Simple tips for a clean outboard

Shurhold Cleaning tips

June 20, 2022

Whether it’s a single small outboard on the back of a runabout or quads on an offshore center console, it’s important to maintain engines in showroom-like condition. Keeping cowlings clean not only makes the entire boat look better, but adds to their overall resale value. Shurhold offers some Clean-N-Simple tips for helping outboards look their best.

Unlike the deck and hull that are typically made of gelcoat, the engine cowling is likely painted and therefore softer than other onboard surfaces. It may also have 3D or printed graphics, so it needs to be cared for differently from the rest of the boat.

The first step to detailing an outboard is a thorough washing with a quality boat soap such as Shurhold Brite Wash. Biodegradable and environmentally friendly, it won’t strip away any previously applied wax. The formula quickly emulsifies the dirt, grime, hard water and salt baked into the paint surface by engine heat.
Using stiff-bristled brushes will leave small scratches in the paint that will then attract more dirt. It’s better to use a Soft or Extra Soft Hull Brush that will allow the soap to lift the sediment off and away from the surface. Shurhold offers a wide range of handles that its attachments snap onto, making reaching the back and sides of the outboard easier.

After rinsing, using a high-quality chamois such as a Deluxe Water Sprite Hand Towel or Mop will remove excess water before it dries. Water spots on black and grey outboard cowlings are especially noticeable and difficult to remove, detracting from the engine’s appearance.

Finally, it’s important to maintain a layer of wax on the outboards. A quality product such as Shurhold Pro Polish will act as a sacrificial barrier to make subsequent cleaning that much easier. Providing a deep, high-gloss shine, it contains UV inhibitors to protect paint from the harsh effects of the sun. A video of the entire process is at

Dedicated to educating boat owners, Shurhold provides key tips for boat value preservation at

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