Saving Aquatic Life: Cleaning Your Boat Deck Responsibly

When cleaning your deck, it is important to protect the marine environment that surrounds us. It is also important to be mindful of the potential harm to aquatic life during certain cleaning processes. Using eco-friendly practices is crucial to maintaining the cleanliness of our waterways. This applies not only to when cleaning your boat on the water but also on land.

In this blog post, we want to highlight the importance of responsible cleaning practices. There are also a few quick tips that we think may help to minimise your impact on aquatic ecosystems as well as suggesting how to keep your Flexiteek deck clean.

Image of Beautiful reef and orange fish in Okinawa sea by Hiroko Yoshii

Why aquatic life protection matters?

When cleaning your boat, it is critical to be aware of the products you use. Many boat cleaning products are harmful to aquatic life and can easily enter local watercourses, coastal areas, and the marine environment. Typically, we only recommend a PH neutral cleaning product for Flexiteek decks.

We do not recommend these popular products and would strongly advise boat owners not to use them:

Awlwash, Dawn Washing Liquid, Starbrite, Simple Green, OrPine, Deck Cleaner by The Natural way of Cleaning, Marine Boat Wash by Meguiars, CSM by Orlichem, Nano Wash by Nanotech, Armor All Wash and Wax and Citru-Solve. Cleaners containing Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) can also damage any caulking compounds used around decking.

Many of these products contain harmful ingredients such as :

  • Chlorine
  • Ammonia
  • Potassium hydroxide
  • Solvents

All of which pose significant threats to aquatic life. We can often find harmful ingredients in the most common cleaners that you wouldn’t think would cause damage. Many detergents contain phosphates, which, when introduced to a water source, can act as a fertiliser leading to algal blooms. This causes oxygen depletion, which can have catastrophic effects on marine life.

If we want to enjoy aquatic life when out on the water, it is imperative we adopt environmentally friendly measures when cleaning the exteriors of boats. This includes the products we use in everyday life on the boat. This will help safeguard the delicate balance of marine ecosystems, ensuring we can enjoy them when out on the water.

Image of a Karcher jet wash cleaning a Flexiteek deck

How to reduce your impact

  1. Choose environmentally conscious cleaning products for your boat – When selecting cleaning products for area of your boat other than your beautiful Flexiteek deck, look for biodegradable and phosphate-free alternatives. This will minimise the release of harmful substances into the ecosystem. We recommend only cleaning your Flexiteek deck with the approved PH neutral Flexiteek Cleaner.
  2. Consider non-toxic cleaning methods – Consider cleaning your boat with non-toxic methods instead of chemical cleaners. The use of a nylon brush and water can often be enough to remove dirt and grime from your deck during routine cleaning. When confronted with more stubborn stains, use a jet wash. This can reduce the need for harmful substances.
  3. Clean on land when possible – If it is feasible, wash your boat on land rather than in the water. By doing so, you reduce the risk of pollution and cleaning products directly entering the water system. Many marinas offer designated boat cleaning areas with proper waste disposal facilities, ensuring all contaminates are disposed of responsibly. This is particularly important when re-sanding your Flexiteek deck to remove stubborn stains like oil, grease, wine and other stains.

We understand maintenance of your boat is essential, but we should all try to minimise our impact on aquatic life. By adopting some of these responsible cleaning practices, we can go some way to change outcomes for the better. Together and collectively, we can make a positive impact and ensure the future of our marine ecosystems.

Find out more about more about the care and maintenance of your deck.


Flexiteek is the original market-leading manufacturer of synthetic teak decking. Founded in 2000, many of the original decks laid are still going strong and looking great to this day. There is a worldwide reach relying on a cultivated global distributor network and over 200 of the world’s leading boat builders. For more information visit

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