The Great Metal Polish Showdown

Powerball puts a spin on boat metal polishing; Miracle Cloth holds top spot.


Practical Sailor

last tested metal polishes in March 2007, and the best choice for most jobs was the Miracle Cloth. The treated cloths best feature is its ease of use.

The Great Metal Polish Showdown

Since that test, Practical Sailor has come across a couple other products: another impregnated cloth product called the NautiKlean, two cloths that are meant to be used together; and Mothers Power Metal, a polish that can be used with the drill-mounted Powerball, a foam ball that allows power polishing around curves and in tight spaces. Theres also a smaller mini-Powerball.

Testers pitted the NautiKlean cloths and the Mothers mini-Powerball and Power Metal Polish against the Miracle Cloth on a variety of metals, including anodized aluminum, stainless steel, and bronze. Testers also included a one-year-old tub of Prism Polish, a conventional polish that did well in the last test.

The Miracle Cloth was consistently favored over the NautiKlean. The Powerball excelled on tough jobs, like mildly pitted aluminum. Although it required mixing, the Prism Polish worked as well as Mothers when used with a rag, and it outlasted our Miracle Cloth.

Bottom line: Miracle Cloth is the champ for day-to day cleaning, while the Powerball is good for big jobs. Prism Polish is good on stainless, and one tub goes a long way.

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Darrell Nicholson
Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 50 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising. Its independent tests are carried out by experienced sailors and marine industry professionals dedicated to providing objective evaluation and reporting about boats, gear, and the skills required to cross oceans. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser who has been director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division since 2005. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, has logged tens of thousands of miles in three oceans, and has skippered everything from pilot boats to day charter cats. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida. You can reach him at