How to Clean a Boat's Interior

There are many ways to keep the exterior of a boat clean and shiny. Removing dirt and scratches, compounding, polishing, and more are all common techniques used in the boat detailing community. However, the interior of your boat should never be overlooked. If things start to fall apart inside due to lack of care, it doesn’t matter how shiny the outside of the boat is.

Interior Care is Critical – Here’s Why

Note: Found this image on the Dekit website -- Is it ok to use?

Passengers and captains alike spend so much time inside the boat. Whether it’s to grab a snack, get out of the sunlight, or simply just take a seat at the table, people are always using the inside of the boat. Just like UV rays can damage external parts of the boat, the sun can also wreak havoc on interior trim and leather areas, causing them to dry out or fade. To keep your boat comfortable for years to come, taking care of its interior is critical.

Carpet Versus Foam Flooring

On boats, carpet will take a beating. Carpet is not exactly known for doing well with water, sand, and other substances that come with the boating experience. It can easily get matted, grimy, and worn down if not cared for properly. Here are all the steps behind maintaining a carpeted deck:

  1. Remove floor mats often and shake them out, but be careful not to dump rocks, sand, and other debris on the boat’s floor when you’re removing them. You want that stuff OUT of the boat, not in it.
  2. Vacuum regularly. A quick vacuum after each time on the water will remove all the sand and dirt, keeping your carpet fresh. We recommend getting a handheld vacuum to keep inside the boat for easy access.
  3. A firm bristle brush-down every now and then can help remove harder-to-get debris or separate areas of carpet that are starting to get matted.
  4. Treat any stains with fabric cleaner, leaving the solution on as directed, usually for a minute or two, before scrubbing it with a bristle brush.
  5. When your carpet is clean, use a fabric protector that will help protect it from all future messes.

Although there is nothing wrong with maintaining carpets on boats, you can avoid this whole process by switching to foam floors like those offered by DEKit. These are long-lasting and durable. They’re also UV resistant and absorbent, which means they won’t stain your deck.

For foam flooring, you can use a good foaming agent such as DEKit’s Foam Cleanser. Not only does this do an excellent job cleaning your foam, but it also works on tough stains on your hull and gel coat.

Do yourself a favor and get rid of the carpet. It will save you a ton of time and headaches! 

The Process of Cleaning Interior Trim

Invest in a good cleaning solution for whatever material you have on the interior of your boat. Vinyl, plastic, and rubber are commonly seen, and using a good cleaning solution every few months can help keep the interior looking brand new. There are also protectants that offer protection from damaging UV rays; use these to avoid fading and discoloration.

How to Care for Vinyl Seats

Vinyl is a polymer material. Polymer means that its molecules are long chains of carbon atoms that bind together. This makes vinyl very durable and resistant to damage. Vinyl is also lighter than other types of plastic, making it ideal for boats. And because it has no pores, it does not absorb water or oil. That’s why vinyl is perfect for boats.

Although vinyl offers more flexibility than something like leather, it still needs to be maintained regularly. An all-in-one product can usually get the job done. 

An All-In-One Vinyl Protectant

Presta offers a killer ready-to-use formula that mildew, dirt, grime, and more. We recommend it to all our customers for vinyl care because it leaves no residue or film and penetrates deep into pores to remove embedded soils. 

This product is our go-to choice for vinyl, plastic, and rubber surfaces. 

How to Care for Interior Glass

Properly coated class is an important part of maintenance.

Glass coating serves a couple of functional purposes. First, glass coating makes the surface of the glass hydrophobic, meaning that it repels water and makes your glass easier to maintain. Second, the hydrophobic properties make it easier to see through rain or snow. This isn’t a step you want to skip, as it contributes to the safety and longevity of your boat.

In addition to protecting the exterior of glass, it’s also vital to protect the inside. Interior glass can crack over time or become scratched easily if neglected. We recommend polishing and coating your class to prevent these problems from occurring. 

Here are the tools you’ll need: a rotary machine, Starke Yacht Care Glass Polish, Lake Country HDO Pads, Venom Water Spot Remover, Starke Yacht Care Surface Prep Alcohol Spray, a microsuede applicator sponge, a standard microfiber, and THOR Marine Nano Ceramic Coating

Watch the video below to learn how we get this process done at Marine Detail Supply Tampa Bay.

A Boat is Only as Clean as the Interior

If your boat is your pride and joy, don’t forget to take care of its interior. Sure, other boaters on the water may never see the elbow grease you put into your leather seats, but you and your loved ones will, and that’s what matters.


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