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How to Clean Your Inflatable Boat Without Damaging It

So your inflatable boat is dirty.

Dirt, grime, and maybe even molds have infested your boat. And you want nothing more than to remove these.

But there’s a problem. Far too many people damage their inflatable boats while attempting to clean it.

They use the wrong materials and wrong techniques. Instead of getting a spotless and shiny boat, they end up with a discolored and deflated boat. Instead of prolonging the life of their boat, they cut years of use away.

This begs the question, what then is the proper way to clean an inflatable boat?

If you’re wondering this, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re going to teach you all there is to know about cleaning inflatable boats. We’ll cover everything from how to prevent dirt, to how to get rid of molds.

So without further adieu, let’s get started!

How to Clean Your Boat After Using

Most people think that the best time to clean their boat is when it is dirty. Here at Anchor Travel, we know that this is not the case.

The best time to clean your boat is after every use.

We’ve all heard the saying, “Prevention is the best cure.” We all know how this relates to diseases, but did you know it applies to boat maintenance as well? The best way to clean your boat is to make sure it doesn’t get dirty in the first place.

Don’t wait for flecks of dirt to show up. If you do, you’ll have a harder time cleaning this. Instead, clean your boat before they get a chance to pop up.

Doing this is very easy, all you need to do is rinse and dry your boat.

Rinse

All you have to do is take your hose and give your boat a good spray. Do this after every use. If you don’t, your boat will slowly but surely turn grey and spotty.

This is because your boat will accumulate salt, sand, and suncream as you use it. So spray all of these off. These are the things that cause stains to appear.

Dry

After rinsing, it is crucial to dry your boat. Inflatable boats were made for the water, but they aren’t immune to molds. That’s why whenever you aren’t using them, it’s so important to keep them dry.

Even if you aren’t going to deflate and fold your boat, it’s still very important to dry it. This simple task will save you from the headaches of dealing with mold.

To do this, take a towel and wipe off all the water. You want to make sure that your boat isn’t damp, this is what molds love. That’s why you should wipe it well, make sure it is completely dry.

If the sun is out, you can also use this to your advantage. Nothing dries a boat faster than the heat of the sun. If you leave it out to dry, all the water will be gone before long.

Note: Don’t leave your boat out in the sun for too long. One of the things that damage inflatable boats is UV rays from the sun. Leave it out just enough for it to dry up, then keep it in the shade.

One area that the sun can’t get to is that tight space between the floor and side tubes. This area needs careful drying since this is where most molds form. So take your towel, and make sure you soak up all the water there.

With these two simple steps, you’ll never have to worry about stains and molds. Your inflatable boat will always be clean and shiny.

How to Clean Your Stained Boat

What if your inflatable boat already has stains?

Rinsing and drying won’t remove stains. These methods can prevent it from getting worse, but no matter how hard you rinse and dry, it won’t restore your boat.

But don’t fear! Getting rid of stains isn’t all that difficult.

Of course, it requires more time and effort than a simple rinse and dry does. When you put in this little extra effort though, you can say goodbye to these stains.

How?

All it takes is 5 simple steps.

How to Restore Your RIB in less than 60 minutes

Step 1: Gather Items

To remove stains, you’ll need more than water and towels. You’ll need:

  • An inflatable boat cleaner
  • Sponges, Scotch-Brite pads, or brushes
  • Latex gloves

An inflatable boat cleaning solution is the most important item here. There are several great solutions in the market today. We’ll have a look at which the best one is in just a moment.

Important! Make sure you choose a cleaner that is made for inflatable boats. Too many people use cleaners for fiberglass or aluminum boats, and end up destroying their boat. We’ll have a look at some of the things you should never use for inflatable boats in a while.

You’ll also need something to rub the dirt off. Depending on how tough your stains are, you can choose anything between sponges and brushes.

Finally, you’ll also need latex gloves. Inflatable boat cleaning solutions contain chemicals that can be harmful. You’ll want to avoid your skin getting in contact with it, so wear gloves as you work.

Step 2: Wash Boat

Before you get to work, wash your boat with water first. This will make your boat ready for cleaning. It will also allow you to spread the cleaning solution a lot easier.

Step 3: Apply Cleaner

Next up, apply your cleaner of choice on the boat. You’ll either spray, pour, or wipe this on.

You don’t want to work on the entire boat at once. The easiest and best way to clean your boat is to work in small portions at a time. Start on the inside with the floor, and work your way outwards.

Most cleaners will let you wait a while to let it set in. Read the instructions to know exactly how long you should wait. If you’re unsure, giving it around 2 minutes should be enough.

Step 4: Scrub

When the solution sets in, take your sponge and start scrubbing.

This is the most satisfying part of the whole process. As you work on it, you’ll see the dirt and stains being scrubbed off, revealing a clean and shiny boat underneath.

