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Refit Guide

The best techniques and gear to improve your boat.

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How to Clean a Rubber Rub Rail

Bumping into dock pilings will eventually take a toll on your boat's rub rail, but it can look new again with a solvent and some light elbow grease.

The seaworthiness of a boat is not dependent on its appearance, but in our experience, we tend to take better care of things that we’re proud to show off. You’ll be surprised at how many “gosh your boat looks nice” comments you get after cleaning your rub rail.

You just might be inspired to work on something something that makes your boat safer.

Getting your rub rail clean is simple. Here’s what you need to get started:


  • Solvent–such as Xylene (aka Xylol)
    A strong solvent like xylene or acetone will make this job much easier.
  • Steel Wool
    #0000 steel wool will give just enough abrasion to remove surface dirt.
  • Brush
    A stiff brush will help get dirt out of any cracks, nooks, and crannies.
  • Gloves
    Solvents can be harmful, so be sure to use proper protection.

Watch Chris from @sailingfika make easy work of it:

Do you think we got it wrong or are missing something? Let us know!
Curated By
Avatar of Chris Major Chris Major
Avatar of Brandon Keepers Brandon Keepers


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