Kayak Cleaning, Maintenance And Repairs

Kayak Cleaning, Maintenance and Repair

Owning a kayak is an investment.

And like any other investment, we want to see a good return.

If we want to get the most return out of our kayaks, we have to keep them cleaned, maintained and repaired.

But after purchasing a kayak you might ask yourself things like “how do I keep it clean? What tools are used to fix kayaks? How do I replace parts?” Well not to worry! We at Fin Bin are here to help.

Kayaks are suseptable to things like cracking, broken rutters, UV dammage and scratches. Keeping a kayak cleaned and polished can minimize their occurance.

If your kayak does happen to get dammaged, or just needs a good tune up, this guide is your key to keeping that kayak fresh and ready for use.

So grab that sand paper, dust off that can of resin and let’s get to work!


The first step in keeping a kayak in great shape is cleaning it regularly. I like to clean mine after each use. It may seem monotonous, but it the long run it is worth it. Protecting the outer coating on a kayak helps to prevent things like scratching, warping or UV dammage. It doesn’t hurt to polish it every so often, either.

After each use: 

When the kayak comes out of the water, it’s important to wash away any debree, marsh water or salt. Any fresh water and hose will work. Make sure you have enough pressure coming out of the hose to wash away dirt and debris. A solid rinse after a paddle will work just fine.

After several paddles:

About every third or fourth time I take my kayak out, I like to go beyond a good rinse and give it a thorough scrub. To start, rinse the kayak off wish fresh water from a pressurized hose. Once any major dirt or debris accumulation is rinsed off, start scrubbing the kayak with some good automotive or boat soap. Make sure that the soap you choose is gel-coat friendly.

You can fill a bucket with water and add soap as per directions of product you choose. Give the kayak a good scrub down with the soap and a soft sponge or microfiber washcloth. Do not use anything like steel wool, bristle pads or anything else too scratchy on the kayak, it will scratch it. After giving the kayak a good scrub, simply rinse it with your fresh water hose again and let it dry, preferably in shade.

Stain Removal:

sometimes dirt and debris can stain a kayak, whether it is made of polyethylene or composite fibers. There are products you can use, like FSR stain removal to scrub out even the most stubborn stains.

Cleaning a Kayak using RinseKit
Kayak Cleaning


Along with cleaning, regular maintenance will keep your kayak in top notch shape for a longer period of time. Maintenance is a great way to avoid future damages like scratches, dents, broken harware or bad rigging.


After cleaning a kayak, periodically polishing a it can reduce the appearance of pre-existing scratching. It also prevents future fading, UV damage and salt water degradation. Polishing is easy. After removing any deck lines that will get in the way, get a soft rag or sponge that won’t scratch your kayak. Pour some polish on it like Armor All's Kayak and Watersports Protector for composite kayaks or Kayak Protectant by Aerospace for plastic. In consistent circular motions, wipe the polish over the kayak until the entire surface is covered.

Inspect the Rigging:

It’s important to find out if anything is wrong with your kayak before you get out on the water. The last thing a paddler wants is to find out the rudder is broken in the middle of a lake. Check for signs of broken or degrading bungee chords. Look over the cables to the rudders and foot braces if you have them. Broken or rusty cables will get you nowhere out on the water. Give your paddle a good once over as well, making sure the shaft isn’t dented or the paddle isn’t stuck in place from salt water rust.


There are a lot of repair options when kayaks get damaged. Depending on the severity of the damage, you can perform these repairs yourself, or send it in to the manufacturer. Some kayaks are sold with a warranty guaranteeing free repairs for a certain amount of time. If you repair your kayak yourself, make sure you check with the manufacturer on what material your kayak is made from before proceeding.

Holes and cracks:

Most holes and cracks on plastic and composite kayaks can be fixed with DIY kits that have fiberglass patches, epoxy resins, welding rods and applicators. If a patch and welding rod won’t do the job, having scrapes of plastic is handy for larger holes. With a heat gun, you can weld the plastic onto to kayak to cover the hole. For in-depth repair instructions, youtube videos are super helpful!


If there are no holes or cracks at the edges of a dent, fixing one can be quite simple. The plastic can be heated with a hair dryer, boiling water (not recommended as it will dangerously splash everywhere,) or a heat gun. Once the dent is heated enough, it will mold back into its original shape with applied pressure.

Replacing hardware:

Sometimes hardware on a kayak will break and need to be fixed or replaced. Aside from having your everyday handy set of tools, many kayakers order replacement parts or specific tools made special for kayaks. Kayak retailers and outdoor sport stores can supply you with parts such as new bunge line, rudders and foot braces. Below is a list of awesome hardware repair videos.

1.Repairing a rudder

2.Rudder line repair

3.Replacing deck lines

4.Replacing foot brace system

Take care of your kayak

If you take care of your kayak, it will take care of you. Cleaning and repairing seems tedious in the moment, but it’s really important in sustaining the integrity of your boat. Kayaking is a wonderful investment into your health and happiness, so keep your kayak cleaned, repaired and maintained, and you will have years of paddling fun to come.

For a deeper look at some our favorite kayaks on the market, make sure to visit our main page at finbin.net/best-kayak.