How to Remove Mildew from Boat Canvas (Not As Hard As You Might Think!)

How to Remove Mildew from Boat Canvas

Do you ever wonder how the white canvas on boats stays clean? Aren’t these materials exposed to all the elements? If you look closer, you’ll see it’s not pure white. Mildew thrives on boat tops, which can be also covered in bird feces. You’ve probably seen a lot of tutorials showing the use of bleach. However, don’t hurry to use it right away as it might bring damaging effects to your canvas boat coverings rather than actually cleaning it. So instead of using bleach, grab a soft brush or a pressure washer.

Let me tell you why bleach is not on top of our list in cleaning the canvas of your boat. It is rather suggested that mildew stains be cleaned using natural substances rather than using chemical-based products. Chlorine bleach can cause the canvas stitches to gradually dwindle. So instead of just being a mildew stain remover, bleach can break and damage your canvas. In the end, you will need new threads to replace any dwindled stitches that will cost more cash.

Cleaning Bimini tops canvas

Ever wonder how to clean your Bimini in a cheap yet efficient way? Here are some simple ways to start cleaning that canvas boat covering.

  1. Take the Bimini canvas out of the frame and boat. Carefully unclip and tug the Bimini top and canvas from the frame. Make sure you do this gently or you can rip the canvas.
  2. Place the boat canvas flat on the floor. You can place it on your driveway or porch so it’s flat. Put some rocks for added weight so the wind will not blow it away as this will only make it dirtier. You can also use fitness weights if you can’t find rocks in your yard.
  3. Clean the mildew and dirt with a pressure washer. You can also use a spray bottle if you haven’t any of these at home. You can also use a soft scrub brush. However, if you have the chance to grab a pressure washer from your local shop, it will be a great help as it will make your cleaning job easier.

Here’s an additional tip: Try using a mildew stain remover while using your pressure washers to remove mold, too. You can also remove elbow grease from your sunbrella fabric by doing the same. Start with low pressure and gradually increase until mildew spores are gone. Setting your pressure washer on high during the initial cleaning stage can cause the canvas to tear especially when it hits a vulnerable spot.

  1. Allow your Bimini to air dry in the sun. Drying it under sunshine will make it look brand-new. It also removes 95% of mildew and mold spores as well as other mold stains present in the canvas.
  2. Place 303 protectant on your Bimini top. Apply a marine grade 303 protectant to your Bimini once it has dried. You can also try the one with UV protection to protect it from the sun. This has been a popular choice for canvas cleaning especially for those that are used to cover patio furniture. Using these will prevent premature aging, cracking, and fading. 

Is it possible for a laundromat to clean a canvas cover?

Is it possible for a laundromat to clean a canvas cover

Surprisingly, yes. You can go to a laundromat and get the cover cleaned using their huge washing machine. Laundromats that are near a marina usually offer this time of cleaning. They also use a specialized laundry detergent that is suited to remove mildew.

The price for washing covers in a laundromat varies in every location. Typically, it will cost around $35 every time you hit the laundromat to remove mildew. This is already cheap as a custom boat covering can cost you around $1,500.

Can you clean a Bimini in a swimming pool?

Can you clean a Bimini in a swimming pool

If your bimini is as big as your pool, then the answer is a YES! You can actually have your covers cleaned. Just soak it up overnight in the pool. Then simply rinse it the next day. If you’re too worried to do this, you can try to remove the mold to clean mildew stain by just using the spray and soap method.

What is the best method for removing mildew from boat seats?

What is the best method for removing mildew from boat seats?

To clean mildew is a real struggle when it comes to vinyl boat seats. But you can prevent this by planning and being well prepared. You can spray a mildew stain remover instead of using chemicals that can harm it. Leave it for 5 minutes and then take soft brushes and lightly scrub to get the dirt and mold loosened. Then you can have it wiped using a microfiber cloth.

The process above is the best way to remove mildew from vinyl seats and is expected to give excellent results. Let’s get into more detail to prevent possible damage and harm on your vinyl, fabric, and upholstered seats.

So what is the best method for cleaning boat canvas?

So what is the best method for cleaning boat canvas

Using a pressure washer is actually the best way to clean and prevent mold reccurrence. However, you can try using other available options. This includes using a boat vacuum to remove any dust and gunk out from the covers by placing it on the floor. If you still see larger dust particles, you can use a broom to move it up a little bit then vacuum it again. Use a clean bucket of warm water and a mild soap solution to scrub it.

Once the dirt has been scrubbed away, spray it using a garden hose or pressure wash to remove the gallon of cleaning mix you’ve used. Lastly, dry it under the sun and have it air-dried by hanging it over your boat or over a clothesline. 

What can I do to keep seagulls from pooping on my Bimini top?

What can I do to keep seagulls from pooping on my Bimini top

Seagulls are your worst enemy, aside from mildew and mold. Cleaning their waste can be disgusting, but there are a lot of methods that can be easily done to prevent seagulls from pestering your Bimini.  This can save you a lot of time to wash as well as it can prolong the life of your boat covering. Try to set up parallel wirings on top of your boat. This will stop seagulls from coming to your vessel as they love to sit high. You can also have a net installed to keep them from coming anywhere close.

