What is mold and mildew? It is your Boats Worst Nightmare!
Mold is actually a living microbe.
Mildew is a variety of mold that leaves a powdery residue.
Mold requires a host (the vinyl), food (dust, dirt and elements in the vinyl) and moisture (obviously abundant in a boat). Mold does not need sunlight like most plants making a covered boat an ideal environment for mold to thrive. Mold and mildew can cause stains in various colors usually black, purple, yellow or pink. Many times the stains are mistaken for color leaching from bathing suits, towels or some other fabric. Those stains come from reactions to secretions the mold uses to break down the vinyl into consumable elements much like a fly regurgitates saliva to break down food sources. It is that process that embeds the stain into the vinyl making it impossible to remove without damaging the vinyl and/or thread in our opinion based on 30 plus years working with marine vinyl.
Your First Look
It won’t be long before many of you will be uncovering your boat to get ready to enjoy the summer only to find mold and/or mildew has taken over your interior!!
It may be too late to remedy the situation when it comes to your vinyl. This is truly an area that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” adage applies.
We will not cover mold and mildew removal because we do not know of any product, process or procedure that we can say with any certainty does not damage the UV protection element of the marine vinyl or the thread used in the upholstery.
We will address the way to prevent mold and mildew and extend the usable life of your upholstery.
Prevention of mold is the key to achieving the longest usable life of the vinyl.
Keeping your Moisture under control is the Key To Mold & Mildew Control
Here are a few tips to prevent mold growth on your upholstery.
Wash all vinyl areas with mild soap and warm water after every use of the boat. Cleaning helps to eliminate food sources for mold which is dirt, lotions, body oil, etc.
Towel dry, dry, dry the upholstery.
Use Aerospace 303 vinyl protector as directed religiously.
We have tested many vinyl coatings over the years and have found that many actually dry out the vinyl. There may be other vinyl coatings that work but we are not aware them. We have witnessed quite a few interiors that we made 10 plus years prior, that still looked almost like new and all of them used the Aerospace 303.
Before you put a cover on the boat, let the interior dry as much as possible.
Place several, (you can’t have too many), moisture removing stations, such as Damp Rid, throughout the boat.
Check and empty them as directed on the product. You will be amazed at how much moisture they absorb.
Be sure the cover has vents and/or vented support poles to allow evaporation.
If you follow these steps you will enjoy a mold free boat interior for years to come.
Enjoy the summer in style with a sharp looking boat!
The Bad News
Once Mold & Mildew starts growing, anything you use that will clean it off will damage the UV coating on the vinyl and the thread.
You may not notice any damage at first but in time the vinyl will dry out and the thread will rot. It is a lesser of two evils as whether to try and clean it causing damage or put up with the black stains.
Either way, eventually, the skins will have to be replaced.