Is your boat cover filled with black or brown spots that you can't seem to wash off with soap and water? Those are probably mold and mildew stains, and they can be quite tricky to get rid of. Fortunately, there is a way to get out of a moldy situation. Read on for the tools you'll need and a step-by-step guide on what to do:
- Water-repellent or wax
- Brush with soft bristles
- Chlorine bleach
- Mild laundry soap or dishwashing liquid
Step 1: Remove soil and debris.
Using a soft-bristled brush, get rid of loose contaminants on the boat cover's surface. Carefully brush off debris without scratching the cover's fabric. Hose down the cover with lukewarm water. Take a closer look at the areas filled with mold and mildew stains.
Step 2: Mix your own mildew and mold remover.
In a bucket, mix 1/4 cup of mild laundry or dishwashing soap with 1 gallon of water and 1 cup of chlorine bleach. If you don't have the time to mix your own, you can simply get a ready-to-apply mold remover from various auto or boat parts shops.
Step 3: Soak the cover with the mold remover mixture.
Pour your homemade solution on the fabric, making sure that all the areas are saturated with the bleach-soap mixture. Using a brush, scrub the mixture all over the fabric. Concentrate on areas with lots of mold and mildew stains. Then allow the bleach-soap solution to sit on the canvas for about 15 minutes to ensure that it fully penetrates the stains. However, don't let the cleaning solution dry off.
Step 4: Rinse the cover off.
Hose the cover down to get rid of soap/bleach residue. Then let it air dry it in a well-ventilated area. Repeat step 3 until all stains are removed.
Step 5: Protect the boat cover.
Apply a water-repellant product or wax onto the boat cover since thoroughly cleaning the canvas can strip off its original protective coating. Coating it with a water-proof product also helps increase its lifespan and resistance against mold and mildew buildup. Apply the protective coating evenly on the entire surface of the fabric, making sure that all areas are covered.
Other cleaning and maintenance tips:
- When drying off the canvas, avoid using an artificial heat source such as a blow dryer since this can damage the fabric. Remember, air drying is the always the best option after washing the cover.
- Make sure that the cover is fully dried before storing it away. Keep in mind that moisture buildup is the reason why mold and mildew spots appear in the first place.
- Don't forget to clean the other components of the cover such as the zippers. Keep them well lubricated and in top shape by spraying them with a bit of silicone.
- To prevent future mold and mildew stains, spraying the cover down with a water-and-vinegar solution is a good idea. The acidity of the vinegar should help keep mold and mildew buildup at bay until the next wash.