How To Clean Boat Interior

Paul Luisi
by Paul

Cleaning the boat interior will remove dirt, mold, mildew, stains in marine carpet, trapped dirt in the boat seats and foul odors from the bilge.

To clean the interior of a boat:

  1. Scrub the boat bilge with warm water and bilge cleaner
  2. Wash down any hard and flat surfaces with a sponge, warm water and soap
  3. Vacuum and wash seats with warm water and boat seat cleaner
  4. Vacuum and wash marine carpet with hot water and carpet cleaner
  5. Dry all the interior hard surfaces with a towel

Once these steps are complete, the interior of the vessel will look clean and smell great too.

Step 1: Scrub The Boat Bilge

The boat bilge can fill up with mold, sludge, oil, rust and can smell of foul odors.

To clean the interior boat bilge:

  • Drain the bilge from dirty water: Use a bucket to remove excess dirty water.
  • Scrub the bilge: Use a bilge cleaner, warm water and a brush to scrub the bilge thoroughly. This will loosen trapped dirt and sludge.
  • Rinse the bilge and dry it with towel: Use a hose to rinse the dirty water and soap from the bilge. Then, dry it with a towel to remove final stubborn dirt and stains.

Cleaning the boat bilge regularly is required to prevent dirt building up. It will also prevent bad smells.

Bilge cleaning will take 10 - 20 minutes depending on the size and how dirty it is.

Scrub the boat bilge with warm water, a bristle brush and bilge cleaner. Then rinse out the dirty water and dry it with a towel.

Step 2: Wash Hard Surfaces Of Boat Interior

Washing the hard and flat surfaces of a boat's interior like non slip fiberglass, worktops, woods and the cockpit will remove dust, dirt, stains and mold.

To clean the boat's interior hard surfaces:

  • Wash with a sponge and soap: Use marine cleaner and wash the surfaces with warm water and a sponge.
  • Dry surfaces with towel or microfiber cloth: Use a towel or microfiber cloth to dry off the surfaces. This will remove the remaining stains and dirt.

A sponge should be used to clean the flat surfaces as it shouldn't damage or scratch the flat surfaces.

Using a sponge and marine grade soap will help remove deep stains from the boat interior.

Washing these surfaces should take between 15 - 20 minutes depending on size of boat and how dirty the interior is.

Use warm water, a sponge and marine cleaner to wash dirt from the hard and flat surfaces of the boat interior. Then, dry it off with a towel.

Step 3: Vacuum And Wash Boat Seats

Cleaning the boat hull will enhance boat performance and have the boat looking very clean.

To clean a boat's interior seats: 

  • Vacuum trapped dirt in the seats: Use a vacuum to suck trapped and loose dirt from the boat seats.
  • Wash seats with warm water and boat seat cleaner: Use a boat seat cleaner to wash dirt, mold and mildew from the boat seats.
  • Dry boat seats with towel: Dry the seats with a towel to remove the remaining stains and dirt.

For cleaning vinyl boat seats, a special boat seat cleaner is needed so they won't get damaged.

Vacuuming and cleaning the boat seats should take 10 - 15 minutes.

Vacuum the boat seats to remove loose dirt. Wash the seats with a boat seat cleaner, warm water and sponge. Then dry it with a towel.

Step 4: Vacuum And Wash Marine Carpet

Vacuuming and washing the boat carpet will have the interior of the vessel looking new, clean and spotless.

To clean the interior boat carpets: 

  • Vacuum up loose dirt from marine carpet: Vacuuming will remove the loose dirt and dust from the boat carpet.
  • Wash carpet with boat carpet cleaner: Use a boat carpet cleaner and warm water to scrub the marine carpet. This will loosen and remove stains and dirt.

Washing the dirt and mold from a marine carpet will make a big difference to the boat's aesthetics.

Cleaning boat carpet will take 10 -20 minutes depending on size and condition of the carpet.

Vacuum marine carpet to remove loose dirt. Then scrub the carpet with warm water,  a brush and boat carpet cleaner.

Step 5: Dry All Interior Surfaces

Once all the interior of the boat is cleaned, use a towel to dry it.

Drying the interior of the boat will: 

  • Remove stubborn stains from boat seats: Drying with a towel will remove the final bits of dirt and stains in the seats.
  • Remove dust and dirt from hard surfaces: Drying the interior hard surfaces will help remove stubborn dirt from hard surfaces like non slip fiberglass.
  • Remove foul odors from boat bilge: Drying the bilge area will remove the final trapped dirt and help prevent bad smells.

Drying the entire interior of the boat will make it look like new on the inside.

It will also remove any dirt missed during the washing process.

Products To Use When Cleaning Boat Interior

To clean a boat's interior, the products needed are: 

  • Marine Carpet Cleaner
  • A Vacuum
  • Sponge, Towels, Microfiber Cloth, A Brush, A Bucket
  • Boat Seat Cleaner
  • Carpet Stain Remover

These products will help clean the interior of the boat from top to bottom.

Hire A Professional Boat Interior Cleaning Company

An alternative option for cleaning the interior of a boat is to hire a professional cleaning service.

A boat cleaning service will:

  • Remove all dirt from the interior
  • Save time and hassle
  • Apply the right cleaning products to the interior of the boat

This option is best for those that do not enjoy diy projects and would rather outsource the cleaning work.

To find a boat interior cleaning company, contact your local marina.

Boat Interior Cleaning Summary

Washing, cleaning and vacuuming the boat typically takes an hour to complete.

This will depend on the size and the condition of the vessel.

A boat's interior should be cleaned at least once a month.