Just like Spring cleaning at home or at the cottage, Spring cleaning on the boat isn’t much fun but necessary. It makes the rest of the season more enjoyable and easier to keep the boat looking it’s best for you, your family and friends and, if you’re like me, the easier the better.
Boats are constantly in need of being cleaned. But, if you do your heavy thorough cleaning in the Spring, you go a long way to protecting your investment and only need to do easier maintenance cleaning during the season.
There are many marine cleaning products on the market and you will no doubt use your preferred products to knock off the winter’s dirt and any left over spider spots from last boating season.
- While still ashore, clean all the grease and gunk out of the bilge. Cleaning and buffing the hull is easier ashore than afloat too, because the boat stays still when you push on it and you can reach below the waterline.
- Scrub the toilet(s) and sink(s). Wash the bulkheads, cupboards and drawers before you stock them.
- For vacuuming, if you take your home vacuum, it has more sucking power than the little hand vacs that are commonly kept on board. Your home vacuum will do a much better job and get out dirt and sand from deep down in the carpets and fabric. Doing a thorough vacuuming is a good idea before steam cleaning.
- Remove any marks from the vinyl or leatherette seat cushions and backs. Steam clean interior cushions, foam mattresses, sofas etc. to freshen them. If there is any mildew or mold smells, open the windows and ventilate. You may need an air purifier. Wash any window curtains, shower curtains or privacy curtains.
- Clean and polish windows and clear vinyl. Brush off all dust and/or mold or mildew from your canvas and re-waterproof it if necessary.
If you find mold on board your boat, it’s a good indication that you didn’t ventilate well enough last Fall. Leave the windows and ports open enough for cross ventilation. Also, leave all the interior doors open and drawers pulled out. Set up a small fan to keep the air moving; mold hates air circulation.
- Clean and deodorize the frig and any ice chests. Clean the stove and/or Barbeque.
- If your boat has exterior teak, spring is the time to clean, sand and reseal it. Unkept teak looks bad and deflates the value of your boat.
- Anchor lockers should be emptied of rope, cleaned and aired. The anchor rope should be cleaned and dried.
- The helm area around the gauges and electronics tends to gather dust, dirt, spider spots and dead insects. It needs to be scrubbed after storage. It is tricky to clean but using toothbrushes and proper cleaners makes this an easier task.
Time invested in a good thorough Spring cleaning will pay you dividends throughout the boating season and if/when you sell your boat.
Doug and Brenda Dawson