Saturday, March 30, 2024

How To Clean Mold Off Boat Canvas

First Step: Prep Work

How to clean mold and mildew off your boat or RV canvas or any canvas

Before you grab a bucket and scrub brush, there is some prep work involved in getting your cushions or seats ready to clean. First, you’ll want to work outside so you don’t spread the mold spores to any indoor furniture or materials. If possible, clean your fabric on a sunny day because sunlight kills mold and prevents it from spreading. First, sweep any visible mold from your cushions using a broom. Be careful not to spread the mold to unaffected areas of fabric. If your mold problem is severe, you might want to also vacuum your cushions after brushing them off as well. Discard the vacuum bag and disinfect the vacuum unit to prevent the spread of mold spores. Now you can move on to cleaning the cushions using one or more of the steps below.

Treating Mould & Mildew On Your Boat

As all boaties know, keeping mould and mildew at bay is a constant battle and whenever one goes into a battle it helps to know the enemy.

Since its impossible to keep mould and mildew spores out, we have to control interior conditions so the little critters cant populate at all! Mould not only damages boats – it can also be a health hazard. Many studies show that exposure to mould and mildew are linked to a variety of health problems, especially those relating to respiratory systems.

If a mould spore comes in contact with a moist object, it will stick, and if the object remains moist for 24 hours, the spore will begin to grow. Generally, by the time you detect the musty smell of mould and mildew, it has taken a good hold of its surface.

As mould grows, it digests and damages whatever it grows on – and if it multiplies on carpet or upholstery, those items almost always have to be ditched. A similar fate awaits ceiling tiles and headliners. If mould/mildew takes hold on cloth, leather or vinyl it can destroy them quickly. Mould loves the cotton thread used in stitching on cushions and so the destruction can be quick and ruthless. If the cushion inners are exposed to the mould they will need to be discarded.

Can A Canvas Boat Cover Or Bimini Top Be Machine Washed

I didnt do this myself, but on social media, I saw instances where pontoon boat owners threw the canvas top into a washer and got great results.

Here is the best article Ive read online about cleaning methods for washing machines:

In our washing machine, I wash my pontoon Bimini top canvas using Oxyclean. I then place it back on the Bimini frame until the cycle is done, so it can dry out in the light. I have a front loader as a caveat and the whole canvas fits in there. I have two Biminis on a 25-foot pontoon boat, and with their respective covers, I wash them one at a time. I took the boat cover to the coin laundry because it was too heavy!

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Removing Mildew From A Canvas Boat Cover

What you need to know here is that mildew is not just a fungal growth per se, and besides obvious health concerns, it can be quite damaging too. In terms of fabrics, mildew can actually eat through and degrade them, and yes, this goes for canvas boat covers too. Mildew can actually eat holes straight through a canvas boat cover if left untreated for a prolonged period of time. So, lets go over some techniques and tips on how to remove mildew from your canvas boat cover.

Cleaning Bimini Tops Canvas

Canvas Boat Cover Cleaning on a Budget! Removing Mold ...

Ever wonder how to clean your Bimini in a cheap yet efficient way? Here are some simple ways to start cleaning that canvas boat covering.

  • Take the Bimini canvas out of the frame and boat. Carefully unclip and tug the Bimini top and canvas from the frame. Make sure you do this gently or you can rip the canvas.
  • Place the boat canvas flat on the floor. You can place it on your driveway or porch so its flat. Put some rocks for added weight so the wind will not blow it away as this will only make it dirtier. You can also use fitness weights if you cant find rocks in your yard.
  • Clean the mildew and dirt with a pressure washer. You can also use a spray bottle if you havent any of these at home. You can also use a soft scrub brush. However, if you have the chance to grab a pressure washer from your local shop, it will be a great help as it will make your cleaning job easier.
  • Heres an additional tip: Try using a mildew stain remover while using your pressure washers to remove mold, too. You can also remove elbow grease from your sunbrella fabric by doing the same. Start with low pressure and gradually increase until mildew spores are gone. Setting your pressure washer on high during the initial cleaning stage can cause the canvas to tear especially when it hits a vulnerable spot.

