If there’s one thing we pride ourselves on here at The Watercraft Journal is really beating on our test subjects for our weekly reviews. Be it a brand spankin’ new personal watercraft that we flog relentlessly for a day or two (or more), or some really nice riding gear or fancy products that come our way, we really push these products to their limits. You might think that we’re a little too rough, but we need to cram in as much wear and tear in a short time to provide you the real results.
That being said, when we received a big ol’ box from our friends at Jet Renu, we knew exactly what we were going to do for our first product test. Our subject was a long forgotten 2002 Sea-Doo GTI LE sitting in the back lot of America’s Motorsports’ Madison, Tennessee location. Parked for years beneath a tree on a trailer with flat tires, it collected leaves, mold, rain and ice. There it was left to die.
The line of Jet Renu cleaning and detailing products were likely never designed to tackle something this heinous, as most of the cleaners and degreasers the company sells are purposefully gentle on the fairer materials like vinyls, plastics and decals. Nevertheless, we wanted to push the restorative attributes of the entire Jet Renu line to see just how far we could go.
To properly tackle a job this intense, we employed all of Jet Renu’s products provided, including their Yellow degreaser, Green vinyl cleaner, Red waterspot remover, Purple wash, Pink polish, White protectant, Tan cleaner wax, and Blue plastic polish, as well as a medium-strength bristle brush, a fine detail brush, a water absorbent towel, several microfiber towels, an applicator pad, and a portable electric drill with a foam polishing cone.
As we waited for the hose to fill our 5-gallon with Jet Renu’s Purple boat wash, we sprayed a generous amount of the Yellow degreaser over the entirety of the ski. We wanted the semi-caustic solution to start breaking up the mold and mildew that had been allowed to grow over the years.
With our bucket filling with suds, we adjusted our hose nozzle to “jet” and began spraying off the first of many, many layers of grime and the degreaser. Next we forewent our wooly wash mitt and used our bristle brush to scrub every exposed inch of the Sea-Doo runabout.
The Yellow, Purple and Red (waterspot remover) all managed to strip years of Mother Nature from the while deck, multicolored decals and gold and purple plastics. Beneath the mold we uncovered damage to the gel coat and paint that would otherwise have gone unnoticed.
We found that the Green vinyl cleaner (which we found to be not too far removed from common “Simple Green”) was a little too mild to truly remove any discoloration on the seats. It did manage to clean the vinyl’s surface but not undue the long term effects of prolonged exposure to the elements.
With the ski properly cleaned, the white gel coat required a significant amount of buffing. Using a portable electric drill and a conical buffing pad, we used nearly half a bottle of Jet Renu’s Tan cleaning wax. Unlike many waxes or polishes, cleaning waxes are one part rubbing compound, one part wax. Their grittiness is what removes discoloration, staining and scuffs while its wax leaves a clean, smooth surface.
We found the Tan to be far too gentle to extract all of the discoloring from the porous surface. Of course, this level of cleaning wax is meant for general aesthetic maintenance, not repair or restoration like what we were doing here. A harsher grit compound would be needed to really bring back the luster of the original gel coat, but we found the Tan to be a suitable tool in our effort.
Using a microfiber towel to wipe down the ski, we next passed over all of the plastics with Jet Renu’s Blue plastic polish. This has little to no grit, so it won’t scratch or haze the soft surfaces or thinner paint used on hoods, cowlings and other plastic panels. The Blue also works as a good second coat of wax if you’re looking to really bring out the shine in your watercraft.
We used the White protectant on all of the natural plastic and vinyl components like the rear handrail, handlebars, grips and steering pad. We also used it to bring back the natural shine of the plastic traction mats, bondrail bumper and sponsons that had since faded over the years.
All in all, what we discovered the entire Jet Renu watercraft cleaning system to be a great off-the-shelf package for washing, cleaning and polishing a well-maintained, well-loved personal watercraft. Our neglected ugly duckling ’02 Sea-Doo GTI LE – be it long forgotten and left to rot in a backlot – revealed itself to be quite the swan after a day’s work.
We’d like to take another pass at with with some stronger abrasives and cutting compounds before making another round with Jet Renu’s polishes and waxes, we know we can really pull the luster back out of this unit, but we’ll save that for another technical article.
Again, we were very satisfied with how well the Jet Renu cleaners worked, their pleasant smells (that’s always a plus) and how easily they organically broke down when sprayed off of the driveway. We want to be environmentally-minded with chemicals like these as we know most of you do most of your washing after a ride at the launch ramp.