Combating Mold And Mildew On Boats
Cowl-style vents help to circulate air below decks.
Mold, mildew and the odor they create can be a problem even on boats that appear to be clean and well ventilated. This is because, apart from the visible areas in a boats cabin, there are many areas that offer the dark, moist environment that these fungi crave. Think under quarter berths, v-berths, settees, hanging lockers, lazarettes, under cockpit seats, chain lockers, and a host of other hidden areas, many of which are barely accessible, if at all.
This Advisor discusses tactics and measures you can employ in what amounts to a continuous fight. Once you get a handle on it, your cabin will smell a whole lot fresherand those itchy eyes and that mysterious cough that you may have been experiencing might just go away too.
Cleaning Vinyl Boat Seats
There are few things more frustrating for a boat owner than mildew stains taking over your vinyl seats and comfy cushions. Not only are the black spots unattractive, but they can keep you from enjoying your time on board and even diminish the overall value of your boat. If you catch it early on, removing mold and mildew is fairly simple and can breathe new life into your boat’s interior. Keep reading to check out a few of our top tips for cleaning and maintaining vinyl boat seats on your pontoon boat.
One of the best ways to prevent mold and mildew from appearing on your vinyl seats is to keep up with a regular boat maintenance schedule. Stock your first-aid kit with alcohol wipes that you can grab for quick spot cleaning.
- Make a solution of 1 gallon of water and 1/4 cup of mild soap.
- Use a soft cloth or sponge to wipe the vinyl in a circular motion, avoiding pooling water in the seams.
- Rinse the seats with clean water and a clean cloth to remove excess soap.
Deep cleaning should be addressed whenever you put your boat away for the winter, mid-season and as you bring it back out in the spring.
- After cleaning with a mild soap solution and clean cloth, allow seats to dry completely and apply a vinyl cleaner with a soft-bristled brush or clean cloth.
Removing Deep Stains
Replacing Vinyl Seats
Proper Care for Your Bennington Pontoon Boat
Remember That Removing Isnt Preventing
Keeping your cushions dry in between boat trips can prevent mildew growth. Its even better if you have a climate-controlled space to keep your boat cushions in. Minimally, you should clean your cushions before the start of the season before putting the cushions away for the off-season. The start of the season is a great time to re-apply fabric protectants. You can purchase specialized marine protectants for vinyl seats, Sunbrella seats, or outdoor fabric seats.
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Active Vs Passive Ventilation
To prevent mold and mildew, you need to ensure that your boat is well ventilated. This can be as easy as opening hatches or portholes to create cross ventilation. But for times when you are away, you will need to rely on either active or passive ventilators to keep the moisture level down. Passive ventilators, such as cowl vents, clamshell vents, louvered vents, ventilating sails, ports and hatches provide an access path for air to enter or leave the interior of the boat. As long as either the boat or the air itself are moving, they work just fine.
Active ventilators, such as Nicros Day/Night Plus Solar Vents incorporate a fan to keep air moving even when the boat or breeze is still. Solar energy or ships power is used to power the fan, depending on the ventilator. These vents come with both intake and exhaust fan blades for flexibility in creating your ventilation system.
Day/Night Plus Solar Vents operate 24/7 to bring fresh air below decks.
When you are away from your boat, it is a good idea to leave the doors to hanging lockers and other enclosed spaces open to allow air to circulate and reduce moisture. This includes the spaces underneath your boats cushions, which can be left turned on their sides with the access covers to hull areas underneath removed.
Things That You Need To Get Rid Of Mildew On Vinyl Boat Seats
There are different types of boats, but most manufacturers choose vinyl for the seats. Its because this material is tough enough to withstand wet conditions. As you know, boats are always exposed to water and other strains that are related to it.
Cleaning and getting rid of mildew on vinyl boat seats can be done manually. But you have to collect things that help you achieve a desirable result. They dont cost much so, what youll have to spend a lot is your time and effort on cleaning.
- Mold and mildew remover
- A soft brush
- Microfiber cloth
- Magic eraser
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Removing Mildew From Boat Carpet
I also wanted to share with you a quick tip on how you can also clean up mildew and mold from a boat carpet, where you have fabric flooring rather than vinyl.
The best method I have used in the past is to use a product called Wet and Forget carpet cleaner. Ive used it on my pontoon and also on a house boat and it gives excellent cleaning results.
This spray is a mix of hydrogen peroxide and water, but with some added elements , but it wont bleach the carpet or upholstery. From what I read, this is exactly the same approach that many people used after Hurricane Katrina and it works well on all wet environment applications.
Once you have got rid of the boat carpet mold, you want to treat it to reduce the chances of the mold coming back in the future.
The best mold treatment product I have used is called Mold Control. You can , and then using a cheap water sprayer, place it down on the affected area.