  • Allow your Bimini to air dry in the sun. Drying it under sunshine will make it look brand-new. It also removes 95% of mildew and mold spores as well as other mold stains present in the canvas.
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    Mould Requires Only Two Opportunities To Grow


    From water leaks in the boat OR water vapour which eventually condenses into a visible liquid which we measure as humidity. 60%+ humidity is a very welcoming environment for mould to grow.

    • Keep the water vapour under control by making sure your boat is properly ventilated.
    • Stop any leaks and control the humidity, or mould will start to grow again after your clean-up. You need a measuring system or hygrometer to tell if your ventilating is doing the job.


    Ensure that any food prep areas are meticulously cleaned as they are not impervious to mould growth. Otherwise, you will create a veritable smorgasbord for any mould. It is your food that the mould feeds on. Mould spores are so incredibly small and the food they need is very microscopic in size. In the worst case scenario – if mould gets a hold on high gloss melamine laminate, the enzymes dull the finish and the original finish cannot be restored. The surface will have to be refinished with a special paint.

    • Dont be fooled into thinking that by wiping the benches with a normal kitchen cloth you will have a truly clean surface. This is just not true.
    • Check that breadcrumbs for example, dont fall between the grooves or you will be guilty of feeding a mould colony for months.

    Spray the Wet & Forget Indoor directly onto the mould or mildew. Once the mould or mildew is loosened, wipe it away to clean the area thoroughly.

    Why Does Mildew & Mold Occur

    Both mildew and mold often occur due to moisture. Yes, the fungal spores do have to be present, but to be fair, they are present in many different places, both in nature and manmade settings. Mold and mildew both grow abundantly when there is lots of moisture around, and the temperatures are right.

    When it comes to your boat and the canvas cover you are using, mildew can occur on the boat if the canvas cover lets moisture in. Moreover, when it comes to the canvas cover itself, canvas is not totally waterproof, and its a type of fabric that will retain some moisture. Even with great waterproofing products, canvas boat covers are still fairly susceptible to mildew growth, especially when it comes to long term storage. As soon as there is moisture, the right temperature, mildew spores in the air, and a surface to cling to, such as your boat or the canvas cover, mildew is likely to grow.

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    Dont Create Additional Work For Yourself

    Canvas Boat Cover Cleaning on a Budget! Removing Mold/Stains. ** Read Description **

    Many people start out by cleaning their boat seats with a low-grade, low-intensity cleaner such as dish detergent solution to see if that does the job. Unless your problem is very minor, you may as well skip this step. If your mildew or mold problem is serious enough to cause odor, theres a good chance its already deep-set in your boat seats. Youre going to need a cleaner with a little more heft to make quick work of it.

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    Can You Get Mold Out Of Fabric

    It is possible to kill mold on clothes by washing them in a bleach and water solution. In addition to fading mold stains from clothes, bleach can also remove stains left behind by bacteria. Instead of making your own bleach solution, you can use commercial bleaching detergents like Clorox or Oxiclean to wash your clothes.

    How Not To Clean Mildew From Bimini Top

    In the video below you can see an example where a guy washes and cleans down the Bimini using bleach to get rid of mildew and stubborn stains.

    This is the exact method I recommend you dont do.

    This is what he does if you dont have time to watch the video in full.

    What he uses:

    • ¼ cup of mild soap
    • Soft bristle brush

    How he cleans the Bimini:

    He then cleans the Bimini top up with a soft bristle brush, allowing the mix of bleach, soap, and water to soak into the canvas for 15 minutes.

    And finally, he rinses the Bimini with water until all the soap, residue, and mildew or mold is cleaned away, before letting the canvas dry out in the sun.

    Now, I wont lie to you and say that the results he gets looks good.

    But thats not really the problem here, as visually it looks clean.

    However, if this cleaning process is repeated regularly what youre going to find is that over time the threads will start to pull apart. The canvas can also become discolored and faded.

    Watch the video now, but dont do this!

    Can you machine wash a canvas boat cover or Bimini?

    Ive not done this myself but have seen examples on social media where pontoon boat owners have thrown the canvas top into a washer and got great results.

    Here is the best comment I read online regarding washing machine cleaning methods:

    Can a laundromat clean a boat Bimini top?

    Can you clean a Bimini canvas in a swimming pool?

    Yes, you heard that right!

    Whats the best way to clean mildew off boat seats?

