Cleaning and Storing Kayaks

Man wipes the kayak from water drops after a walk, on the lawn against the background of other boats, on a summer day.


Kayaking is a fun and exciting water sport that offers an excellent opportunity to explore the great outdoors. However, proper cleaning and storage of your kayak are crucial to maintaining its longevity and performance. In this article, we’ll discuss the step-by-step process of cleaning and storing your kayak, along with various storage solutions to consider.

Cleaning Your Kayak

A clean kayak not only looks good but also functions better. Regular cleaning helps prevent the buildup of dirt, grime, and algae that can damage your kayak over time. Here’s how to clean your kayak effectively:

Gather your cleaning supplies

Before you begin, assemble all the necessary cleaning supplies, such as a hose, a sponge or soft brush, mild soap, and clean water. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials, as they can damage the kayak’s surface.

Remove all accessories and gear

Take off any removable accessories and gear from your kayak, such as seats, paddles, and storage compartments. This will make it easier to clean every part of the kayak thoroughly.

Rinse and scrub the kayak

Start by rinsing the kayak with clean water to remove any loose dirt and debris. Next, use a sponge or soft brush with mild soap to gently scrub the kayak’s surface. Be sure to cover all areas, including the hull, deck, and cockpit.

Pay attention to hard-to-reach areas

Make sure to clean hard-to-reach areas, such as the kayak’s seams, edges, and any crevices where dirt and grime can accumulate. Use a smaller brush or an old toothbrush to clean these spots effectively.

Dry the kayak

After cleaning, rinse the kayak with clean water to remove any soap residue. Then, use a towel or chamois to dry the kayak thoroughly. Allowing the kayak to air dry in the sun can also be helpful.

Storing Your Kayak

Proper storage is essential to protect your kayak from damage and prolong its lifespan. Follow these tips to ensure your kayak stays in great condition during storage:

Choose the right storage location

Select a storage area that is dry, well-ventilated, and away from direct sunlight. Ideally, the storage location should be indoors or under a protective cover. Keep the kayak away from heat sources, such as radiators or furnaces, as high temperatures can cause warping or other damage.

Protect the kayak from the elements

If you must store your kayak outdoors, use a high-quality kayak cover to shield it from rain, sun, and snow. Ensure the cover is well-fitted and secured to prevent it from blowing off in strong winds.

Store the kayak properly

To avoid damage to your kayak, store it on its side or upside down on a flat, stable surface. Avoid placing the kayak directly on the ground, as moisture can seep in and cause damage. Consider using padded supports or cradles specifically designed for kayak storage.

Maintain the kayak during storage

Periodically check your kayak while it’s in storage to ensure it remains in good condition. Look for any signs of wear, damage, or moisture buildup, and address any issues promptly.

Kayak Storage Solutions

There are several storage solutions available to help you store your kayak safely and efficiently. Some popular options include:

Wall-mounted racks

Wall-mounted racks are a space-saving solution that allows you to store your kayak vertically or horizontally on a wall. Ensure that the rack is sturdy and securely fastened to the wall to prevent accidents or damage.

Ceiling-mounted hoists

Ceiling-mounted hoists are a convenient way to store your kayak overhead, freeing up valuable floor space. These systems typically use a pulley system to raise and lower the kayak, making it easy to access when needed. Be sure to install the hoist according to the manufacturer’s instructions and weight limits.

Freestanding racks

Freestanding racks offer a versatile and portable storage solution that doesn’t require any wall or ceiling mounting. These racks can hold multiple kayaks and can be easily moved or reconfigured as needed.

Storage sheds and covers

A storage shed or cover provides a dedicated space to protect your kayak from the elements. Choose a shed or cover that is well-ventilated and offers adequate protection from rain, sun, and snow.

Additional Tips for Kayak Care and Maintenance

To keep your kayak in the best possible condition, consider these extra tips for care and maintenance:

Regularly inspect your kayak

It’s a good idea to perform routine inspections of your kayak, especially before and after each outing. Check for any signs of damage, such as cracks, dents, or abrasions, and address any issues immediately.

Repair any damage promptly

If you find any damage during your inspections, don’t delay repairs. Small issues can quickly turn into more significant problems if left unaddressed. Consult your kayak’s manufacturer for guidance on repairs or seek professional help if needed.

Protect your kayak from UV exposure

Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause the color of your kayak to fade and weaken its material. When possible, store your kayak in a shaded area or use a UV-protective spray to shield it from the sun.

Replace worn parts

Over time, some kayak components may wear out or become less effective. Regularly inspect parts such as footrests, seats, and hatch covers, and replace them when necessary to ensure optimal performance.

Keep moving parts lubricated

To keep your kayak functioning smoothly, lubricate moving parts such as rudder assemblies and skeg systems as needed. Use a silicone-based lubricant to prevent the buildup of dirt and grime.

Rinse your kayak after saltwater use

If you use your kayak in saltwater, be sure to rinse it thoroughly with fresh water after each outing. This will help prevent corrosion and damage caused by salt buildup.

Learn basic kayak repair techniques

Being familiar with basic kayak repair techniques can be invaluable, especially if you encounter issues while out on the water. Consider taking a kayak repair workshop or researching online resources to learn how to address common problems.

By implementing these additional care and maintenance tips, you can further extend the life of your kayak and enjoy many more adventures on the water.


Proper cleaning and storage are essential for maintaining the longevity and performance of your kayak. By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll be well-equipped to keep your kayak in top condition for years to come. Happy kayaking!


How often should I clean my kayak?

It is recommended to clean your kayak after each use to prevent the buildup of dirt and grime. Regular cleaning can also help you spot and address any potential issues early on.

Can I use bleach to clean my kayak?

It is best to avoid using bleach or other harsh chemicals on your kayak, as they can damage the material. Instead, use a mild soap and water solution for cleaning.

Is it okay to store my kayak outside?

While it is preferable to store your kayak indoors or under a protective cover, it is possible to store it outside if necessary. Use a high-quality kayak cover to protect your kayak from the elements and check on it periodically to ensure it remains in good condition.

What should I do if I notice damage or wear on my kayak during storage?

If you spot any damage or wear on your kayak while it’s in storage, address the issue promptly. This may involve repairing the damage, applying protective coatings, or seeking professional advice if necessary.

How can I prevent my kayak from warping during storage?

To prevent warping, store your kayak on its side or upside down on a flat, stable surface. Avoid placing the kayak directly on the ground, and use padded supports or cradles to evenly distribute the weight.