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Boat Cover Cleaning and Maintenance Guide

Boat Cover Cleaning and Maintenance Guide
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Boat covers offer much-needed protection to your boat when it’s being trailered or stored away. Your boat cover is one of the most important investments you can make in caring for your boat. To get the most out of that investment, though, it’s important to follow proper boat cover cleaning and maintenance procedures to keep it in the best condition. With a little regular attention, it’s easy to keep your boat cover looking like new.

Durable Fabrics

The first step toward keeping your boat cover clean and properly maintained is choosing a cover that is durable enough to withstand the elements. The long-term integrity of your cover comes down to the materials that are used to create it. That’s why Westland uses only the best. Our covers are crafted using premium SharkSkin® and Sunbrella® fabrics that repel water and resist mildew for an incredibly long life on your boat.

Regular Maintenance

Everything in life requires a little maintenance to keep it looking like new and your boat cover is no exception. Even the most expensive high-end covers need a little TLC on occasion.

For the Sharkskin® and Sunbrella® marine fabrics used in Westland boat covers, we recommend monthly cleanings to keep your cover looking and performing its best. This routine should include regularly hosing off your cover with clear water to remove dirt, cleaning with a mild soap solution and soft bristle brush, and thoroughly rinsing off any debris left behind. With the proper care, you can prevent the need for more vigorous cleaning as well as damage to your canvas.

Visit our monthly maintenance guide for more detailed instructions.

Stain Removal

Although we all hope it doesn’t happen, stains do occasionally find their way onto boat covers. If left untreated these stains can have serious damaging effects to the fabric. However, if you handle stains swiftly and with the proper cleaning products your cover there’s nothing to worry about.

In most cases, an upholstery cleaner such as Resolve® is exactly what’s needed to remove stains from SharkSkin® and Sunbrella® fabric, but be sure to visit our full stain removal guide to find out how to remove your specific stain from your boat cover’s canvas.

Prevent Mildew

Mildew is one of the most common culprits of boat cover degradation. Because of the nature of marine environments, these areas are easy breeding grounds for mold and mildew. If you see mildew or mold buildup it’s important to handle it as quickly as possible to prevent it from doing serious damage to your cover. Thankfully there are a few things you can do to prevent moisture from building up and causing mold or mildew in the first place:

  • Invest in a cover with sewn-in ventilation. This allows any moisture that may become trapped beneath the cover to escape and ensures superior protection for your boat.
  • Choose a mildew-resistant fabric. We recommend SharkSkin® and Sunbrella® fabrics which are naturally mildew resistant. If not properly cleaned, mildew can still thrive on dirt or other substances on the fabric, but with proper maintenance these marine fabrics provide the highest level of mildew prevention.
  • Properly support your boat cover. Because water pooling is a significant cause of mildew buildup, we highly recommend choosing a support system for your boat cover that will keep water from pooling and aid in mildew prevention.
  • Clean your boat cover regularly. Monthly maintenance and regular cleaning will prevent dirt and other substances from breeding mold or mildew.

Visit our in-depth mildew prevention guide to learn more.

Deep Cleaning

Even if you choose a high-quality boat cover and care for it well, you’re still going to need to deep clean your cover on occasion. If dirt is not properly removed from your cover during a monthly cleaning or the cover becomes stained, a vigorous deep cleaning will do the trick. During these cleanings you’ll need to prepare a bleach and soap solution and allow time for the mixture to soak into the cover and lift the debris. If it’s a stained boat cover you’re dealing with, identify the cause of the stain and use our stain removal guide to find the right cleaner for the job.

Visit our guide to deep cleaning boat covers for a full tutorial.

Handling Rips and Tears

As much as we hope it doesn’t happen, boat covers can become ripped or torn over time. If you’ve noticed a tear on your cover, don’t fret – we have a solution for you. Westland offers Tear Aid Repair Patches to repair small rips and tears in boat covers. These high-performance adhesive patches are clear to work with any canvas color and come in 3-in by 6-in sheets which can be cut down to fit the tear. Using Tear Aid means you don’t have to deal with sewing or messy liquid adhesives.

Preventative Solutions

It’s important to know how to clean your boat cover and care for it when it needs attention, but one of the best ways you can care for your cover is to proactively choose solutions that prevent it from being damaged. Westland offers support system options to help keep water from pooling and reduce potential damage to your boat cover. Our recommendations include:

  • Support Poles - Support your cover and keep it properly in place with a support pole system. Westland offers adjustable height support poles with built-in vents to ensure you can get proper airflow where needed to reduce moisture buildup.
  • HangTyte - If your boat has a wakeboard tower, HangTyte is the perfect support solution. Designed by wakeboarding pro, Cobe Mikacich, the HangTyte allows you to suspend your cover from your wakeboard tower via a ratcheting suspension system to prevent water pooling. Depending on the size of your vessel, multiple HangTytes may be needed.

When to Clean, Repair, or Replace Your Boat Cover

In most cases, deep cleaning your boat cover will do the trick. However, if your boat cover has not been properly maintained or has sustained damage you may need a different solution.

Small rips or tears in your boat cover can be handled using Westland’s cover care products. The Tear Aid repair patch is perfect for meaning minor cover damage. This 3-in. by 6-in. peel-and-stick patch features a heavy-duty adhesive and restores your cover’s durability against puncture and moisture. Westland also offers a 6-in. square Tear Aid snap patch for repairing larger damaged areas.

If the damage to your cover can not be deep cleaned or repaired with a TearAid patch, it may be time to replace your cover and ensure your boat is properly protected. If you have questions about boat cover repair or replacement, please contact Westland’s friendly customer services team for advice and recommendations.

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