5 Tips for Removing Mildew From a Boat Carpet

A mold and mildew riddled carpet.
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What You'll Need
UV light
What You'll Need
UV light

Boat carpet is usually treated to prevent the formation of mold. Over time this treatment can wear off, exposing the boat carpet to the moist air. Boats are usually dark and dank, and the carpet is often traversed by people wearing soiled shoes; these particles can get into the carpet, making it a breeding ground for spores. Once boat carpet gets infested with mildew it is only a matter of time before that turns into mold. When this happens the entire boat can become infected with spores, which will be very bad for your floating investment. Remove any mildew from your boat carpet as soon as you can using these five tips.

1. Sunshine

Mildew and mold enjoy the dark and moist areas, and if these areas are also somewhat humid, the mildew will grow rapidly. One of the best ways to rid your carpet of mold or mildew is to remove it and place it on deck in the sunshine. The sun’s ultraviolet light will kill the mildew and mold after several hours of direct exposure.

2. UV Light

Not every piece of boat carpet is removable and this can be a problem when trying to rid it of mildew. Even though the sun will kill mildew, if the carpet cannot be removed you need to be able to bring the sun to the carpet. A powerful UV light will be able to do the same job as taking the carpet out. There are many UV vacuum cleaners on the market to suit every budget.

3. Clean the Boat Carpet Often

Because you might track a lot of dirt walking around on a boat, the carpet needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. Dirt contains many kinds of biological waste like skin particles and hair. These things are all comprised of proteins which mildew and mold can feed off of, and the damp conditions on board a boat make an ideal environment for that mildew and mold to keep growing. This makes sweeping and vacuuming the boat carpet a chore that has to be done frequently.

4. Remove Moisture

Moisture in combination with a dark environment will easily cause mildew. If you spill something on the boat carpet, if it rains and the carpet gets wet, or you track water walking on it, moisture will eventually seep under the carpet and get into the wood. This is a prime area for mildew growth, so whenever the boat carpet gets wet you should always dab the liquid up and try to dry out the area as much as possible.

5. Homemade Mildew Cleaner

Cleaning mildew from a boat carpet is not difficult. There are plenty of harsh chemicals on the market, but a homemade remedy can be created that will also do the trick. Combine equal parts of water and vinegar in a bottle and spray it on the mildew. Use a sponge to scrub the carpet and allow it to air dry. For tougher areas, try a scrub brush.

Removing Mildew From a Boat Carpet FAQ

Will bleach hurt boat carpet?

Bleach is effective at killing mildew and it works very well as a bathroom cleaner when you're dealing with mold and mildew. But bleach will take the color out of carpet, so it is not an ideal solution for removing mildew.

What kills mildew in carpet?

Steam cleaning is a very effective way to remove mold and mold spores from carpet. The steam helps to kill the mold.

Follow up with a vacuum cleaner to lift up and remove all the mold and spores.

You can also apply baking soda to the moldy area, leave it on overnight, and then vacuum.

Does vinegar clean boat carpet?

Mix about one cup of white vinegar with a gallon of water to make a home remedy for moldy carpet. Spray the mixture directly onto the moldy area and then use a soft or medium-gristle brush to scrub the moldy spot.

Vinegar is naturally acidic and it will kill the mildew, but it will not discolor the carpet.

Can mildewed carpet be saved?

Sometimes, carpet that has been affected by mildew can be cleaned and salvaged. However, the presence of mildew indicates that you may have a moisture problem.

If the problem causing the mildew is not addressed, you are likely to suffer from future mold problems and end up replacing the carpet anyway.

What's the best way to clean boat carpet?

Boat carpet can be sprayed down with a combination of vinegar and water and then scrubbed with a scrub brush. You will need to make sure the area is well-ventilated with plenty of circulating air, so the carpet can dry after you've finished cleaning it.