How to Clean Boat Carpet – A Complete Guide

Is your boat carpet dirty? As soon as a boat carpet gets a mildew infestation, it’s just a matter of time until a mold develops. When this occurs, the whole boat can become infested with spores, which can be extremely bad for your investment.

Certainly, if you utilize a boat often, some grime will ultimately get traced onto the boat carpet. Regular vacuuming will just keep most loose items from becoming a problem, although a number of them will surely find their way into the fibers of the carpet.

Eventually, this can result in the carpet having a soiled appearance and losing its fluffiness, especially in high-traffic spots.

Frequently, boat carpets are treated to stop mold formation. Over time, such treatment can subside, resulting in the boat carpet being exposed to moist air. Normally, boats are dank and dark, and individuals wearing soiled shoes frequently traverse the carpet.


These tiny particles can enter the carpet, making it a breeding area for spores. The best way to maintain the carpet over time is to clean it carefully at least two to three times a year – or more depending on the situation. And I am not just talking about a simple rinse under a hose.

I am talking about constant cleaning – a break-out-the-elbow-grease, down-on-your-knees scrubbing meant to get rid of dirt, grit as well as other stuff from their hiding spots. Get rid of any mildew from the boat carpet immediately with these guidelines.

Below is a quick tip on how to clean your boat carpet thoroughly.​

I. Getting Rid of Mildew – the Most Common Problem

Getting Rid of Mildew – the Most Common Problem

1. Sunshine​

Mold and mildew reveal the moist and dark spots, and if these spots are rather humid, the mildew will increase at a faster rate. One of the most excellent ways to remove mold or mildew from your carpet is to get rid of it and put it on deck under the sun.

The sun’s UV light will eradicate the mold and mildew after a couple of hours of exposure.

2. UV Light​

Not all boat carpet is detachable, and it can be an issue when attempting to rid it of mold and mildew. Even if UV eradicates mildew, if the boat carpet can’t be taken out, you have to be able to get the sun close to the carpet. A strong UV light can do the same task such as taking the boat carpet out.

3. Clean the Boat Carpet Frequently​

Since you can always have dirt strolling around on a boat, the boat carpet must be maintained on a regular basis. Dirt contains numerous types of biological waste such as hair and skin particles.

This stuff is all made out of proteins which mold and mildew can consume, and the wet conditions on the boat make a perfect environment for that mold and mildew to keep developing. This makes vacuuming and sweeping the carpet a regular chore that needs to be carried out frequently.

4. Remove Moisture​

Moisture combined with a dark color will easily result in mildew. And if you spill something wet on your carpet, you are sure to discover water strolling on it. And if it rains and your carpet gets damp, moisture will ultimately seep under the boat carpet and enter the wood.

This area is a major spot for mildew development, so whenever the carpet gets damp, you must constantly dab the wet part up and endeavor to dry it out as much as possible.

5. D-I-Y Mildew Cleaner - Spray bottle​

Cleaning mold or mildew from a boat carpet isn’t difficult. There are many strong chemicals available for sale, but a homemade solution can be made that will do the trick as well. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle and apply it on the mold or mildew.

Make use of a sponge or brush to scrub the boat carpet and let it air dry. But for tougher spots, try using a scrub brush.

II. Avoid General Boat Carpet Cleaning Errors​

Avoid General Boat Carpet Cleaning Errors

First, let us talk about what you shouldn’t do:​

1. The car wash. Unbelievably, a few boat owners have brought their boats with them to the car wash. This isn’t recommended because it exposes your boat to certain chemicals that are not designed for particular boat materials. It’ll surely do terrible things on your carpet.

2. Bleach. We know you don’t care much about your boat carpeting— it isn’t the same as the carpet in your living room. And you are less likely to check out a cleaning product’s label. The thing is that when something such as bleach is in that product, you may get a super clean—and extremely discolored—carpet.

3. Just ignore your carpet. You may be thinking that you own a good carpet because it is stain-free. You think the odors of your boat are merely a natural component of having a boat. But numerous odor problems, in fact, remain in the carpet and become quite troublesome.

And if you like to bring in folks on board and make sure they have a good time, a little cleaning can go a very long way.

Now let us concentrate on what you can carry out to maintain a much better-smelling and cleaner carpet.

High-pressure sprayers are particularly hard on older carpets that have become brittle and dry with time. Put the nozzle close, and it may rip a hole through the carpet or result in the release of the glue. But either way, the results are not pretty.

4. Easy Does It. There are certain kinds of steam cleaners as well as other commercial tools available that’ll do a great job of cleaning carpet, but you’d like to skip the cost and remain with the fundamentals. He says that it is difficult to beat a five-gallon bucket with a garden hose, soapy water, and a medium-bristle brush.​

III. Another alternative to Cleaning Your Carpet

As mentioned in the earlier sections, you can always follow a soapy water treatment - an old-school mixture of water white and vinegar. Vinegar is an extremely weak acetic acid form with all kinds of household uses. It is great for separating dirt, eradicating stains and limiting foul odors without destroying your carpet.

Use the mixture to sanitize your boat carpet numerous times. The results would be more impressive than most people think.

Follow this ten-step process whether I am using the soapy water or vinegar mixture:​

1. Park it: Park your boat on a slope, if possible, attached to the tow vehicle, and with a transom on the downhill side. Ensure that the boat is resting level side-to-side so that water will just drain through the floor. Do not forget to take out the drain plug.

2. Mix it: If you are utilizing the water and vinegar mixture, pour two to three pints of vinegar into a two-gallon pump-up sprayer and then mix with water. If utilizing water and soap, first combine a five-gallon bucket.

3. Vacuum: Make use of a commercial or heavy-duty vacuum to clear the carpet of loose dirt.

4. Soak it down: Starting at the boat’s front, utilize a standard hose to soak the carpet thoroughly in the to-be-cleaned area.

5. Brush out: Make use of a soft brush to loosen the dirt, then saturate with water again. It’s best to carry this out and following the steps on one section at a time, starting at the front and towards the back.

6. Apply soap or water and vinegar mix: Make use of the garden sprayer in applying the mixture, saturating a tiny section thoroughly. Let the solution soak in for a couple of minutes. If you’re using soap, apply with a sponge or brush.​

7. Scrub: Re-scrub the section to loosen up remaining stains or dirt.

8. Rinse: Rinse the spot thoroughly while scrubbing continually. Repeat the procedure with the rest of the front deck, rear deck carpeting, and cockpit.

9. Suck it up: As soon as you’re done, make use of a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner to transport all extra moisture, and allow the boat to sit under the sun for several hours to dry.

10. Fluff it up: Once the carpet dries, make use of a clean, bristle brush, and then brush the boat carpet. This will allow the fibers to stand erect and appear new and fluffy.​

Spot treatment

Deep, ground-in stains due to clay, grease, oil or tar might need a bit more time to remove with specialty products manufactured for the task. Here are some stain-removing products you could try. It’d be wise to examine any stain or dirt-removing product on a tiny, inconspicuous spot before attacking an obviously vulnerable area, just to ensure that discoloration will not occur.​

Check out this quick video on how to clean your boat carpet:​

Last Words

Taking care of your boat is always a wise thing to do. A lot of boat owners sadly ignore stains and dirt on their carpets until it is too late. Do not fall into this. Follow this cleaning guide to boat carpet cleaning to guarantee that your boat is always in great shape.

How to Clean Boat Carpet – A Complete Guide
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