Nearly every boat owner in Northern Beaches has to struggle with the problem of ugly and stinky mildew growth on their marine vessel. Mildew or mould generally latches itself onto nearly everything on a boat, including sails, cushions, life jackets, cabin liners, lockers, biminis and foul-weather gear. They can grow at any spot with minimal light, poor ventilation and organic matter such as wood, carpet or vinyl. Mould growth generally relies upon conditions like humidity and ventilation. Their spores are capable of germinating within 48 hours, or sometimes, if conditions are favourable, even in a day.
Though it can seem impossible to keep mildew from sprouting on a boat, experts offering marine upholstery have a few control measures up their sleeve. First of all, there are numerous commercial products that can remove or prevent mould. According to the experts, bleach or sodium hypochlorite is a highly effective solution for killing spores and fungus. However, the chemical must be used properly. Those who wish to use something less toxic and harsh can go for ammonium chloride. Although the compound is less potent, it can terminate small patches of spores and does not take a toll on marine fabrics.
If the mildew has just started to appear, experts recommend using a mixture of water and some mild soap to remove it. In case it fails to provide a satisfactory outcome, the next best solution is a chlorine-free cleaner. Since common materials such as vinyl can get damaged with exposure to chlorine, it is better to avoid aggressive cleaners.
Sometimes the mildew may be too stubborn and won’t go away even after cleaning with non-aggressive commercial products. In that case, one will have to prepare a solution of 90 percent water & 10 percent bleach, use it for spot cleaning the stains, rinse with water and then allow the area to dry.
While trying different cleaners for removing mould or mildew from a boat, it is very important to read their labels properly and take suitable precautions if necessary. It must be kept in mind that certain chemicals capable of eliminating mildew are also harmful pesticides. These substances can be malignant to animals, pets and the environment. Besides that, chemicals often found in mould removers like alkyl ammonium chlorides can also ruin marine fabrics and stitching. Therefore, chemical products utilised to kill fungus must be non-aggressive. They should be kept as the last resort.