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How to Clean Your Boat Cover? – 8 Steps to Do

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

How to Clean Your Boat Cover

Your boat cover plays an important role – to protect your boat. Keeping it free from dirt will make your boat look neat and clean.

You should know how to clean your boat cover as a boat owner. The task of cleaning your marine canvas only requires some necessary tools. Read on and discover the steps in cleaning your boat cover.

You will also find video tutorials about cleaning and waterproofing the boat cover canvas.

8 Easy Steps to Clean Any Boat Cover

What to Prepare


Below are the things you need to clean the cover of your boat. There are many options on what cleaning agent to use, but the list will not mention all.

  • Bucket of fresh water
  • Cleaning solution (homemade or commercial canvass protectant or cleaner)
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Spray bottle (necessary if you create your cleaning solution)
  • Waterproofing agent
  • Rubber gloves and a mask

Steps-by-step Guide

Below are the basic steps when you wash a boat cover. These steps are always applicable regardless of the cleaner and protectant you use.

Step 1: Prepare everything you need for the cleaning job to be smooth. Make sure you put on a pair of rubber gloves to protect your skin from the cleaning agents.

Then, take the canvas off the boat for easy cleaning.


Step 2: Wet the canvas and remove the loose surface dirt and debris using your soft bristle cleaning brush.

You can soak the cover in a bucket of water or use a water hose.


  • It is best not to use a pressure washer when cleaning your boat cover to avoid damaging the protective coating of the canvas.
  • You should not wash the boat cover in washing machines because this can easily damage the item.


Step 3: Prepare your cleaning solution. If you are using a commercial cleaning product, ensure to follow the product usage guidelines.

You can purchase a boat canvas cleaner and boat canvas restorer. If your marine canvas suffers from mold and mildew, these ready-made solutions can be very effective.

If you prefer a homemade cleaner, mix the following ingredients in a spray bottle:

  • Warm water: 1 cup
  • Powdered borax: ½ cup
  • White vinegar: ¼ cup


Step 4: Apply your cleaning solution on the canvas and let it sit for a few minutes for it to effectively loosen the dirt and stain. Cleaning sprays can help remove mildew from canvas boat cover.


Step 5: Pick up your cleaning brush again and gently scrub the canvas surface to remove the stubborn dirt, stain, or mildew.


Step 6: Rinse the canvas with water. It is best to use a water hose when rinsing the boat cover because it is more convenient.


Step 7: Let the boat cover dry in the open air naturally before you proceed to the next step.


Step 8: Protect boat cover with a waterproofing solution.

Apply the waterproofing agent to your boat cover to restore boat cover water resiliency. The video below provides good information about waterproofing a boat cover.


Do not fold to store your boat cover if it is not completely dry because this will cause the growth of mold and mildew.

You can watch the video below if you need more tutorial on how to clean and maintain your boat cover.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean my boat cover?

Cleaning your boat cover at least once a month will help prevent the buildup of dirt, mold, and mildew.

Cleaning your boat becomes easy when you make it a habit and part of your boat maintenance.

Can you use a washing machine to clean the boat cover?

Washing machines can severely damage your boat cover’s protective coating. The best way to clean boat covers is to use a water hose and a soft bristle cleaning brush.

How much does it cost to hire a boat cover cleaning service?

Boat cleaning rates vary from state to state. In most cases, boat cover cleaning can be a part of a boat detailing service package.

You can talk to the boat cleaning services in your area if you wish to hire a professional to clean your boat cover. However, you can also do it yourself because the job is not complicated.


It is a must to protect your boat cover because it plays an important role in securing your boat. Now that you know how to clean your boat cover, you should make it part of your boat maintenance.

You can use a mild soap or homemade cleaning solutions to clean your boat cover. However, you can purchase a boat cover cleaning spray for better results.

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