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8 Best Ways To Clean A Carpet On Boats

Yacht interior living room

Your boat is probably one of your most valuable investments. Naturally, you want to do all that you can to keep it looking brand new. One of the ways to achieve a long term brand new look is by keeping the boat’s carpet clean. 

Fortunately, keeping your boat’s carpet clean is not as hard as you may think. There are a variety of different methods you can use based on the type of stain. With regular and thorough cleaning of your carpet, your boat will always look the best it can be. 

Here are 8 of the best ways to clean a carpet on boats:

  1. Use a broom and dustpan.
  2. Expose the carpet to sunlight to eliminate mold.
  3. Use a cordless stick vacuum.
  4. Use a specialized boat carpet stain remover.
  5. Use a homemade carpet cleaning solution.
  6. Try deep cleaning with a carpet cleaning machine.
  7. Use a pressure washer.
  8. Hire a commercial carpet cleaning service.

But before we discuss the details of cleaning your boat’s carpet, let’s quickly talk about the most common issues that boat carpets face. 

Common Boat Carpet Issues

The beautiful carpets that complement your boat can easily get soiled by wet feet, spilled drinks, pet feet, muddy shoes, saltwater, and other things. These stains will make your carpet look bad and cause the growth of bacteria on it. If you don’t deal with the moisture from these stains, mold will grow in the carpet.

Regular exposure to rain and sun can also cause severe problems for your carpet. You need to learn to store your carpet correctly during the winter and summer periods to keep your carpet in good shape. When you fail to store your carpet properly, mold is sure to form. 

The harm that excess mold can bring to you and the visitors on your boat is enough reason to take action and keep your carpet clean. 

To help you combat mold and unsightly stains, here are the best ways to get your boat’s carpet back in shape. Note that you will need to check your carpet’s manual to know what type of method will suit your carpet. They will give you a detailed list of materials to avoid.

1. Use A Broom and Dustpan

A photo of a broom and a dustpan

I know it sounds a bit old-fashioned, but a broom and dustpan are handy tools when it comes to cleaning your boat’s carpet. It should be your first line of defense for removing debris from your carpet. 

You should also consider keeping a quality broom with a dustpan around because you don’t have to worry about back discomfort when using it. This lack of pain and the easy cleanup process will save you a lot of time and stress. 

2. Expose Your Carpet to Sunlight

A photo of the sunlight in the sky

Mold and mildew always thrive in a dark and moist environment. Follow these simple steps to get rid of them completely:

  • Physically remove visible mold from the carpet.
  • Place the carpet on the deck so that it receives direct sunlight.
  • Leave it in the sun for a few hours.

The ultraviolet light from the sun will kill the mold and mildew. 

That’s great – but what if you can’t remove the carpet from the interior of the boat?

If you can’t remove the carpet, use a powerful UV light instead. It will have the same effect as putting the carpet in the sun directly and will eliminate all of the mold and mildew inside the carpet.

3. Use A Cordless Stick Vacuum

A photo of a cordless vacuum cleaning the carpet

With a cordless stick vacuum, you can conveniently pick up small pieces of debris without having to go through the hassle of a vacuum with a cord. 

If your boat carpet is wet, you can consider using a wet/dry shop vacuum. This vacuum will suck up unwanted debris from the carpet, whether that debris is damp or dry. 

4. Use A Boat Carpet Stain Remover

A photo of a stain remover

Cleaning your boat’s carpet has been made easier with the use of carpet stain remover. Choosing a high-quality boat carpet stain remover will save you a lot of stress and hassle. 

Here are the top stain removers that you should consider:

Chemical Guys Foaming Citrus Fabric Carpet Cleaner: 

The Chemical Guys Foaming Citrus Fabric Carpet Cleaner easily dissolves dirt, smells, and stubborn stains. Whether the stain comes from food droppings, fish blood, waxy oils, beverages, or other nasty stains, it will eliminate them. 

It destroys these stains by breaking down all of the impurities and contaminants in your carpet. The cleaner also expels any unpleasant odor arising from the carpet. 

If you buy this product, follow these simple steps to use it:

  1. Get a separate spray bottle.
  2. Add a bit of the solution into the spray bottle.
  3. Add water to the spray bottle.
  4. Spray the diluted solution on to the affected areas. 
  5. Scrub with a stiff brush.

Star Brite Ultimate Carpet Clean & Protect 

The Star Brite Ultimate Carpet Clean & Protect is referred to as an all-in-one carpet cleaner because of its effectiveness in dealing with all kinds of stains. 

It is quick in dissolving any impurities like grime, fish blood, and oily stains. The PTEF polymer feature is what sets this cleaner apart from the competition as it will bond to the carpet to prevent dust, stains, and harmful ultraviolet rays. It also expels any unpleasant odor arising from the carpet. 

To use this product, spray on the affected areas, and scrub with a hard brush.