You may encounter stubborn stains here and there. To deal with these, add more solution and take a harder scrub.

Be careful not to overdo it though. Too many chemicals can damage the boat. Also, if you use a very hard brush, you could end up scratching the boat.

With careful and patient scrubbing, you should get rid of even the toughest stains.

Step 5: Repeat

Once you’re done on your first spot, rinse it off and move on to the next one. Keep doing this until you have cleaned the entire boat.

After that, you’re done!

This can be quite a long and tiring job, but it is well worth it. The sooner you clean off the stains, the less difficult it will be. You’ll also be prolonging the lifespan of your boat as you do this.

Bonus: Apply Protectant

Cleaning boat stains isn’t something you want to do every day, is it? That’s why applying a protectant after cleaning is a great idea.

A protectant such as 303’s UV protectant spray will block UV damage, prevent stains, and stop mildew from popping up.

All you have to do is coat your boat with this after cleaning, and maintenance will be a lot easier for you.

What are the Best Boat Cleaners?

If you go to a boat store or search online, you’ll find a lot of boat cleaners. It can be confusing as to which you should get. Whatever you choose, just make sure you get an inflatable boat cleaner.

If you don’t want to buy in the dark, we can help you out. These are our three recommended inflatable boat cleaners:

3M Marine Vinyl Cleaner

3M’s marine vinyl cleaner is a wonderful inflatable boat cleaner. Whether your boat is made from PVC or Hypalon, this cleaner will do the job.

This product comes with a spray head, making it super easy to use. Its fresh lemon scent makes it not only a good cleaner, but a pleasant one as well.

All in all, this is a great product for rejuvenating your dirty inflatable boat.

Star Brite Inflatable Boat Cleaner

Another good inflatable boat cleaner is Star Brite’s cleaner. Star Brite is one of the bigger brands when it comes to cleaning products. Their products have the quality that can be trusted.

This is certainly true when it comes to their inflatable boat cleaner. With this, you can get rid of thick layers of dirt and grime.

What’s more, Star Brite’s cleaner also has UV protection as well. When you use it, you’ll also be applying a layer of protection from the sun.

Amazon’s Inflatable Boat Cleaner

Last but not least, Amazon’s inflatable boat cleaner. This is a very high-quality cleaner. You can say goodbye to dirt, grime, and stains on your boat with this.

It also comes with a spray head, so it’s very convenient to clean your boat. Having something like this will make the tiring task of cleaning a lot easier.

What are the Worst Boat Cleaners?

Don’t use cleaners not made for inflatable boats. This can’t be stressed enough. It might get rid of the dirt, but it will damage your boat in the process.

Not every cleaner that isn’t specifically made for inflatable boats is harmful. However, there are several chemicals that can discolor and destroy PVC and Hypalon. And these chemicals are so common in other cleaning products.

That’s why we recommend you get an inflatable boat cleaner only. But if you can’t, here are the chemicals you should avoid:

  • Acetone
  • Alkaline Cleaners (anything above ph 11.5)
  • Ammonia
  • Bleach
  • MEK
  • Solvents
  • Toluene

Furthermore, you should also avoid using highly-abrasive scrubs such as steel wool. These will leave deep scratches on the fabric.

How to Clean Your Mold-Infested Boat

Picture this: It’s summer again, and you’ve finally found time to go boating. Excitedly, you bring out your inflatable boat from the storage. But when you open it up, your excitement turns to horror as you find molds all over the fabric.

This is something that a lot of people have experienced. To make things worse, molds are very stubborn. You can’t just deal with them the same way you deal with stains.

But it can be done!

Your regular cleaner won’t work here. You’ll need something stronger, something made for killing molds. We recommend Marine 31’s mildew remover gel.

With a powerful mildew remover like this, all you have to do is spray it on and wait. Let the gel do the work for you. These special formulas can disintegrate mold before your very eyes.

It does take a while, but the molds will disappear.

How to Clean Your New Boat

It may come as a surprise to you, but your new boat will need some cleaning as well. Before you even use it, it’s good to give it washing down first.

This is because a lot of times, manufacturers don’t clean their boats before selling it. A lot of the lubricants used while making the boat will still be on it. And when the sun and water contact these chemicals, they cause discoloration.

That’s why a lot of times, new boats go bad fast. To avoid this, give your boat a thorough washing. This is another simple step that can spare you a lot of headaches later on.

Conclusion

As with a lot of other things, prevention is the best cure. Don’t wait for your inflatable to go dirty. Give it a wash after every use, and you’ll never have to worry.

If you fail to do this, at least now you know how to deal with it. Now you know how to deal with dirt, grime, and even molds. There’s nothing you can’t clean off in your inflatable boat.

And not only that, but you now know the proper way of doing things. You won’t fall into the mistakes that so many have made. You can be sure that your boat will not only be clean, but safe as well.


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