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How to Clean Marine Boat Flooring?

David Goldman

How to Clean Marine Boat Flooring?

Maintaining and cleaning your marine vinyl flooring is important to keep it looking fresh and to maintain a high level of quality. In this post, we’re going to go over the best ways to clean your marine vinyl depending on your situation.


We’re going to cover going over some general maintenance for your vinyl, doing some light to regular cleaning, as well as the best way to deep clean your marine vinyl. They’re all handled a little bit differently, so it’s important to know what type of cleaners and tools you should be using when doing your cleaning.


Let’s go ahead and dive into maintaining your marine vinyl. 

Maintenance

One of the nice things about marine vinyl flooring is that it’s pretty low maintenance. There are some steps you can take to be sure that you’re taking good care of your flooring though.


1. Wipe Down After Using

An easy but effective step to take is to wipe down your flooring after using it. Whether you spilled something on the flooring or just got done using it, it’s going to help maintain the quality of your flooring if you give it a quick wipe down after each use.

If no spills or stains were made, a good way to do this is to simply hose it down. You can also use a washcloth or paper towel and warm water. Wipe down the vinyl with your damp washcloth or paper towel, and you’ll be good to go. You shouldn’t need soap or cleaners when doing a general wipedown of the area.

After wiping down the vinyl, you can let it air dry. 

2. Clean up Spills and Stains

Spills and stains on your flooring are going to be inevitable, but hey that’s why you chose vinyl flooring for your boat right?

We’re going to dive into the best ways to clean spills and stains a little later in this post, but a few things to keep in mind are:

  1. Clean it up immediately
  2. Use warm water and dish soap
  3. Avoid using harmful products like household cleaners

Make sure all the debris like dirt, leaves, food and other foreign objects are removed off the carpet as those are the items that will mold. The marine flooring itself is mold and mildew resistant, but the other particles like spilled drinks and crushed chips will indeed still grow mold.

3. Keep it Dry Using Air Flow

When you’re out on the water, you’re almost always going to get your flooring a wet with water and potentially some spills. The key is to make sure you’re cleaning it up and keeping it as dry as you can. We know the flooring will be wet but and that's ok. Just make You don't trap the moisture on the boat. Most people who want to keep their boats looking like new typically use covers. Most covers are made really tight to keep them in place. The key to any boat cover is to ensure it's made with vent caps. The vent caps allow air to circulate through the boat properly allowing everything to dry properly. The moment a tight cover is placed on a wet boat without vent caps you are creating the perfect environment for mold growth. It's both dark and wet which is all that is needed for mold to grow.

Tools Needed

Cleaning marine vinyl flooring is fairly straightforward. You shouldn’t need to go out and get a bunch of different tools and cleaners. Most of the cleaners and tools involved are things you likely already have.

Here’s what you’ll need to clean your boat flooring:

  1. Cleaning gloves
  2. Warm water
  3. Vacuum to remove dirt
  4. Soft bristle brush to scrub the vinyl
  5. Hose to rinse the area
  6. Dish soap or mild cleaner to clean the area
  7. Bleach to deep clean and remove stains
  8. Sponge or clean towel to help remove stains

Whether you’re just looking to do some regular cleaning or trying to deep clean and remove some stains from your vinyl, these tools are going to help you get the job done.

Regular Cleaning

Now that you know what it takes to maintain your boat flooring, we’re going to go over how to do regular cleanings.


Here are some steps you should take when doing a regular cleaning of your marine vinyl flooring:


Step 1 - Use a vacuum or brush to remove dirt.

Step 2 - Use a hose to wash away any surface level dirt or stains.

Step 3 - Apply warm water and a soap mixture to the vinyl. Using dish soap works well for cleaning marine vinyl.

Step 4 - Use a soft bristle brush to scrub the vinyl.

Step 5 - Rinse thoroughly with a hose until all soap residue is removed.

Step 6 - Air dry.

It would be a good idea to go through these cleaning steps regularly, to be sure you’re keeping your flooring nice and clean. We would recommend doing a regular cleaning every week while you’re using your boat, and definitely before storing your boat in the offseason.

Removing Stains/Deep Cleaning

You have your fresh vinyl flooring, but now you’ve spilled something and have some stains you need to remove. Don’t panic! Vinyl flooring is designed to be easy to clean. 


We’ll walk you through the steps you need to take to remove the stains.


Step 1 - Take action immediately. The quicker you take action, the easier time you’ll have removing the stains.

Step 2 - Prepare a solution of 1 cup bleach and ¼ cup mild soap per gallon of clean water.

Step 3 - Apply a small amount of bleach and soap mixture. You want to make sure you don’t overdo it with this mixture, since there is bleach involved.

Step 4 - Use a sponge or a clean towel to clean the stain. Blotting the stain, rather than rubbing it in will give you the best results in removing the stain.

Step 5 - Use a hose to thoroughly rinse the area. Make sure you remove all soap residue. 

Step 6 - Air dry.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some marine flooring can not hold up to the power of bleach. Be sure to check your floorings cleaning instructions before using. Test in a small area first before applying. Also the bleach may not be a problem for the flooring but most upholstery and threads will break down once exposed to bleach. It is important that when the bleach mixture is applied and removed that it does not accidently get on anything else.

I will repeat this again as it's very important. Be sure the area around you is protected from the bleach mixture. Other material and fabrics could have an adverse reaction to the bleach mixture, so it’s important that the bleach mixture only comes in contact with the vinyl flooring.

Recommended Cleaners

We recommend limiting the cleaners that you use on your marine vinyl flooring, but sometimes when you have a stubborn stain, it may be helpful to get a little extra help.

If you have some minor stains, feel free to try these cleaners:

  • Orange Glo
  • Citrus Magic
  • Simple Green

If you have some more stubborn stains, you can try:

  • CLR
  • Tilex

Be sure to not let these cleaners sit on your floor for an extended period of time though. Once done cleaning the area, rinse the area thoroughly to be sure any cleaner substance isn’t left on the floor.

Be sure the cleaners are contained and do not come into contact with anything else on the boat. They will likely cause damage if they touch other material.

Read through each cleaner’s instructions and recommended uses before trying them out on your flooring.  


Cleaning Different Types of Vinyl Flooring

Depending on the type of vinyl flooring you choose, there are some minor differences in how you should clean the flooring.


If you’re using Flexa woven flooring, it would be beneficial to vacuum the floor on a weekly basis to avoid build up. This will help reduce the number of times you will need to do a deep clean on the flooring.


With all marine vinyl, it’s best practice to clean the flooring on a regular basis so that you can avoid any mold or mildew issues that build up over time.

Quick Recap

Cleaning your vinyl flooring is an important step to keep it looking nice and new. The biggest things to remember are:


  • Do a quick vacuum or lighter clean after each use, or once a week
  • Using warm water and dish soap will be the best for your flooring
  • Clean spills or stains as soon as possible
  • Avoid using cleaners if at all possible
  • If cleaners are necessary, be sure to read the instructions and recommended uses

Now that you know how to clean boat flooring, you should be able to clean up and remove any spills and stains that come up with your own boat.


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