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Do’s and Don’ts of Carpet Care

Do’s and Don’ts of Carpet Care

Sand, prolonged direct sunlight, mould, sunscreen, vomit, bird poop, fish guts, bait, coffee, wine… If you have carpets on your boat, you would have cringed by now. I’m a professional carpet cleaning boatie, and I almost had a mild seizure writing it. 

Our boats always seem to get dirty and we often wait until the end of the season to clean it. Although it is always best to have your prized marine carpets professionally cleaned at least once a year, immediate action is sometimes required to prevent spills from becoming permanent stains. 


The single biggest mistake boat owners make when something spills on the carpet is to immediately apply an over-the-counter stain remover. DON’T! If it does not fully clean up with a chemical cleaner the first time around, chances are you have just made a permanent stain in your carpet. 

Never use hot water on spills or take a hairdryer to it. Ever iron in a stain on your clothes, or permanently fix a mark on your clothes by putting it in the dryer, or dye clothes with boiling hot water? The same happens to your carpets. Yes, the professionals use steam, but only after applying commercial-grade stain removers and ph neutralizers. Do not try this at home! 


Instead, the first thing you do is to remove any solids, take a dry cloth or towel, lay it over the spill, and press down hard to absorb as much of it as possible. Repeat the process until your clean towel does not absorb anything anymore. Then place a wet clean towel over the spill, and press down to dilute the stain further and absorb as much as possible. Repeat until no more colour is absorbed into the towel. Do not scrub and spread it. Blotting is the key here. 

The nature of the stain determines what to do next. 

Red wine and vomit: There are different types of acid found in both that make them so tough to take out. It is vital to use alkaline substances to attack and neutralize the acids. Apply a baking soda paste to the stained area. The paste is made by combining 3 parts of water to 1 part of baking soda. Make enough of this mixture so you can apply a generous amount on the stain. Cover it with a clean damp cloth until you are back at port. 

Blood, bait, and fish guts: Do not use hot water to clean any of these because it will probably make the stain permanent. Use cold water mixed with dry laundry soap to make an absorbent paste and apply it on the area of the boat carpet that is stained. Wait for the mixture to dry. Use a light brush or a vacuum cleaner to clean it up. 

Coffee: Use cold water mixed with a little white vinegar. Apply, dilute and blot dry. Repeat. 

If the mark is still visible, keep it covered with a damp towel until you get to port as this will prevent it from drying out as well as hide it from direct sunlight, which will bake it in there for good. Needless to say, by now you should have called us to attend to it before it dries completely. 

Sand is incredibly abrasive and every granule has numerous cutting edges hacking away at your prized carpet’s fibres with every step you take. If you want to short live your carpet’s lifespan significantly, just leave the current imbedded sand in it for a while. That will do it. 

Mould can be kept at bay and treated with 1:1 water and white vinegar solution, and a dash of clove oil. Place the solution in a spray bottle and spray all fabric and upholstery every month to keep mould away. 

Regardless of what you do, red wine stains won’t ever completely come out. All the methods in this article just prevent your carpet from being ruined. As professional carpet cleaners, we have experience, tools and techniques to do the job properly. 


By Boat Carpet Cleaners (Michael von Backstrom) Mobile: 0484312966.



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