No longer made of just cotton, which didn't hold up well to natural elements such as wind, rain and hail, marine canvas is now constructed of a durable blend of synthetic fabrics. Although the hardy canvas is mold and mildew resistant and made to repel water, you'll still need to maintain it properly to ensure that it looks and performs its best.
Marine canvas is what protects your boat from sunlight, moisture, and other elements that can degrade it over time, so it's important to clean the canvas from time to time. Since you'll be cleaning the marine canvas outdoors, be sure to use eco-friendly products that won't pollute or harm the groundwater system.
Here are some tips for maintaining your marine canvas.
1. Wash It Off
The easiest way to keep marine canvas free of dirt and debris is by simply rinsing it down with plain water from a hose at least once a month. If the fabric has been exposed to harsh elements or kept in an area where it can easily get dirty, you may have to rinse it off weekly rather than monthly.
Equip the hose with a high-pressure nozzle so that you can loosen any stuck-on pieces of debris, such as bird excrement or dried mud.
2. Clean It with a Soap Solution
If the water alone isn't enough to clean the canvas, it's time to use soap. Rinse the canvas with water and then mix warm water and a mild dish soap in a bucket. Work the soapy solution into the marine fabric using a clean, soft sponge, concentrating on especially dirty areas.
Rub the soap mixture into any stubborn stains using a soft-bristled brush if needed. Avoid using any abrasive items, such as steel wool, which could damage the canvas.
Thoroughly rinse the canvas off with plain water and allow it to air dry. Repeat the process at least twice a year.
3. Remove Mold and Mildew
Although marine canvas is made to be mold and mildew resistant, mold and mildew can still grow on the fabric if it is allowed to get dirty and isn't properly maintained over time. To kill mold and mildew, mix one cup of distilled white vinegar with one gallon of warm water and apply the mixture to the canvas using a soft sponge. Allow the solution to sit on the material for a few minutes and then rinse with clean water.
If the vinegar isn't strong enough, substitute it with bleach, but make sure the chemical doesn't run off onto the ground. Talk to a company such as Pacific Boat Tops & Upholstery Inc. for more information.