How To Clean Boat Carpet

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Say you’ve invested in a nice big bass boat, it’s the pride and joy of your hard work but over time your carpet not only loses its fluffiness but is also filled with grime. Before you make a serious dent in your bank account, I have a solution to clean your existing boat carpet and the best part is, you can do it yourself! 

So grab your music player, your friends, or siblings, and let’s clean your boat carpet. 

How To Clean Your Boat Carpet

If your boat carpet is just dirty and has grime on it that is more stubborn than your parents on New Year’s Eve, we have a solution for one of them! 

If you encounter any new fresh stains the blotting method works the best. Take dry towels and press them on the wet substance until nothing transfers onto your towel.

Then wet your towels and repeat the process as the wet water loosens the stain. Do this until the stain doesn’t transfer onto your towel. Once it’s dried you’d be left with a faint stain that you can easily clean using a spot treatment mentioned further below

For a Dirty and Grimy Carpet in General:

Take a step back from your expensive chemical removers and take the easy route. Take a bucket with some water, a semi-harsh soap, a medium scrub brush, and a good old hose. While this might seem very simple, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work flawlessly.

1. Put your boat on a slope or a tow vehicle and make sure it’s inclined downwards. Ensure that the drain plug is removed and pre-mix soap and water previously in a 5-gallon bucket.  

2. Take a heavy-duty vacuum to suck in any loose dirt on the carpet. Then soak the carpet thoroughly and run a brush over it to get any excess loose dirt. This process is integral in ensuring that you loosen up the dirt stuck between the fibers. 

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3. The next step is to work in sections and use a sponge or a cloth to put soap over a section of the carpet. Let it sit for a while till it completely saturates the carpet. Then scrub away the soap. You can use the mixture again in the same section if there are any left-over stains.

Then take your heavy-duty vacuum again to suck in all the excess soap and water. Then just do a quick rinse with water and let it sit in the sunlight for a while. 

4. After the carpet is completely dry, run a soft-bristled brush over the fibers. This will make the fibers stand up and restore the original fluffiness of the carpet. 

5. Just make sure you get all the soap out of your carpet and it will be as brand as new. And you probably just saved hundreds of dollars because chances are you already have all these supplies at home. You’re welcome!

Vinegar Method

Another great method for an easy, quick, and efficient clean-up is mixing vinegar with water. Vinegar is a weaker form of acetic acid. It is a great cleaner that picks dirt apart, breaks it down, removes any stains, and eliminates all foul odors. A lot of boat owners swear by this and use this method to regularly clean their boats.  

1. Repeat the same process with the boat inclination, making sure it’s leveled on the sides so that the water drops from the sides.

2. Mix about 2-3 pints of vinegar in a 2-gallon sprayer and fill the rest with water.

3. Spray vinegar directly onto the section of a carpet and let it saturate. Then scrub away all the dirt and use a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner to suck up all the extra substance.

Make sure you cover all the areas around the cockpit and the deck.

4. After that give a final rinse with water and then let it sit in the sunlight to make sure all the excess moisture dries up. After that take a soft-bristled brush and repeat the process mentioned above.  

Pressure Washer:

If you already have a pressure washer for your car then you don’t have to buy a new one, if you don’t have one you can easily rent it for a few bucks.

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Use the pressure washer to clean your carpet. You can eliminate the use of any harsh detergents or cleaners this way. Just make sure your carpet isn’t very old and brittle or you might cause holes in it. 

Spot Treatment:

For tougher stains, you can use a spot treatment to treat those stains. Make sure you test the detergent you are using in a small inconspicuous area before putting it in a visible area. This is to ensure that it works and will not cause any discoloration. 

Sprayon Heavy-Duty Citrus Degreaser: A lot of boat owners swear by this stain remover. You can use this to remove the tougher stains. But a pro tip is to ensure you don’t spray it directly on the carpet. Always take it on a rag and then apply it to cover the area you want. 

Buy it on Amazon.

Things To Avoid When Cleaning Boat Carpet:

1. Avoid using over-the-counter cleansers to clean your boat carpet. Those almost always worsen the situation than improving it. Instead, you should use a chemical cleanser for all the tough stains that you have.

2. Don’t use bleach and abrasive cleaners. Bleach will cause the carpet’s color to fade out and the abrasive cleaners will cause the ruin the carpet fiber.

3. Another very common mistake that a lot of boat owners do is use hot water or a hairdryer to clean the stains. That method doesn’t make any sense since the professionals use a steam machine with proper commercial grade cleansers and ph. neutralizers. 

4. Car wash is another method that is a very common mistake when it comes to cleaning your boat. The water pressure they use is very strong and that might cause your carpet to tear or the glue to loosen.

They also use very harsh soaps and that might harm the quality of your carpet, especially if your boat is relatively aged. 

5. Don’t put sand over your wet stains in order to soak up the wet substance. Sand has minuscule particles that can be very abrasive and difficult to get out. 

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The mistakes mentioned above might backfire or as I like to call it, Uno reverse on you, and you might end up spending some coin instead of saving it. 

How To Avoid Getting Your Carpet Dirty In The First Place:

While a carpet getting dirty is inevitable there are some ways in which you can postpone it:

  1. Make sure you vacuum your carpet regularly
  2. Avoid getting dirty shoes on the carpet 
  3. Try to keep the boat in the sunlight for a while at regular intervals. Especially after use to avoid any molds.
  4. If there are minor spills on the carpet the blotting technique works the best. Don’t use any over-the-counter cleanser. That might ruin the quality of your carpet or cause discoloration. 
  5. And while this is very obvious, don’t get seasick on the carpet!

The gist of the matter is no matter how hard you try your carpet will collect dirt over time. Especially if you live in a polluted area. 

Now there are some things you have to keep in mind when it comes to cleaning boat carpets. You have to use the correct home remedies or you may end up worsening the situation.


How can I remove mildew from my boat carpet?

Sunlight is the best mildew killer. You can also use a vinegar-water solution (equal parts of both) and scrub the mildew away with a sponge. Then allow it to air dry.

How to get rid of the funky smell from my boat carpet?

Baking soda will help you get rid of nasty odors. Get the carpet slightly wet at first, then sprinkle a large amount of baking soda over it. Leave it for 3 hours or overnight, and then vacuum it up. Let the carpet air dry.

I hope you enjoyed the easy do-it-yourself hacks mentioned above. These are hacks that you can do on a Sunday afternoon along with some help. They are easy and way cheaper than a professional carpeting service or changing the carpet completely.

Follow these methods above and you’ll have a boat-iful carpet in no time. 

Written by Pulkit D

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