Finally!  It is getting warmer out.  You pull the boat out and take off the cover.  It looks like a mildew bomb exploded all over the seats and upholstery.  Why does every boat get so dirty over the winter?  Ok, so maybe you didn’t really clean it that well after Labor Day.  You were ready for hay rides, pumpkin lattes, and football season.  So were we.  Now it is time to pay the price and do a little spring boat cleanup.

The best place to start to avoid any harsh chemicals on your boat interior is a bucket of hot soapy water and 2 sided sponge.  You are going to need an entire can of “elbow grease” so be prepared.  The idea behind the initial scrub down is to take down the easy spots with the least harsh chemicals possible.  After you have done an initial scrub down you can look and see which areas are still riddled with mold and mildew.  It is now time to move towards the professional cleaning materials.

As with any new cleaners on new you want to test them in a small inconspicuous surface first.  What I would suggest is to spray a small area on the underside of a seat cushion, scrub it clean, then let it sit for an entire day in the sun.  See if this area hardens, discolors, or damages the upholstery.

Once the initial damage test mitigation is complete, you can now move on to larger areas and really start scrubbing.  If you are looking for a product to use I suggest this mildew stain remover.   It will work the best and fastest.  It is tested to use on most types of marine upholstery.  Depending on the size of your boat and the extent of your mildew problem, you can easily expect this portion of the project to last 1-3 hours.

The final step has two parts to it.  What you want to do is fill up another bucket of hot soapy water and scrub down 100% of the boat one last time.  This will prevent any chemicals from staying on your upholstery or boat interior and baking in the sun, causing any long term damage.  Not to mention your family, your dog, and you will be on the boat all summer long and you want minimal exposure to anything that might be considered harsh.  After the last soap scrub down what you want to do is shop vac the entire boat.  This way if any dried dirt or mildew spores have fallen to the ground while cleaning you can suck them up, and throw them away.

Now your boat should be clean and ready for a day on the lake.  The best tip you can follow is to do this once more before each of summer’s lake holidays.  A short cleaning at Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day will keep your boat spotless all summer long and ensure that next year when you take the cover off the mildew problem will be minimal and easier to tackle.  Send us picture of your boat’s mildew problems on our twitter page @Lake_Fun