Cleaning Boat Carpet

A conversation among Whalers
pcrussell50
Posts: 91
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:08 am
Location: SoCal/SoNev

Cleaning Boat Carpet

Postby pcrussell50 » Sat May 23, 2020 1:08 pm

While I have two Boston Whaler boats, a SPORT 13 and an ALERT 17, I have another boat: an 18 foot open boat with no cabin and with the ubiquitous gray marine carpet. The carpet is only four season old, but it's never been cleaned and starting to look a little grungy. But I'm still new enough to boating that I don't have a lifetime of experience to draw upon for things like this.

What can be used to freshen-up boat carpet?
What carpet shampoo can be used?
Can Dawn detergent and a stiff brush be used?
Can the rinse water go down the transom hull drain?

--Peter

Jefecinco
Posts: 1043
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:35 pm
Location: Gulf Shores, AL

Re: Cleaning Boat Carpet

Postby Jefecinco » Sun May 24, 2020 10:05 am

It's been several years since I cleaned boat carpet so things may have changed a lot since my carpet cleaning days. I assume the carpet is "outdoor carpet". If so, it will withstand a lot but it is still carpet.

I recommend first to try a mild bio-friendly detergent and a less stiff brush. I have a few brushes and they vary from very stiff plastic bristles to softer brushes suitable for vinyl upholstery.

Also, visit [boat] carpet manufacturers' websites to see if they offer any washing tips for your type or brand boat carpet.
Butch

jimh
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Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
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Re: Cleaning Boat Carpet

Postby jimh » Sun May 24, 2020 11:22 am

pcrussell50 wrote:Can the rinse water go down the transom hull drain?


Here I interpret the verb “can” to mean “will it be environmentally responsible to allow.”

If you clean the boat carpet while on land and the 18-foot boat is on its trailer, you can wash the rinse water out of the boat through a hull drain onto the ground, assuming it is your ground.

If the boat is in a freshwater lake, there might be some environmental regulations that prohibit flushing out sudsy water. If the boat is 100-miles offshore in the ocean, no concerns about the rinse water going into the sea.

Compliance with best environmental practices for avoiding water pollution varies among boaters. I occasionally wash my hair while swimming in Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan has a volume of 400,000,000,000-gallons of water. Another boater chastised me for adding suds from my hair shampoo to the lake water.

pcrussell50
Posts: 91
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:08 am
Location: SoCal/SoNev

Re: Cleaning Boat Carpet

Postby pcrussell50 » Wed May 27, 2020 11:49 pm

jimh wrote:I occasionally wash my hair while swimming in Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan has a volume of 400,000,000,000-gallons of water. Another boater chastised me for adding suds from my hair shampoo to the lake water.


Even without the nearly infinite dilution, I would not be too sure that a little shampoo would cause any harm. In California, especially during drought, it was encouraged to wash your car on your lawn, which we did, on the fairly rare occasions that we did such. It appeared to have no negative effect on the grass.

Back to the original question: we took the boat to a self-serve car wash. Positioned the transom drain over the drain grate in the car wash stall and blasted the carpet with high pressure soapy water, then high pressure rinse water. The water going out the drain was a little brownish at first, from four years of accumulated dust and grunge, before turning clear. Overall, quite a success. Carpet looks nice now. Happy.

-Peter