How to Wash Boat Covers

Boats are a great way to enjoy spending time with family and friends on the open water. A boat cover is an essential item for protecting your boat from the elements and keeping it in good condition. It is important to keep your boat cover clean to ensure it continues to do its job. Washing your boat cover can be a daunting task, but with the right cleaning supplies and a bit of time, it can be done. Read on to learn how to wash boat covers properly.

How to Wash Boat Covers

Washing boat covers is a relatively simple process, but it is important to do it correctly to ensure your cover lasts. To start, remove the cover from the boat and shake off any dirt or debris. Next, use a brush to scrub away any remaining dirt or stains. Then, fill a bucket or large container with warm water and a mild detergent, and submerge the cover into the mixture. Let the cover soak for at least 15 minutes before agitating it in the water to remove any stubborn dirt or stains. Rinse the cover with clean water and hang it up to air dry.

  1. Remove any debris or dirt from the boat cover with a brush or a damp cloth.
  2. Fill a bucket with clean water and a mild soap, such as a mild laundry detergent.
  3. Submerge the boat cover in the soapy water for up to an hour.
  4. Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the boat cover, paying close attention to any stained areas.
  5. Rinse the boat cover with clean water and allow it to air-dry.
  6. If the boat cover is heavily stained, you can use a gentle fabric cleaner or stain remover.
  7. Hang the boat cover up to dry in a cool, dry place.

To get the most out of the cleaning process, you may want to use a specialized cleaning solution designed specifically for boat covers. This will help to remove any salt deposits or other residue that may have built up over time. Avoid using any abrasive cleaners or brushes, as these can cause damage to the boat cover. Think of checking our article about best boat washes. Make sure to follow up the cleaning process with a waterproofing treatment to help ensure your cover is protected and lasts longer.

How to Wash Boat Covers

Can you machine wash boat covers?

No, you should not machine wash boat covers. They are made from fabrics like acrylic or polyester, which are not suited for machine washing. Strong washing machine cycle and detergent can damage the material and cause it to lose its waterproofing properties. It is best to hand wash your boat cover using a mild soap and warm water.

For best results, they should be rinsed thoroughly after washing. Once it is dry, you should apply a water-repellent spray to restore its waterproofing properties. You should inspect the boat cover regularly for signs of wear and tear. If you notice any damage, it should be repaired or replaced immediately to ensure it continues to provide protection to your boat.

How do you clean polyester boat covers?

To clean a polyester boat cover, start by brushing off any loose dirt or debris. Then, mix a solution of warm water and mild detergent in a bucket. Once the solution is prepared, use a soft-bristle brush to scrub the cover with the detergent mixture. Rinse off the cover with a garden hose and let it air dry.

If there are any stubborn stains on the cover, use a soft scrubbing brush and a specific type of cleaning solution to treat them. Make sure to read the cleaning instructions on the solution and the care instructions on the cover before you use it. Once the stains are cleaned, rinse the cover thoroughly and let it air dry. To help protect the cover from future stains, use a fabric protector spray after it is completely dry.

Cleaning boat cover in washing machine

Cleaning boat cover in washing machine

It is possible to clean a boat cover in a washing machine, however it is important to take certain precautions. The cover should be placed in a washing machine on a gentle cycle, with cold water and a mild detergent. It is also important to make sure the cover fits properly in the machine and that it is not overloaded. It should be dried as soon as possible to avoid mildew and shrinkage. It is recommended to use a low-heat setting on the dryer and to remove the cover while it is still damp.

It is also important to inspect the cover for any rips or tears before washing, and to repair them if necessary. They may have special care instructions, so it is important to check the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper cleaning. If the fabric is delicate or the cover is heavily soiled, it may be better to spot clean or hand wash the cover instead of putting it in the washing machine.

Cleaning Supplies

Before you start to clean your boat cover, make sure you have the right supplies. You will need a bucket, a mild detergent, a soft brush, and a hose. You should also have some rags or a sponge to help you scrub away any stubborn dirt or stains.

Rinsing the Cover

The first step in cleaning your boat cover is to rinse it with a hose. Make sure you hold the hose far away enough from the cover to avoid damaging it with too much pressure. Rinse the cover until all dirt and debris is removed.

Applying the Detergent

Once the cover is rinsed, it is time to apply the detergent. Start by filling a bucket with warm water and adding the detergent. Make sure to read the label of the detergent to make sure it is safe for use on your boat cover. Once the detergent is added, mix it with the water until it forms a soapy solution.

Scrubbing the Cover

Use a soft brush to scrub the boat cover. Start by dipping the brush into the soapy solution and then scrubbing the cover in small circular motions. Make sure to concentrate on any heavily soiled areas. When you are finished scrubbing, rinse the cover with the hose again to remove any remaining detergent.

Drying the Cover

Once you have finished scrubbing and rinsing the cover, it is time to dry it. You can either hang the cover up to air dry or use a towel to dry it. If you choose to use a towel, make sure it is a soft, lint-free towel. When the cover is dry, it is ready to be put back on the boat.

Preventing Damage

Preventing Damage

Cleaning your boat cover regularly is important, but it is also important to take steps to prevent damage. Make sure to store your cover in a cool, dry place when not in use. You should also avoid storing the cover in direct sunlight, as this can cause the fabric to fade and weaken over time.

Cleaning Tips

Here are a few tips to help you keep your boat cover clean:

Spot Cleaning

If you notice any stains or dirt spots on your cover, you should try to spot clean them as soon as possible. This will help prevent the spots from setting in and becoming harder to remove.

Using a Mild Detergent

When washing your boat cover, make sure to use a mild detergent. Harsh detergents can damage the fabric and fade the colors, so it is important to use a detergent that is designed for cleaning boat covers.

Checking the Fabric

When cleaning your boat cover, make sure to check the fabric for any signs of damage. If you notice any rips, tears, or fraying, you should contact a professional for repairs.

Storing the Cover Properly

When you are done cleaning your boat cover, make sure to store it properly. Make sure to keep it in a cool, dry place that is away from direct sunlight.

How to clean boat cover mildew

How to clean boat cover mildew

To clean mildew from a boat cover, start by spraying it with a solution of warm water and a mild detergent. Use a softbristled brush or a sponge to scrub the cover gently, taking care not to damage the fabric. Rinse the cover with clean water and let it air dry. If the mildew stains remain, try using a product specifically designed to remove mildew. Follow the instructions on the product label and take care to avoid contact with any exposed skin. Use a protectant spray to help prevent future mildew growth.


Cleaning your boat cover is an important part of boat maintenance. With the right supplies and a bit of time, you can make sure your boat cover stays in good condition. Make sure to rinse the cover, scrub it with a soft brush and mild detergent, and dry it thoroughly. Additionally, take steps to prevent damage and store the cover properly. Following these steps will help ensure your boat cover stays clean and in good condition for years to come.