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Thursday, July 27, 2023

Cover Your Bases: The Do's and Don'ts of how to Clean and Store Boat Covers

Preserving your boat cover's longevity with proper care - unravel the secrets of cleaning, storage, and protection in this essential guide.

Cleaning and storing your boat cover properly will drastically expand the lifespan of your boat cover. More importantly, it will save you the cost and hassle of buying a new boat cover.

Reduce mold and dirt buildup that can compromise the strength of your boat cover and ensure that your cover can be used season after season. Here are the dos and don’ts of cleaning and storing your boat covers.

Do: Secure your cover tightly while cleaning

Pulling your boat cover taught while cleaning will help you get all of the nooks, crannies, and folds of the fabric.

Using poles or ropes to pull your cover tight will make it easier to clean the entire surface of the cover. This will also make it easier to air dry completely before storing your cover.

Don't: Allow Water into Pool

Pooling water is a breeding ground for mold and mildew that can ruin the fabric of your boat cover.

When water pools in your cover while cleaning it can put unnecessary stress on the fabric and can even rip or tear the cover, making it useless.

By pulling your boat cover tight, you can ensure that water and cleaning solution falls rights off without causing harm or wear.

Do: Use a Soft Bristle Brush and Warm Water

The majority of dirt on your custom boat cover can be handled with the basics. A soft brush and some warm water can do wonders in removing loose dirt and grime that can accumulate on your cover.

Warm water and a soft bristle brush can remove dirt, grime, and mildew while keeping your boat cover’s finish intact.

You greatly reduce the risk of putting rips or tears in your boat cover when you use a soft bristle brush and warm water in place of harsh chemicals or other tools like pressure washers.


Don’t: Use a Pressure Washer During The Cleaning Process

The fabric used on boat covers is most often covered with a finish to help protect your boat from the elements.

Using a pressure washer to clean your boat cover can strip the cover’s fabric of its protective finish.

Without a seal on your cover, water can seep through the fabric and cause damage to both your cover and your boat when used in the future.

Pressure washers can also cut right through the fabric, ruining your custom boat cover.

In case of damage caused by a pressure washer, boat cover repair services can help restore the fabric's finish and prevent further damage to your boat.

Do: Use a homemade proper cleaning solution to clean stains and keep your canvas boat cover safe


For stains and spots that are too stubborn to be removed by warm water and a soft bristle brush, you may need to use a cleaning solution or a mild soap.

While boat cover cleaning solutions are available on the market, making a cleaning solution at home is easy, cheap, and may be better for the long-term boat cover care. You can also use a mild soap.

A solution of 2-parts cold water, 1-part borax powder, and 1-part white vinegar can do wonders on stubborn stains without damaging the watertight finish on your tarp. Add the mix in a spray bottle.

Spray the solution on the stain and let it sit for about 15 minutes. After it has had time to soak, rinse the tarp thoroughly with warm water.

Don’t: Use an excess amount of harsh chemicals


While chemical cleaners may sound like the easiest way to clean your cover and reduce the chance for mold to form, they can do more harm than good.

Cleaners that have excessive chemicals can damage the finish on your boat cover making it no longer resistant to the elements.

Harsh chemicals can melt the finish right off your cover allowing water to seep through the boat canvas and ruin your boat underneath.


Do: Let the Cover Dry Completely before putting it away

After you have cleaned your cover, you must wait for it to completely dry before putting it away. Find a dry space where you can lay your cover out and let the fabric dry completely. Putting your cover away wet can put it at risk for mold and mildew growth.

Any moisture that is left over in the folds of your cover becomes a breeding ground for dangerous molds and mildews that can ruin your boat cover and even be dangerous to your health. Be sure that your cover is completely dry all the way through before you store it.

Don’t: Store your cover in a dark and moist place

Even if you let your cover dry completely before putting it away, it can still be a breeding ground for mold and mildew if it is stored in a dark and wet place.

Be sure to find a dry and watertight area to store your cover in.

If you want your boat cover to last, you need to store it in a place that will keep it dry and protected from the elements. This will ensure that harmful mold and mildew do not form on your cover, ruining it for good.

Do: Roll Up Your Boat Cover and Store it In the Rafters

Keeping your boat cover rolled is the best way to store your boat canvas. Rolling the cover puts less stress on the material than folding it.

When you fold the boat canvas, you leave creases that can wear down faster and cause long-term damage. Rolling your tarp avoids these creases and keeps your cover intact. Storing your cover in the rafters or hanging it from the rafter will ensure that no moisture can form between the cover and the ground.

Even if your storage area leaks or has a flood, your cover will be safe if you store it up high off the ground.

Don’t: Store your boat cover folded on the ground

Storing your boat cover haphazardly on the ground is terrible for the longevity of your cover.

Mice love the material that boat covers are made of and they will nest in the folds of your boat cover if you do not store it properly.

Mice will gnaw holes into your cover and leave it full of dangerous fecal matter and stains. Be sure to avoid this by storing your boat cover off of the ground where the critters cannot reach it.

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