7 Simple Steps on How to Clean Boat Carpets

7 Simple Steps on How to Clean Boat Carpets

I think there is nothing sadder than having a boat with dirty carpets. It’s like investing in something very expensive but not wanting to take care of the necessary maintenance. That is why I always make sure that my boat’s carpet is clean. If you feel the same way, continue reading down below for more information on how to clean boat carpets effectively.

What You Will Need

When cleaning your boat’s carpet, it is essential that you have the necessary materials and equipment to make the job done quick and easy. Here are some of the things I invest on cleaning my boat’s carpets:


I especially feel like boats are susceptible to dust accumulation specially because it is open air. Due to that, investing in a vacuum cleaning for it is very important. Believe me, it will make maintaining the carpets and other parts of the boat a lot easier.

Spot Remover for Carpets

If your carpet has stubborn stains from wine and juice spills, it is a good idea to have a handy spot remover in stock. However, your spot remover must be specifically for boat carpet. Some spot cleaners which are for car and home carpet can be too potent for boat carpet.


A brush is necessary in removing stubborn stains. However, I suggest that you use a medium bristle brush so that it is not that harsh on the carpet.

Steps on How to Clean Boat Carpet

boat carpet stain treatment

Step 1: Clear the Surface

When you are cleaning your boat carpet, make sure that it is parked properly. After that, remove everything on the surface of your carpets to make it easy to access every corner of the carpet.

Step 2: Vacuum the Dust

When everything unnecessary is removed from the carpet surface, take out your vacuum. Vacuum the small particles such as sand from the carpet.

Sand can cause discoloration and damage on the fibers because they are coarse particles. Make sure to remove all of them with the vacuum.

Step 3: Wet Your Carpet

The next thing you have to do is spray water on your carpet. Make sure that every inch is soaked. This will help loosen the dirt that adhered to the fibers.

It is important to take note to avoid using spray nozzles when doing this. The pressure on the spray nozzle may cause holes or bald spots on the carpet and you would not want that. As much as possible, spray the water gently.

Step 4: Apply Cleaning Product

Once your carpet is thoroughly wet, you can now apply your cleaning product of choice. Your cleaning product must be appropriate for boat carpets. Each boat may have different carpet types so it is best that you read the manufacturer’s manual to see which one fits your carpet.

When applying your cleaning product, I personally follow a grid system. Doing this allows me to thoroughly check the areas of the carpet and see whether I need to use a spot cleaner or not. I also recommend that you do the same just to be thorough.

Step 5: Brush

After letting the carpet absorb the product, you can now brush the surface. You don’t have to brush it harshly in order to clean it. Remember, you already soaked the carpet with water and cleaner so the dirt stuck is a lot easier to remove now.

Also, harsh brushing on the surface of the boat can destroy the fiber structure. This may result in losing your carpet’s original texture.

Step 6: Rinse

If you have already brushed every surface of the carpet, you can now rinse the cleaning product off with water. If you notice that there is still dirt sticking in the area, continue brushing it further then rinse it again with water.

Make sure to thoroughly rinse the carpets in the cockpit and deck area. Again, do not use high pressure nozzles as it can damage the carpet’s fiber and even its marine-grade adhesive.

Step 7: Dry

When all the product and stains are removed, you can now dry your carpet. I usually do this by using a vacuum or blower. I feel like it is important to always finish cleaning by drying the surface because keeping it wet will only result in dirt sticking again.

Another way of drying your carpet is by dabbing it with a dry towel. You don’t necessarily have to dab it until it’s fully dry but just make sure it is not dripping wet.

Boat Carpet Stain Treatment

Here are some products you can use to treat stubborn stains on your boat carpet:

Tuff Stuff Stain Remover

If you are dealing with wine or coffee stains, then you might want to try using this one. It has a built-in bristle on the cap so you can always use it on the go.

Sprayon Heavy-Duty Degreaser

This one is also known to work well on heavy carpet stains. However, it is best applied by using a rag and dabbing it on the stained surface. Also, avoid doing rubbing motion when using this product because the stain is more likely going to spread. Instead, dab the product with a clean towel on the stain.

When choosing a carpet stain remover for your boat, it is best to check the manufacturer’s recommendation. Also, check the components used one the product and avoid using anything that contains bleach or other harsh chemicals.

Advantage of Regular Boat Carpet Cleaning

Mitigate Discoloration

The more you use your boat, the more grim, dust and other particles will be accumulated on the carpet. As a result, the carpets can turn grey in color which is not a good look.

You will want your boat to look good as long as possible and one way of doing that is by keeping its carpet colors well-maintained. Cleaning them regularly will help you achieve that.

No Unwanted Odor

Boat carpets are susceptible to developing grime smell specially because they tend to be always wet and that’s where grim thrive. If you hate that smell like me, the simple solution is to clean the carpet regularly to prevent it from developing. Trust me, having a good smelling boat is a better experience.

Longer Lasting Carpets

Grime, sand and other dirt stuck on your carpet can affect its longevity. This is why it is best to keep it clean. Moreover, boat carpet replacements are expensive and it will totally dent your pockets.

Best Practices when Doing Boat Carpet Cleaning

Clean the Carpet Regularly

I personally clean my boat’s carpet once every two weeks when it is docked and every after taking it out in the water. I like doing it this way because there is less dirt accumulation on the carpet and it is easier to manage.

However, I only do the deep carpet cleaning mentioned above once a month and only do vacuum on the other cleaning schedules.

Avoid Going to Carwash

This is a common mistake many boat owner’s do with their carpets. As convenient as it may sound it will cause damage to your carpet in the long run. You see, most boat carpets are made out of high-quality plastic fibers. When you use high-pressure nozzles one those fibers like the ones in the car wash, it can be badly damaged.

Moreover, the cleaning products used on car carpets are not compatible on boat carpets. Again, they have different types of fibers and those in boats are more sensitive to pressure and chemicals.

Do not Use Bleach

Your boat’s carpet is not the same as your carpets at home. Using bleach will melt the plastic fibers especially if you use a potent formula. This is why it is advisable to not consider using bleach on your boat’s carpet at all.

Take Care of Stains as Soon As Possible

The more you ignore the stains on your carpet, the harder it will be to remove. This is why as soon as you notice any kind of spillage, deal with it immediately. Do not wait until the substance dries on the carpet making it stubborn to remove.

Final Thoughts

Some of you might think that cleaning boat carpet is tedious, however, it is a necessary responsibility of every boat owner. Also, when you think about it hard enough, investing such effort in your boat will make you appreciate using it in the future.

Hopefully, the information on how to clean boat carpets mentioned above has given you an idea on how to best take care of yours.

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