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How to Clean Boat Carpets? Find Out All Easy Steps

Written by Anthony Roberts / Fact checked by Jonathan Larson

How to Clean Boat Carpets

Although boat carpets are made of marine-grade materials, they’re not invincible from getting dirty. Spills, mud, wet feet, fish guts, live bait, and saltwater splash can reach them without any warning.

Since there are various kinds of things that can pollute the boat carpets, you can’t just have a single method on how to clean boat carpets. You may use a boat cleaner, oil or gas, scrub, vacuum cleaner, or even a DIY cleaning solution.

You should know the right supplies and tools for a certain kind of filth that sticks on the carpet. You’ll know more about them if you keep on reading.

Different Things that You Can Use When Cleaning Boat Carpets

These are the different things that you can use for basic cleaning of your boat carpet.

1. A broom with a dustpan


These tools may be old school to you but they can help you tidy up the carpet. They are the basics of removing debris. You may be concerned about your back when using these things. Thus, make sure you get a quality broom to avoid any consequences.

You mustn’t get strained when cleaning. So you can save time and carry out the process well to achieve the desired result.

2. UV helps


When you have to eradicate mold and mildew on the boat carpet, you can just depend on nature. You can put it on your deck to bask under the sun. Before you do it, you have to physically remove the mold and mildew first.

Let the carpet sit under the sun for a few hours. The UV rays will exterminate the molds and mildew. What if you can’t remove the carpet from the floor? Then, use powerful UV lights which will deliver the same effect as the sun.

3. A vacuum cleaner


A shop vac or a cordless stick vacuum can be used in cleaning a carpet. It’s the ideal candidate as it can collect water too. Hence, it helps shorten the drying time. You can use this equipment before using a cleaner or scrubbing.

A vacuum can take sand and sediment that got stuck on the carpet. This tool helps you prolong its lifespan as these particles can damage the fibers. Sand will ruin its appearance but you can fluff it up with a vacuum to look good again.

4. Power washer


When you need to use a power washer, it’s necessary to be careful then. It’s especially utilized for extreme cleaning circumstances. You’ll have to put it in a low setting so you won’t destroy the carpet’s fibers.

It’s also intended for getting rid of the remains of harsh cleaners or detergents. However, you need not do it if your carpet is old and brittle. Or else, there will be holes in it.

5. Using a Carpet Stain Remover



Numerous carpet stain removers are deemed safe and excellent. The best ones that you can find in the market these days are Spot Shot Instant Carpet Stain Remover Aerosol, Oxiclean Carpet Cleaner, and Chemical Guys Lightning Fast Carpet Stain Extractor. Check this article to find more carpet cleaner products.

They have a solution that can handle various kinds of stains. You can give it a one go when cleaning a dirty carpet on your boat using these products.

If you prefer to use a milder cleaner with non-toxic formula, you can opt for CleanGo GreenGo Carpet Spot Cleaner, Spot Shot Instant Carpet Stain and Odor Eliminator, and Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover, and other products.

You may need to get a spray bottle as most removers need to be diluted with water. If the mixture is ready, you can spray it on the affected areas. Follow it up by scrubbing with a stiff brush.

Steps-by-Step Instructions


Step 1: Take the things that you don’t want to get wet out of the boat. Floor lockers are one of them for sure. If ever you’re on dry land, pull the bilge plug then you can put it back later.

You may tape the bilge next to the keys so you won’t lose it. Putting it in a pocket or digging through the cup holders is not a good idea.

Step 2: The cleaning will start with thoroughly vacuuming the carpet. All the dirt should be extracted before getting the carpet wet. It also lessens getting muddy water.

Step 3: To do it efficiently, clean on medium-sized sections. Use the cleaner or cleaning solution that you prefer. Blot it and let it soak in your dirty carpet. Scrub gently to get rid of dirt and stain in a manner that follows the carpet’s grain.

The grain usually goes from the front to the back. You’ll likely do it in sweeping motions. Rinse the certain section when you’re done. Then, you can move to another part.

Step 4: When you finish scrubbing the whole carpet, another rinsing is needed to ensure that all the soap is washed away. It’s not good that there is dried soap on the carpet as it looks and acts like glue that attracts dirt and dust.

You can use a shop vacuum to dry the boat carpet. It can also be placed under the sun. To quicken this process, use a broom to brush the marine carpet from the front to the back. It’s a way of fluffing up its grains.

Step 5: Put your bilge plug back. It’s mentioned as it’s also a necessary step considering it as a safety measure.

Solutions to the Challenges that You Face in Cleaning Boat Carpets

  • Blood, fish guts, and bait

Don’t use hot water on the stain that these things leave on your carpet because it will only make the marks permanent. What you need is an absorbent paste from combining cold water and dry laundry soap.

Apply it to the stained area and let it dry. For the final move, you can use a little brush or vacuum.

  • Red wine and vomit

You’ll find it difficult to clean this mess due to its acid content. Alkaline substances are the key to neutralizing and attacking this substance. Combine three parts of water and a part of baking soda. Make an ample amount of this mixture.

Apply it generously to the affected area. Then, cover with a clean, damp cloth for an hour or more.

  • Oil and grease stain

It’s best to attend to this stain right away and make sure you do it within 24 hours. Don’t ever allow it to settle on the carpet. You must know that this slippery substance can weaken the carpet’s components such as polymer and adhesive.

A stinky smell will also cling to the carpet’s fibers. To prevent this from happening, you can make a solution out of soap or dishwashing and surfactant. This blend will emulsify and remove the oil.

When picking a strong detergent, you must have a spot test first. Another thing that you can use on this problem is the cream used for shaving. Allow it to dry over the stain and wipe off the residue with a damp cloth.

  • Spilled paint

Don’t panic when you see paint splattered on your marine carpet. Instead, start mixing one and a half teaspoons of vinegar and just have a teaspoon of detergent to two cups of water. Use a sponge to get rid of the paint then wash it away with cold water.

  • Stubborn stain

Don’t lose hope when stubborn stains won’t budge. You can opt for spot remover or make a mixture of water and vinegar. Spot testing is essential when using a spot remover. Some may be too harsh and can damage rather than cleaning the carpet.

On the other hand, water and vinegar have abilities to break down dirt and stain. This combination is also known for eliminating the foul and fishy smell. The bonus part is it doesn’t pose harm.

  • Fruit and juice stain

In two cups of water, dissolve one tablespoon of detergent and one and a half spoon of vinegar. Apply this solution to the stained area so you can blot it out.

  • Coffee and tea stain

A simple solution can eliminate this stain. All you have to do is mix equal portions of water and vinegar. Blot out the stain with this mixture so it will disappear.

How Often Do I Need to Have Deep Cleaning On My Boat Carpet?

Deep cleaning must be done twice or thrice a year. You need to make it more often if you live in a warmer climate or use your boat most of the time. It’s best to have it once a month if you sail regularly.

You’ll find it to take a lot of time but it’s worth it. Who wouldn’t want to see a boat with clean and nice-looking boat carpets that offers comfort in every ride? With the proper way of cleaning, it can stay looking brand new in the long run.

Lay that Clean Boat Carpet Out!

Learn how to clean boat carpets properly so you can have a well-maintained marine carpet. Such abilities will not allow stains and discoloration to live on it! Hence, it will add to the fantastic aesthetic of your boat.

The dirt that stays on your carpet can also bring undesirable odors. It’s important to clean it so you’ll be comfortable when on board.

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