Salt water exposure and cleaning

Questions, suggestions, answers, products etc. about repairing, cleaning and maintaining your kayak.

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Salt water exposure and cleaning

Post by destiny16 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:01 pm

Hi, I plan to use my kayak in saltwater frequently (once or more a week).

Question is - do I need to rinse my kayak with fresh water after every use? Or is rinsing it off every couple weeks sufficient? I know saltwater is corrosive, but I live in a condo so it would be hard for me to clean it often.

Also, unless I store it away for weeks or months, I plan to deflate it partially and fold in half after every use. Do I need to dry it out completely (given I plan to use it again every 2-3 days)?


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Post by JCOOLEY » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:28 am

If you do not have the capability to rinse it down every time, then every couple of weeks will do. You should make sure though to clean the zippers after every use to keep the salt from building up and seizing them. You can get Zip Care from McNett or a similar cleaner to help keep them clean. You will also want to do this to your paddles because the salt will also corrode the buttons and any other metal parts. If you cannot clean the entire kayak each time, you may see some slight staining from the salt water but noting to be alarmed about. Most of it will disappear when given a good wash.

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Post by PJohanson » Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:56 pm

As JCooley says, these kayaks don't need to be rinsed every time they're used on salt water. I don't mind a little mottling of the upper deck surface, that's a feature of an actively-used kayak in my mind! I wash my oldest kayak once or twice a year, even though it's used every week.
It's the zippers that are most affected by salt water, both on the kayaks and on the carrying bags. Zip Care works fine to keep the tracks clean, and I've also used silicone lube. The big problem I've noticed with my kayaks on any of the models is the zipper heads themselves: once a zipper head corrodes, a perfectly good zipper is frozen in place.
The zipper heads can corrode even when a kayak is folded up inside its bag, whether the zipper is on the kayak or the bag. Maybe it's salt on the bag or kayak, or humidity in the air.

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Post by smith23 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:57 pm

To clean a kayak, fill a bucket with water and include some mild dish soap. Take off all removable parts, and then using a soft, clean cloth, wash the kayak inside and out, then rinse the entire boat off with clean water.

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