Facebook comments & feedback
After the success of my original article on the best way to clean mildew off boat seats on a pontoon, I asked for some feedback and comments on Facebook. Heres a short selection of that feedback from other boat owners.
I was really grateful when you published the vinyl boat seat cleaning mildew guide. I had tried other method, scrubbed hard, and even pressure washed but with zero results. This works perfectly and I am no longer embarrassed about inviting people on board.
Star Brite Mold & Mildew Stain Remover
The Star Brite Mold & Mildew Stain Remover is the answer to my question of how to clean white vinyl boat seats. This product works like magic as it not only whitens but also removes mold and mildew stains on my boat seats. It served its purpose well without incurring any damage.
This products notable feature is its special bleach buffered formula, perfect for marine vinyl upholstery applications. I used this product for boat mold removal, and it didnt disappoint. Its fast-acting formula lifted the molds from my boat seats in less than half an hour.
Needless to say, removing mildew stains on boat seats without heavy scrubbing is made simple with this product. It is easy to use as it comes in a spray bottle. All you have to do is spray it on the stained surface, wait until it absorbs, and wash it off with water.
One of my boats suffers from severe mold and mildew, which I have not been able to solve by any other stain removers. It always took me long hours of scrubbing until I discovered this product. It saved my time and effort as it worked amazingly.
- Worked better than diluted bleach
- With bleach-and-chlorine-like smell
- Requires reapplying of marine sealant
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Will Vinegar Make The Canvas Smell After It Dries
No, using white vinegar to clean mildew out of canvas will not cause the canvas to smell like vinegar after you rinse and dry the canvas. Once the vinegar dries completely you do not smell it at all.
If you are still concerned about it, add a little Woolite or other mild soap to the mix, as was mentioned earlier to add a little fresh smell to the canvas. This is completely optional though.
What if you do not want to mix up your own DIY solution for removing mildew?
Clean Vinyl Seats Properly Conclusion
While the vinyl seats of your neighbors will slowly lose color and develop rips and tears, you can stand proud knowing that you’ve put the proper care and investment toward clean vinyl seats! When the time comes for them to reupholster their seats, or if they ask how you maintain yours so well don’t hesitate to lead them to this article and all of our amazing boating products. They’ll be sure to thank you for it.
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Reduce Moisture With Calcium Chloride Crystals
Star brite, DampRid and MaryKate all make dehumidifiers that use calcium chloride crystals to remove moisture from the air. In some cases, the moisture gets deposited into a reservoir, as with DampRids Easy-Fill Moisture Absorber or the No Damp Ultra Dome by Star brite. These systems are effective, but are prone to spillage unless emptied on time. A better choice for hanging lockers and areas underneath settees and berthing areas are DampRids Moisture Absorbing Sachets or MaryKates Moisture Control Bag, both of which retain the condensed water in a bag or pouch.
What To Look For When Buying A Mildew Remover For Boat Seats
Choosing the right mildew remover for your boat seats doesnt mean you buy any old mildew remover there is. Instead, you have to consider a number of factors to make sure that youre not only buying an effective mildew cleaner but also one that wont do more harm than good to your precious seats.
To help you with that, I have compiled a list of factors which you need to consider before buying a mildew remover for your boat seats. Theyre as follows:
Its a good idea to check out what ingredients were used for the cleaners you are planning to buy. This ensures that the ingredients used wont be harmful to the material used for your boat seats.
Its also ideal to choose mildew removers that contain little to no bleach, considering the fact that it can only dull and discolor the fabric of your boat seats. However, there are some cleaners with bleach as an ingredient that can be used on your boat seats without damaging them, so they would be worth checking out as well.
On the other hand, you can also find mildew removers that are specifically made for marine surfaces, making them safe for use on boat seats.
- Ease of Application
No one wants a cleaner that would require more scrubbing than necessary. Therefore, it would be a good idea to check out mildew removers that are designed for easy application and removal.
An example of easy-to-use designs is the spray bottle which enables users to target a specific area for cleaning.
- Response Time
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How To Clean Mildew Off Your Boat Seats
Mildew is one of the most common problems with vinyl boat seats. It often grows on seats when boats are covered because it thrives in warm, dark, damp places. Mildew ends up smelling and looking bad, and it can eventually break down the vinyl your seats are made of. Its best to take measures to prevent it whenever possible and clean it up quickly once you realize its become a problem.
Avoid mildew on your boat seats
After an outing, try to let your boat dry out before you cover it. It is a good idea to let it sit with the storage compartments open to dry well before covering for extended periods of time.
When you do cover it, be sure to stick in a moisture absorbing, mildew prevention substance. You can buy buckets of commercially produced mildew prevention solution or you can try one of many popular household products. A tin or two of charcoal bricks works very well.
If mold is allowed to grow it will also penetrate the vinyl and over time it will not be able to be removed, the only thing left to do is to re-dye or replace.
