2 ammonia mix to remove cigarette smoke residue from the inside of cabin windows.


  • Blood on unprotected wood should be washed immediately. Lightly wet-sand and swab with hydrogen peroxide.

  • Clean oak and mahogany by wiping with a cloth dipped in warm beer.

  • Cover minor scratches with a generous amount of petroleum jelly. Leave it on for 24 hours. Rub into the wood, remove the excess and polish as usual.

  • Have scratches marred your teak? Rub the meat of a pecan into them.

  • Control mold in teak with a mixture of 4 parts bleach to 1 part saltwater. Scrub with a brush across the grain, not with it, then rinse with saltwater.


  • Unnecessary static on the VHF radio may be caused by buildup on the antenna connector. Clean with WD-40, CRC's QD Electronics Cleaner, or a pencil eraser.

  • Before you plug in your electronic equipment for the new boating season, protect their connections by giving them a shot of a non-solvent based anti-corrosive such as Corrosion-X or Corrosion Buster.


  • If you think you have water in your lube oil, heat a few tablespoons in a frying pan; if it boils, there's water.

  • Clean wire-mesh engine filters by soaking in hot water and baking soda.

  • Warm a sponge in the microwave before wiping up oil spills. This thins the oil so the sponge can absorb more.

  • Before spraying engine cleaner, cover the distributor, coil and carburetor with Saran Wrap to avoid damage.


  • Remove rust stains that have marred your fiberglass with cola. Rub on with cloth. For a stronger version, mix in some salt, which acts as an abrasive. Rinse thoroughly.

  • To remove black scuff marks from the deck or hull, dip a rag in concentrated lemon juice and buff well, then reapply wax.

  • Washing your boat using hard water can leave a mineral residue. To prevent this unsightly marking, simply add a water softener, such as Calgon, to the bucket.


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