How to Remove Stains From Gelcoat


Gelcoat is a polyurethane material most often used as an outer coating on boats, which provides a colored, glossy surface. One of the advantages to gelcoating is its resistance to sunlight. However, like any material, it is not resistant to salt and dirt stains. The more the boat is used, the more stains it will acquire, guaranteed. Proper maintenance will go a long way to keep your boat looking like new, but when the stains appear, you need to be ready to tackle them.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Degreaser (WD-40, Dawn dish soap, etc.)
  • Large sponge
  • White vinegar
  • Davis FSR (Fiberglass Stain Remover)
  • Spray the stained area down with water.

  • Apply a degreaser to the stain. Most stains attached to the gelcoat are oil-based at some level. The degreaser will help to break down the particles of the oil. WD-40 is great for this, but may be a little expensive, depending on the size of the stain. Dawn dish soap is a cheaper alternative, but it will require much more elbow grease. Let the degreaser sit for 10 minutes before removing.

  • Use a large sponge dipped in hot water to scrub the degreaser off. Keep cleaning the sponge out during this process so you're not transferring the stain to other parts of the boat.

  • With a sponge dipped in white vinegar, attack the stain. The salt retains most of the dirt and keeps the stain apparent. The white vinegar will destroy the salt and remove the other stain particles that the degreaser missed.

  • Rinse the stained area off with water.

  • Apply another coat of degreaser as you did before. This is the finishing process of prepping the stain to be removed. Don't dry the area.

  • Apply Davis FSR to the stain. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes.

  • Apply another coat of degreaser to remove the FSR.

  • Rinse the area with water. If the stain is not gone, then reapply the FSR.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can purchase Davis FSR at most marinas or order online at
  • Try not to get the FSR on paint or varnish.


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