Marine Spray Nine Marine Cleaner

If you want a product that not only cleans the carpet but also cleans other things on your boat, the Marine Spray Nine Marine Cleaner is your best choice. It is a multi-purpose cleaning product that expels dirt and stains effectively. 

One of the key features that makes it a top pick is that it acts as a disinfectant. Regular use of this cleaner will prevent mildew and mold from invading your carpet. It also gets rid of unwanted odor from the carpet. 

With its two different sizes, you can choose the one that best suits your budget and need. To use this product, you need to spray on the affected area and brush it off.

Aero Cosmetics Interior Cleaner

The Aero Cosmetics Interior Cleaner is a relatively mild product that won’t ruin the texture and color of the carpet. It is also useful in expelling stains, dirt, oil, lotions, etc. 

It also cleans other interior parts like fabric, leather seats, and other areas. 

Follow these simple steps to use the product:

  • Spray the solution on the affected areas.
  • Rub the area gently with a damp cloth.
  • Turn the cloth to use the unused portion in cleaning other parts.
  • Repeat the process until the affected area is clean.

Turtle Wax Power Out! Carpet and Mats Cleaner

The Turtle Wax Power Out! Carpet and Mats Cleaner has a unique spray pattern that thoroughly cleans and deodorizes carpets and mats. It works by dissolving grime, dirt and other stains while eliminating unpleasant odors at the same time. 

Turtle Wax uses a unique formula called Odor-X that expels even the toughest odors caused by pet drools, smoke from cigarettes, food droppings, and more. It also displays a soil-repelling silicone feature that leaves the soil on the surface of the carpet after cleaning.

5. Use A Homemade Carpet Cleaner

Spraying and hand scrubbing carpet

Before you consider spending extra cash on commercial cleaners, you might want to consider a homemade carpet cleaner. These cleaning solutions are made from simple household materials that are mixed based on the type of stain you are facing. 

Here are the best homemade cleaners for use on boat carpets:


Vinegar is probably the most effective stain removal useful for different types of stains. 

You can use the following formulas to get rid of varying carpet stains:

Method 1 (General stains)

Most stains can be cleaned using the following method:

  1. Add two tablespoons of salt to a half cup of vinegar together in a container. 
  2. Rub the resulting mixture on light carpet stains. 
  3. Allow the solution to dry thoroughly on the area and then vacuum.

Method 2 (Tougher/darker stains)

If it is a more significant or darker stain, here’s what you need to do: 

  1. Prepare a mixture of half a cup of vinegar, two tablespoons of salt, and two tablespoons of borax. 
  2. Add the resulting mixture to the affected area. 
  3. Allow it to dry and then vacuum.

Method 3 (Dirt-heavy stains)

If you encounter tough and ground-in dirt, here’s what you need to do:

  • Prepare a paste containing one tablespoon of vinegar and one tablespoon of cornstarch. 
  • Use a dry cloth to rub the mixture into the tough stain. 
  • Allow it to sit for two days, after which you can vacuum.

Method 4 (Spilled paint)

If you have spilled paint on your boat carpet, here’s how you can clean it up:

  1.  Prepare a solution containing one and a half teaspoons of vinegar, one and a half teaspoons of laundry detergent, and two cups of water. 
  2. Use the resulting mixture to sponge away the paint just before it sets in. 
  3. Rinse with cold water.

Method 5 (Fruit and juice stains)

If you have fruit or juice stains, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Prepare a mixture of one tablespoon of laundry detergent, one and a half spoon of white vinegar, and two cups of water. 
  2. Apply the resulting mixture to the affected area and blot it out.

Method 5 (Tea and coffee stains)

For tea and coffee stains, follow this process:

  1. Prepare a mixture of equal portions of white vinegar and water.
  2. Apply the resulting mixture to the affected area and blot out the stain.

Method 6 (Ink, grease, and oil stains)

To remove ink, grease, and oil stains, use these steps:

  1. Make a paste from a mixture of milk and cornstarch. 
  2. Rub the resulting paste to the ink stain on the carpet. 
  3. Allow the milk and cornstarch paste to dry on the carpet for a few hours. 
  4. Brush the dried residue and vacuum everything up.

Note: To use it for grease and oil stains, you should sprinkle the affected area generously with the paste. Allow it to dry for several hours and vacuum it up.


Salt is also a powerful DIY carpet cleaner. Here are the various ways you can use it:

Method 1 (Red wine stains)

If you mistakenly spill red wine on your boat’s carpet, don’t panic. Use this guide:

This content is owned by Wabi Sabi Group and was first published on Sep 12, 2022..

  1. Add a little white wine to the stain while the red wine is still wet to dilute the color. 
  2. Use a sponge and cold water to clean the affected area. 
  3. Sprinkle the area with salt and hold on for about 10 minutes.
  4. Vacuum up the whole mess to get your carpet back in shape.

