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How to Clean a Stainless Boat Propeller

Stainless steel propellers will change colors and they will develop light surface rust.

Stainless steel propellers can fall victim to chemicals in the water.
Those shiny stainless propellers with a brushed surface are worse about this problem than propellers with a bright finish. The changes are the result of the medium in which the propellers spend time: polluted water, water with a high lime or calcium content. Some color changes may even occur because of galvanic corrosion. You can deal with all of them quickly. .

Dip the "scrubbing" side of a scrubber sponge into rubbing compound. Scrub all the surfaces of the stainless steel propeller with the scrubber sponge to remove rust. Scrub with the rubbing compound until the surface of the propeller is clean.

Mix 1 cup of Epsom salts with 1 gallon of water. Dip a clean cloth into the mix and use it to wash the stainless propeller that's turned white from calcium or lime in the water. An alternative to Epsom salts is a commercial lime and calcium removal chemical, available at most discount retailers.

Apply chrome bumper polish to the clean propeller with a clean cloth, using a circular motion to ensure complete coverage. Allow the polish to dry to a haze, then wipe it away with a second, clean cloth. This helps protect the propeller's surface and prevent or minimize a reoccurring problem.

Things You Will Need

  • Scrubber sponge
  • Rubbing compound
  • Clean cloths
  • Epsom salts
  • Chrome polish

Tip

  • Look at your zinc anodes. If the anodes are more than half-depleted, replace them.

About the Author

Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.