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    This is the dramatic seafood paella that looks stunning, with crustaceans and shellfish. You can vary…

    Alton Brown’s turkey brine recipe from Good Eats will give you a flavorful Thanksgiving turkey with juicy…

    Bone-in turkey breasts are easy to find, and as impressive as a whole bird when you roast them in butter…

    Make and share this Basic All Purpose Brine for Meats, Chicken, and Turkey recipe from

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    What Is The Best Method For Removing Mildew From Boat Seats

    Click here for the best way to clean a boat

    To clean mildew is a real struggle when it comes to vinyl boat seats. But you can prevent this by planning and being well prepared. You can spray a mildew stain remover instead of using chemicals that can harm it. Leave it for 5 minutes and then take soft brushes and lightly scrub to get the dirt and mold loosened. Then you can have it wiped using a microfiber cloth.

    The process above is the best way to remove mildew from vinyl seats and is expected to give excellent results. Lets get into more detail to prevent possible damage and harm on your vinyl, fabric, and upholstered seats.

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    Apply Protectant To The Canvas

    When your Bimini is dry, add some protective marine grade 303 to it. I buy one that has a UV cover in it as well since it will help shield the canvas from the light. For obvious reasons, I did put extra on the seams.

    To help avoid premature aging, cracking, and fading, products have a great product that contains strong UV blockers, I use marine grade 303 product.

    Camper Trailer Canvas Mould Remover

    A common issue amongst camper trailer, tent and caravan owners, is packing up the canvas material before its 100% dry, or storing it in a humid location for an extended period of time. Next time the camper trailer, tent or caravan annex is unfolded, there is minor and sometimes heavy mould growth. Once mould gets into canvas or similar heavy fabrics, it takes a lot of elbow grease to remove, and quite often the mould will not come out without leaving stains if at all.

    Now you can clean the mould fast, with no scrubbing

    Glamping Tents Trailer Canvas Awnings Sun Shade & Shade Sails

    Recently we had a camper trailer owner use our Curtain Magic Mould Remover on their mouldy canvas, with remarkable results. Further to this, the results lead to a positive viral response on Facebook and we now have a very happy family of campervan, caravan and tent owners in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, who now have a DIY mould removal product option for their canvas tents, pop-ups and awnings, at an affordable price. No scrubbing required.

    No Scrubbing No Wiping!

    Watch amazing 40sec video sent in from a customer, cleaning mould from a canvas glamping tent

    • Really mouldy to white!


    I just wanted to send you a quick message to say how great your product is!

    I received my first order from you yesterday and Im amazed at how much it has eaten the mould off already after10 minutes!

    Well done and thankyou! Arlette B

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    Ways To Combat Mold And Mildew In Your Boat

    CoverQuest Nov 1, 2017

    Mold and mildew are the bane of every boat owner. These fungi can do serious damage to a boat if not kept in check. And mold doesnt create problems only for your boat. Mold can cause health issues, including joint pain, headaches, fatigue, and respiratory problems.

    If that isnt enough to motivate you to prevent mold and mildew in your boat, know that most insurance policies dont cover mold or mildew damage. Once an infestation has done its work, youll be left with costly repairs and the stress of addressing them.

    This article will share what to do if mold and mildew have already taken up residence in your boat, and will show you how to prevent these fungi from causing problems in the future. Well examine how to protect your investment while youre out on the water as well as while your boat is covered, in storage for the season.

    Mold and mildew will require you to be vigilant to keep them away, but dealing with either of these growths is fairly straightforward. Heres what you need to know.

    Mastering Mold: How To Remove Mildew Stains From Your Boat Seats

    Cleaning mold from Sunbrella boat canvas Boating Vlog Episode 2

    Boats give us numerous opportunities to enjoy the waters, but that comes with constant exposure to moisture that we need to handle. For our vessels to look their best and stay in good shape, regular cleaning and maintenance are necessary. Even with our best efforts, though, mold and mildew can start to form.

    While we want to keep all areas of our boats clean from mildew, our seats are particularly susceptible to this risk. By staying aware of the dangers and wiping down damp areas before putting our boats away, we can help prevent the buildup of mildew and mold. But what do we do once our seats start to become dirty?

    Thankfully, as long as you have the right tools and supplies, you can get your boat seats free of mildew. Our guide is here to get you through the process.

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