Method 2 (Greasy food stains)

If you have greasy food stains on your carpet, use this process to clean them up:

  1. Prepare a mixture of 1 part salt coupled with four parts of rubbing alcohol. 
  2. Rub it hard on the verse stain and vacuum. Ensure you rub in the direction of the rug’s natural nap.

Method 3 (Ketchup stains)

If you encounter a ketchup spill on your carpet, you need to respond before it dries, or you might not be able to clean it up. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Sprinkle the affected area with salt, wait for a few minutes and vacuum. 
  2. Sponge up any residue.
  3. Continue the procedure until the carpet is clean.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is also a great substance for DIY carpet cleaning.

Method 1 (Vomit and urine stains)

Baking soda is your best choice in cleaning vomit or urine stains from your boat’s carpet. 

  1. Wipe up the best you can from the stain before applying baking soda. 
  2. Gently pour the baking soda on the affected area. 
  3. Repeatedly tap with a paper towel.
  4. Allow the homemade mixture to dry completely. 
  5. Vacuum up the residue to expel the stain. 

Note: The best part about baking soda is the fact that it will clean, sanitize, and deodorize the affected area.

This article was first published on Sep 12, 2022 by Wabi Sabi Group..

Method 2 (Grease stains)

To use baking powder for grease stains, use the following process:

  1.  Mix an equal portion of baking powder with salt. 
  2. Sprinkle the resulting mixture to the grease stain on the carpet.
  3. Use a stiff brush to meander the powdered mixture into the affected area. 
  4. Wait four to five hours and then vacuum up to completely remove the grease stain.

Shaving Cream

Surprisingly, shaving cream can be a useful carpet cleaning substance in certain situations. 

Method 1 (Juice stains)

You don’t need to get worked up about spilled juice on your carpet when you have shaving cream. 

  1. Before adding shaving cream to the affected spot, blot the stain and pat the place with a sponge. 
  2. Apply the shaving cream on the spot carefully and wipe the surface clean with a damp sponge.

Method 2 (Oil and grease stains)

You can also use the cream to remove oil and grease stains. 

  1. Apply the cream on the affected spot and allow it to dry up. 
  2. Rub off the residue with a soft damp cloth to eliminate the stain. 

6. Try A Deep Cleaning via Hand Scrubbing

Hand scrubbing shampoo carpet

All the methods above are suitable for the timely cleaning of your carpet. However, some forms of dirt might find their way so deep into the fabric of the carpet that a vacuum might not be able to clean it up. 

Therefore, you should do a thorough cleaning two to three times a year to keep it in its best shape. 

One of the best ways to deep clean is through old-fashioned and scrubbing. True, it requires a lot of energy to achieve your aim. But you know what? It always gets the job done! 

You need to follow these steps to get the most out of your hand scrubbing:

  1. Park your boat so that water drains quickly through the floor.
  2. If you are using a water and vinegar mixture, get a pump-up sprayer and add enough vinegar and water to top it off. 
  3. If you are using detergent and water, mix it in a gallon first before pouring it into the pump-up sprayer.
  4. Use a vacuum to expel any loose dirt and saturate the whole carpet with water using a garden hose.
  5. Brush out any loose dirt with a soft scrub brush. Saturate the carpet again with water after this process.
  6. Apply your mixture (vinegar/water and detergent) on the carpet thoroughly. 
  7. Allow the solution to saturate the carpet well by waiting for several minutes.
  8. Scrub again with a brush to loosen up any remaining stains or dirt.
  9. Rinse while you continue to scrub. 
  10. When you are done cleaning, use a vacuum to suck the excess moisture.
  11. Let the carpet dry completely.
  12. Brush the carpet against the grain to make the fibers stand erect. 

7. Use A Pressure Washer

Pressure washing boat

If you already have a pressure washer for your car, then you need not get another. That same one you use for your vehicle will do the deep cleaning without the use of detergent. You can also rent a pressure washer if you don’t have one.

8. Hire A Commercial Carpet Cleaning Service

If you don’t mind spending the extra cash, you can always call a local cleaning company to do the job for you. They will send a team to do a professional cleaning for you. 

If you happen to live in a place where boating is accessible, you can also take your boat to a boat washing company for cleaning. 

Final Thoughts

To recap, here are the eight best ways you can clean a carpet on boats:

  1. Use a broom and dustpan.
  2. Expose the carpet to sunlight to eliminate mold.
  3. Use a cordless stick vacuum.
  4. Use a specialized boat carpet stain remover.
  5. Use a homemade carpet cleaning solution.
  6. Try deep cleaning with a carpet cleaning machine.
  7. Use a pressure washer.
  8. Hire a commercial carpet cleaning service.

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WabiSabi Group is the owner of this article and was published on Sep 12, 2022 and last modified on .

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