Boating Basics Online is reader-supported. When you buy via our links, we may earn a commission at no cost to you. Learn more

How to Clean Boat Carpet in Easy and Simple Steps?

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

 how to clean boat carpets

  • Brush or Vacuum the Carpet
  • Wet carpet and apply the cleaning solution
  • Brush carpet soaked in cleaning solution
  • Rinse carpet and dry
  • Brush dry carpet one last time

For many, a boat is a place for them to relax. Maintaining the proper ambiance of your boat is essential, and as we all know, maintaining means cleaning.

However, carpets can be troublesome to clean. I’ve heard a lot of people decide not to get carpets for their house or vessel because of this. It may be troublesome, but it is manageable.

Read on and we’ll tackle how to clean boat carpets and get you set for your next boating trip.

What You Need


  • Water hose
  • Brush (at least two)
  • Long brush
  • Boat carpet cleaner
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Goggles
  • Cloth/Water vacuum

When choosing a boat carpet cleaner, make sure to consider your carpet’s material. Cleaning bass boat carpet and yacht carpet cleaning are usually not manageable with a deck cleaner, so make sure to read the product’s instructions.

It would be a good idea to use a general-purpose boat interior cleaner as it covers a wide range of materials that usually include many carpet materials, including upholstery for boats.

As for your brush, I usually have three on hand. One is for dry brushing, while one other brush and one long brush are for all other brushings. Hard bristle brushes are recommended.

How To Clean Boat Carpets Instruction


Step 1. Brush or Vacuum the Carpet Surface

The first step is to use a brush or vacuum to clean the carpet surface. I recommend doing 2 to 3 passes. The aim is to try to remove as much debris in the carpet as possible as this makes it difficult to clean the carpet.

If you’re using a vacuum, use the attachment with long bristles to try to loosen the debris caught in the carpet’s fibers. If you’re using a brush, then it should work just fine.

It is recommended to start from the side farthest from your drain hole working toward it. I keep this pattern in mind as I work through the steps in cleaning the carpet. This makes it easier to remove the dirt and keep it from getting into the carpet again.

Step 2. Wet the Carpet

Wet the entire surface of the carpet using your hose. It doesn’t need to have strong pressure, just make sure that the whole carpet is properly soaked. Completely soaking the carpet will make it easier to apply your cleaning solution, especially if you’re using soap water.

If you maintain working from the side farthest from the drain going to the drain, it also makes it easier to rinse the dirt off the boat.

Step 3. Apply the Cleaning Solution

Now it’s time to apply the cleaning agent. You can use boat carpet cleaning products or soap water if you prefer. Some people use a mixture of water and vinegar, but I’ve never tried it because I dislike vinegar’s strong smell. If you do use vinegar, use one part vinegar with five parts water.

Let it soak for several minutes; I prefer around 15 minutes. However, if you’re using a marine carpet cleaner, make sure to refer to the label for proper instructions on how to use your cleaning product.

Step 4. Brush the Carpet Again

After soaking the carpet, it’s time to brush the carpet again. It’s very easy for dirt and other particles to get stuck in the carpet. All these phases of brushing make it certain that we are cleaning everything off.

I recommend using a long brush for this one because it can get messy with your cleaning solution. I would also recommend using goggles because you don’t want any cleaning solution getting in your eyes, and brushing a soapy carpet makes it easy for that to happen.

Step 5. Wash off the Cleaning Agent

Rinse off the cleaning solution using your hose. It will be easier to wash everything off if you use stronger pressure, but don’t use too much pressure if your carpet is made of very soft material or you’ll risk damaging it.

Also, make sure to wash the carpet thoroughly. If there is soap left, it will make it easier for dirt to get stuck in the carpet again. It also makes it difficult for the carpet to dry; this applies to carpet cleaning products as well.

Step 6. Dry the Carpet Surface

First, brush the water off the carpet, again working toward the drain. Afterward, you can use a water vacuum to try to remove as much moisture from the carpet as possible. Take note that a regular vacuum can’t handle water.

You can also use cloth instead of a vacuum to try to get as much moisture off the carpet as possible.

After removing all the moisture that you can, leave it to dry. On a nice and sunny day, it should dry in a few hours, so try to make sure that the weather is expected to be clear.

Step 7. Brush to Regain Fluffiness

After the carpet has dried completely, take a dry brush and start brushing from the side of the drain going away from it. Brushing against the grain will help get it fluffy again.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to clean boats?

It is recommended to do a thorough cleaning of your boat about twice a year. I think autumn and summer are the best seasons.

Summer because boats usually see a lot of use during this time. If you have other people on board the boat, you will want to do a thorough cleaning at least once, although it wouldn’t hurt to clean the boat one more time right before summer ends.

Autumn because it would be a good idea to get the boat all cleaned up before getting it to winter storage. You’ll be doing work on the boat to get it ready for storage anyway, so you might as well get everything clean as well.

Once the season for boats rolls in again, you’ll be eager to get on the water as soon as possible, and realizing you have to do some cleaning first will end up dampening your mood. Besides, you won’t want to leave any stains as they’ll be even harder to clean if you wait too long.

However, if you’re using a boat for fishing, it may be necessary to clean more frequently. Maintaining a clean bass boat carpet is difficult if you don’t clean regularly, and you may risk the growth of mold since fishing tends to get the boat wet more often.

What sort of maintenance should be done on carpets?

Cleaning boat carpet becomes more complicated if you don’t maintain your carpet at all. Since a clean pontoon boat carpet is a must for receiving guests on your pontoon boat, you will want to do some periodic cleaning anyway.

Brushing or vacuuming the carpet surface is the most basic method we use. Cleaning pontoon boat carpet, for instance, can be difficult because of the large surface area, so making sure that there is less debris caught in the material makes it more manageable. Brushing and vacuuming usually do the trick.

Is it a good idea to use a beater bar or roller brush?

No. Because this will wear your carpet out faster, which leads to having to replace it sooner. Better not to use it unless you’re fine with replacing your boat carpet often.


With that, we have covered the basics of how to clean boat carpets. Now you know how manageable it actually is to clean boat carpets and that it’s nothing to get stressed over.

A clean boat ensures that you’ll be able to make the most of your next boat outing. So hopefully, we were able to wash away your worries and get you more enthusiastic about maintaining your boat.

We hope you found this guide helpful. Please leave your comments below. Remember to always boat safely.

5/5 - (3 votes)