Allow Cushions To Dry Before Replacing
If you have removable covers and have removed them for washing, dont put the cushions back together until both the foam and the covers are completely dry.
Keep up with your cleaning regimen. Saltwater, sitting on the cushions after swimming, and being caught in rainstorms contribute to mildew on boats. Thoroughly wash and dry your cushions to prevent mildew from growing.
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Needed Equipment And Products To Remove Mildew From Boat Seats
Depending on the material of your boat seats you may need different products and materials but most seat cushions and boat seats are made with vinyl. Vinyl is a material that can withstand a lot of exposure to sun and water and it wont get damaged easily as other materials, which is why most boat manufacturers use it for the interior. However, it is still susceptible to mildew and as a boat owner, you will need to get the right equipment and products to get rid of the mildew from your vinyl seats. The products we recommend are affordable and wont cost you a fortune. The things youll need to remove mildew stains are:
- Soft brush
- UV and Marine protective spray
- Microfiber cloth
Why Should Boaters Avoid Cleaning Mold With Bleach
Bleach is a powerful cleaner and useful for cleaning mildew and mold off a multitude of surfaces. When used on vinyl materials, however, bleach strips the vinyl of the essential oils that are necessary to preserve its longevity and resistance to water.
As a harsh cleaner, bleach will break down the vinyl over time. Rather than retain its durability, vinyl seats cleaned with bleach will become more easily damaged from normal wear and tear. Plus, when using bleach, the boater may accidentally bleach the carpeting or nearby materials.
Although bleach is an inexpensive household solution, using it to clean vinyl boat seats is not recommended. Instead, purchase cleaners specially designed to clean vinyl, as these are better for preserving the material. Commercially made vinyl cleaners are available at all marine stores.
Use distilled water when cleaning the seats. Alternately, clean, fresh water or tap water will clean the seats without causing damage. Salt water and water from a lake or river are filled with minerals and dirt that will wear down the seats like sandpaper during cleaning.
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Using Magic Eraser Just In Case
Im pretty hopeful that you would manage to get rid of mildew if you follow the above steps. In case any stubborn mildew patch remains intact on your vinyl boat seats, this step will do the rest.
Sometimes you need powerful cleaning tools to counter the stubborn stains. Magic Eraser is one of the cleaning products that would eliminate mildew once and for all.
Apply Magic Eraser on your vinyl boat seats to deal with remaining tough mildew patches. As and when you wipe it, you would see that mildew had never been there.
Afterward, use a clean microfiber cloth again to wipe off the remaining cleaning fluid, if any.
Iosso Mold And Mildew Stain Remover
Lets face it, a mold in boat cabin brings a lot of headache and stress to all boat owners because it is an indication that there is a problem with the cleaning and maintenance of the boat. However, there are a lot of products that a boat owner can use to remove this unwanted fungus in the boat.
One of my friends have tested and used this product and the feedback was extremely good. According to him, this product can effectively remove black mold in boat using non-toxic and biodegradable ingredients which is excellent in my opinion. Anybody will like products that not only clean but also will take care of the environment.
Being a non-toxic product, I am also impressed when I learned that this stain remover does not contain strong chemicals such as chlorine and bleach which are normal with other regular stain removers. Actually, you will notice the nice smell it produces during the application which is great.
Meanwhile, I also like the versatility of this product in terms of cleaning different types of surfaces not only in the boat seats but also in the other parts of the boat. This product has been proven to effectively clean and remove stains, oil, algae, and other types of dirt. It can also be applied to the different types of surfaces such as fiberglass, carpets, canvas, wood, vinyl, and painted surfaces.
- Need to dilute before the application
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How Do You Remove Mildew From Leather Boat Seats
moldmildewvinyl boat seatsmoldmold
The Best Mildew Removers for Boat Seats of 2020
- Star Brite Mold and Mildew Stain Remover.
- 3M Mildew Stain Remover
- CLR Mold and Mildew Stain Remover.
- WD-40 X-14 Mildew Stain Remover.
- Boater’s EDGE Mildew Stain Remover.
- RMR Brands Marine Mildew Stain Remover.
Beside above, how do you remove mildew from vinyl? Combine 2 cups of hot water, 3 tablespoons of white vinegar and one teaspoon of borax powder to a spray bottle to treat the more resistant mildew stains. Shake mixture well and spray onto surface. Allow to mixture sit on fabric for about 30 minutes before wiping clean with a soft cotton cloth.
Keeping this in view, what can I use to clean boat seats?
Cleaning Vinyl Boat Seats
Can you use magic eraser on boat vinyl?
You can use Magic Eraser on vinyl floors, vinyl siding, and vinyl boats seats, and get amazing results as shown in the photo above. For example, in high traffic areas on your boat such as walkways and decks, you‘re going to get a lot of muddy footprints, dirt, grease, and more nasty stuff.