Modern boat canvas is usually made from a synthetic fabric, like Dacron or nylon, rather than cotton. Since your boat's canvas is regularly subjected to a wet--or at least damp--environment, mold prevention is the goal of canvas maintenance. Elbow grease, without harsh chemicals that damage the canvas, can prevent mold from gaining a foothold and is no more than an afternoon's work.
Things You'll Need
- White vinegar
- Clear water
- Soft bristle scrub brush
Remove the canvas from the boat and spread the canvas over a smooth surface. If you try to scrub the canvas on a gravel or paved surface, you may damage one side while scrubbing the other.
Mix 2 tablespoons of Woolite and 2 cups of white vinegar in a gallon of water. Do not use liquid bleach on boat canvas, regardless of the type of material. The active ingredient in liquid bleach is sodium hypochlorite, which will strip the protective coating from the threads that are used in the canvas.
Rinse the canvas with clear water. Scrub the canvas with a soft-bristle deck brush and a mild liquid dish soap to remove loose dirt, salt and sand.
Use a brush with soft bristles to scrub the parts of the canvas that show any evidence of mold with the Woolite/vinegar/water mixture. Continue to scrub these areas until the mold has been physically removed.
Hang the canvas so that both sides are exposed to the air and allow it to air dry undisturbed. When the canvas is completely dry, fold it or roll it and store it in a clean, dry place.
Tips & Warnings
- Store your canvas out of the weather in a cool, dry place. If you store your canvas in a sail bag, you can add dessicant packs--available at any boat supply store--in the sail bag to prevent the formation of moisture and mold while the sails are in storage.
- This project involves the use of chemicals. Use appropriate precautions.
- "The Big Book of Boat Canvas;" Karen Lipe; McGraw Hill Professional, 1991, pp. 232 ff
How to Remove Mildew From Canvas
When canvas tents, chairs or shoes are left in warm, moist environments, they may become the breeding ground for molds and mildew....
How to Clean Mold & Mildew From a Boat Cover
Both mold and mildew are fungal infestations that thrive in warm, dark, damp environments. Keeping your boat cover mold- and mildew-free requires...
How to Clean Mold out of Boat Cushions
Boat cushions are a prime breeding ground for mold and mildew. With plenty of dark, damp and warm surfaces on which to...
How to Clean Canvas
Canvas is a popular fabric because of its durability. It is used to make shoes, furniture, boat and car coverings, among other...
How to Remove Mildew From Boat Canvas
In nature, mildew has the important job of breaking down organic materials. Thriving in warm damp areas, this slimy substance adheres to...
How to Clean Moss Off Canvas
A common fabric used in various outdoor items, canvas is durable and -- with the proper care -- will last for years....
How to Clean a Waterproof Canvas
Waterproof canvas is typically used on boats as well as other similar outdoor surfaces. The heavy duty canvas does not absorb water,...