Spring Cleaning: Canoe Maintenance

Scout: Stacy Hoover



After you pull off the tarp and before you take out you canoe for this season’s maiden voyage, a few extra steps will keep your canoe looking good throughout the season. You can make your de-winterizing routine as simple or as complicated as you want, but here is how we do it.


What you need: your canoe, sand paper (100 & 220 grit), gunwale guard or oil, sponge brush, rag, biodegradable detergent, marine wax and/or 303 Protectant.


Start out by cleaning your gunwales to remove any gunk or residue. We use some fine steal wool (you could also use 100 grit sand paper) to open up the wood to better absorb the oil. Before applying the oil make sure you dust off the gunwales with a rag to remove any dust. Depending on which oil you choose, use a brush or rag to apply the oil on the tops, sides and underside of the gunwales. While the oil is still wet, use 220 grit sand paper to wet sand the gunwales. Let them dry.


After gunwale care is done, give your canoe’s hull a nice cleaning with any biodegradable detergent. Depending on your use and storage conditions, or simply preference, wax and use a UV protectant such as 303 on your hull. The 303 protectant will restore color and provide UV protection to your hull.


All done, take it our and be sure to store it correctly.