HOW TO CLEAN BOAT CARPET
How To Clean Boat Carpet
First and foremost if you still have standard boat carpet when it gets wet it will start to smell if not immediately removed and dried after each use. Boat carpet is after all is just carpet while in your home this makes sense on a boat it’s maddening! Those long months in storage only compound the problem making it even more difficult to clean your boat carpet. DECKadence Syntenic Carpet requires almost no maintenance because it’s a PVC extruded marine rated high performance product so if you haven’t already consider the switch on your next purchase.
However, if you’re wondering what to do with your existing boat carpet you came to the right place. First, if you have any frayed edges of your marine carpet, take a sharp knife or scissors and trim the edges of your boat carpet until it’s removed.
Boat Carpet Cleaning Steps 101
You don’t need a lot of tools but you will need elbow grease to do a weekly (or monthly) boat carpet cleaning maintenance. You’ll need a bucket, a hose, a soft brush and your favorite gentle dish soap or simple green or another gentle waterway safe cleaner. Expensive custom cleaning products aren’t necessary to clean boat carpeting. Stay away from any cleaners with bleach or harsh detergents.
A good wet vac vacuum cleaner gets the sand and grit out of your dirty boat carpet before you start. A shop vac is easier because you can vacuum the dirt before you start and also remove water from your clean boat carpet at the end of the process and speed up the dry time.
If you decide to use a power washer on boat carpet know that it’s very risky. Be very careful to use an extremely low setting and low power if you’re compelled to try this. It’s hard to know ahead of time if your boat carpet, boat carpet glue, and subfloor can tolerate the pressure. So avoid a power washer except for extreme boat carpet cleaning circumstances where you have tested it out gently. Also do not take your stained boat carpet through a car wash and don’t use a do-it-yourself car wash. The heat from the water and the heated nozzles can damage your marine carpet. A bucket and a garden hose is the best choice 9 times out of 10 to clean boat carpet.
Test it before you go all in. If you have an old piece of marine carpet left over, or an under seat boat carpeted area, that is the best place to test spot cleaners. Some are too harsh or could bleach or stain your boat carpet. Most of the time a spot cleaner is not needed, and sometimes they can even set a stain permanently if you can’t rinse it quickly. If you have a stubborn stain and you decide to try a spot cleaner, make sure to pretest it on an inconspicuous area. Rinse extremely thoroughly and right away. Also allow several days (like 5) between pre testing and using a spot cleaner on your main boat carpet as it may take a while for any issues to show up.
Older boat carpets will need to be treated extra gently as the glue bond between the backing and the boat does break down over time in fact all glued down boat deck coverings do including EVA foam. DECKadence requires no adhesives ever. Never use hard scrubbing or a power washer when cleaning old marine carpets.
Steps on how to clean your existing boat carpet.
1. Pull out (remove) your bilge plug and try not to lose it! If you are on dry land remove all this lose items in your boat that you don’t want to get wet when you clean boat carpet. Keep in mind that you may have some leakage in floor lockers when you use the hose, too, so empty those out beforehand. Next, do a thorough vacuuming of your boat carpet. You want to get out all the surface dirt before getting your marine carpet wet otherwise you end up with muddy mucky dirty water all over the place.
2. Working in medium sized sections, saturate your boat carpet. Apply some simple green or even dish soap to a large sponge and blot it around, soaking the dirty marine carpet. Then scrub gently to remove debris and old stains. Follow the grain of the carpet, usually front to back, in large, gently sweeping motions. Rinse well, then move on to the next section to keep cleaning boat carpet.
3. Once you have finished each section, give your boat carpet one more final good rinse over the entire surface twice. Removing all the old soap is very important. Dried soap is hard to see, but it acts like a glue, attracting and holding dust and dirt to your clean boat carpet. Use your shop vac to remove the water, or let it dry in a warm, sunny area. If you have a clean shop broom, you can brush your marine carpet gently from back to front to fluff the marine carpet.
4. Replace your bilge plug, that is providing you can find it!
Cleaning boat carpet at least twice a season will help prevent stains and discoloration. Regular vacuuming helps remove dirt from your marine carpet before it becomes ground in. This keeps your boat carpet clean and somewhat bright it also prevents grit and sand from wearing out the marine carpet backing and the bond. And acting quickly to boat carpet stains and spills when they happen is a good preventative strategy.
Keep a few old towels on hand. Use a towel to soak up as much of the spill on your stained boat carpet as you can. Then rinse with clean water and keep blotting until you absorb the water and the stain. When you get back to port, start the boat carpet cleaning process above. You do not want to try a spot cleaner while you are out for the day in the sun in case you cause a permanent discoloration.
Yes this requires time, effort and energy and don’t you have better things to do? So in closing checkout why DECKadence synthetic boat carpet is choice of champions and requires none of the above! There’s lots of videos out there to watch for boat cleaning, we found this VIDEO to be helpful.