Removing mold and mildew using white vinegar

Removing mold and mildew using white vinegar

If it’s really too difficult to get the mold and mildew out, you can use white vinegar and bleach to clean your fabric, bimini frame, and boat seats. This type of mix will make a good bleach solution although the Environmental Protection Agency does not recommend using this. Bleach is known to kill only surface mold and will eventually come back. This means it will still grow back on the fabric.

For outdoor fabric, you can try to fill a spray bottle with water and white vinegar in equal parts. It’s important to note that you have to use white vinegar and not the other types. Using soft brushes, you can gently rub the vinegar mixture until the surfaces are free of dirt. Be sure to have it completely dried under the sunshine to prevent moisture. If not, this will only lead to mold and mildew growing back.

If you are having a hard time checking which part of your fabric has stains, you can simply lay it flat on a small area. This will make it easier to clean and visually check remaining spores. Avoid laying the fabric on wood surfaces when you wash it. Vinegar and bleach can be strong when combined and can cause damage to the wood. Anyhow, a vinegar solution is a good choice to clean the fabric rather than taking the last resort of using bleach alone. Good luck in cleaning!

Frequently Asked Questions about How Do You Remove Mildew from Canvas Boat Cover

Frequently Asked Questions about How Do You Remove Mildew from Canvas Boat Cover

What is the best cleaner for boat canvas?

The main purpose of boat canvas is to protect your vessel. When you invest in a vessel, your main concern is where you will be storing it after use. You can store it at home in a boat shed, or a local marina. Both locations are ideal but you have to make sure you have everything in your vessel covered to protect it from the elements like mice that may have access to your boat’s exposed seats. 

It can keep your boat clean and protect it from debris if it is stored outdoors. It can be protected from the sun and keep petty thieves away. Investing in a canvas boat covering is a must to ensure the safety, durability, and longevity of your vessel. A vessel covering customized to fit your vessel can be expensive given its material but is noted for being durable in tough weather conditions.

Having a protective covering in place, they will bear the brunt of all the elements that can harm your boat. In return, you need also to maintain them to prolong their service life. You need to remove the debris and start hosing down the canvass. With soft bristle brushes and soapy water, start brushing off accumulated stains over the past weeks or months. For challenging stains, use a 303 Marine Multi-Surface Cleaner.

It contains powerful cleaning agents and a robust degreaser that can tackle stubborn stains and mildew on your boats’ canvass covering. Just spray until wet and use a cloth or medium-soft brush to loosen the contaminants. Wipe excess with a clean cloth and then dry it. You can also soak it wet for easier cleaning.

How do you remove black mold from canvas?

How do you remove black mold from canvas

Canvass materials are known for being tough and durable thus they are used in a variety of environments. Just like your other equipment, they also need proper maintenance to prolong their service life.

Molds are fungus. They do not require the sun to thrive but they are inclined to flourish from degrading organic matter. They help in Mother Nature’s recycling projects thus making them one of the essential components of our planet. They can be found everywhere and can reproduce in large numbers. This is the reason why you need to find a way to deal with them as soon as possible.

When you see the evidence of tiny black, blue or green specks on your canvas, those are molds that need to be removed. You can spray the spot with distilled vinegar to kill it. You may also use a combination of salt, lemon, and hot water with a soft scrubbing brush to clean the canvas. Avoid using bleach and detergent as they are harsh on canvas and difficult to rinse. They also can diminish the water-repellent capability of your canvas. Let your canvas dry completely. 

Regular cleaning is a must yet it can take its toll on your canvas as they are exposed to the elements. After a thorough cleaning, use the 303 Marine Fabric Guard to help restore the water repellency of your canvas. Don’t forget to dry your canvas before folding and storing them to avoid black molds from developing. 

How do you remove mold and mildew from the boat cover?

How do you remove mold and mildew from the boat cover

Mold and mildew are fungal infestations. They flourish in dark, damp, and warm settings. Keeping your boat covering from mold and mildew means regular cleaning of the covering and storing it completely dry. When you see patches of this starting to develop, you need to clean it as soon as possible. Mold and mildew can eat through your boats’ fabric protection. 

Cover manufacturers recommend cleaning once a month using a soft bristle brush and cleaning solution made of soap and water. Don’t use detergents as they may strip off your boats’ waterproof coatings. These water repellent features of your boats’ coverings help water accumulation to run off, just like a waxed car. Let the cleaning mix permeate the fabric then rinse it off with water.

Let it dry completely under the sun. Depending on your boats’ fabric material, you may opt to apply some waterproofing finish once it is mold-free and dry. This will help restore the water repellent capacity of your boat’s cover.

For stubborn mold and mildew spots that remain attached to your boat covers after its regular cleaning process, you may use bleach and soap solution. This is done by combining a gallon of water, a cup of bleach, and a quarter cup of mild soap. Apply this on the mildew or mold spot and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Sponge off and rinse thoroughly. Always remember to dry off your boat’s cover under the sun should there be a need to store them. 

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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