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Quick Tip: How to Remove Mold or Mildew from Your Boat's Storage Compartments

The simple and effective way to remove mold and mildew.

Quick Tip: How to Clean Your Boat’s Storage Compartments

Recommended Supplies

  • Mold and mildew remover
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Distilled water
  • Spray bottle
  • Scrub pad
  • Towel


Integrated storage compartments on a boat are a blessing. They keep critical supplies like life jackets, fishing gear, tools and more out of the way, yet easily accessible when they’re needed. They’re also designed to keep water out, but the funny thing about boats is … well … they get wet. Really wet! And if you put anything into these compartments that hasn’t been given adequate time to thoroughly dry out, you will very likely have to do a little mold and mildew abatement. That’s because mold thrives in enclosed areas that have been exposed to moisture.

Provided your compartments are watertight, the best way to deal with mold and mildew, of course, is to prevent it from forming in the first place. This is done by making sure everything that goes into your storage compartments is thoroughly dry and the compartment itself is also dry.

But it’s an imperfect world, and in this world, mold happens! So, in the event that you have detected mold or mildew on any of the stored items or in the compartment itself, it’s wise to address the issue before it becomes more involved.

To do that, open up the compartments to promote airflow and remove all the contents, checking for mold inside. If you find some within the compartment, the first thing you’ll want to do is test your cleaning solution on a hidden area to see how it responds. As for the solution, it’s super easy to make. Simply combine 3 parts distilled white vinegar with 2 parts distilled water in an empty spray bottle. Vinegar, while incredibly effective at removing stubborn stains, won’t typically cause discoloration, but it’s always best to be sure.

If all goes well with your test area, proceed by spraying the solution to all areas affected, using a soft-bristled scrub brush to remove the stains. Now, if there still are some stains after you’ve thoroughly scrubbed the compartment, you’ll probably want to purchase a commercial-grade mold remover, and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Once you have the compartment clean, be sure the items you are storing are also free from any mold or mildew. If any of your items are stained, clean them the same way you cleaned the storage compartments.

After the compartments and everything you keep inside are nice and clean, be sure to let everything dry out thoroughly before putting things back and closing the compartment hatches.

Now with everything shiny and clean and all put away, it’s time to get back on the water!

Quick Tip: How to Clean Your Boat’s Storage Compartments
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