Tips for Preventing Mildew During Winter Storage

Mildew remover being held in front of a boat.

Mildew can spoil any boating season, so take some preventative measures in the off-season to ensure that it won’t creep up. Follow along for our tips for preventing mildew before, during, and after winter storage.

Tips for Preventing Mildew During Winter Storage

Remove Stains and Patch Holes

Remove stains before they become an issue down the line during winter storage. Start by using products specifically designed to remove heavy dirt and grime and to keep mildew at bay. For example, our Mildew Remover is safe to use on fabrics and chlorine- and acid-free. Additionally, our VinyLIFE cleans and also protects vinyl. For tough grime and oil stains, our Bilge Cleaner is a water-based degreaser that also cleans carpets, upholstery, fabrics and removes mildew stains. It can be used to clean fish and bait wells, too, or use our Live Well and Bait Well Cleaner.

It may sound obvious, but water damage is a big culprit to ensuing mildew penetration. Be sure to seal off any cracks or holes with a high-quality sealant, like our Life-Calk® polysulfide sealant. Good for use below the waterline, it is a must-have for emergency repairs. Also check out our high adhesion Life Seal® sealant for most repairs, or our all-purpose Marine Silicone Rubber Sealant. Both are mildew resistant.

Ensure your boat is completely dry

Before going into winter storage, be sure that your boat is completely dry and that all stains are removed before shrink wrapping or tarpping. Why? Because mildew thrives in humid environments, especially when the temperatures are in flux as condensation can form. Any residual stain left over from the boating season could cause major problems when your boat is wrapped and in the presence of stagnant air. Check out our post on how to remove stains from a boat deck for tips.

Keep air circulating

While in winter storage, you’ll want to be sure to keep air circulating through your boat to prevent stagnant air from creating a humid environment where mildew thrives. First, be sure that all airways throughout your boat are open and that air can circulate freely. Second, install vents to increase circulation and air flow. This may require the use of electric or solar-powered vents to ensure that there is an even exchange of outside air to inside air. Lastly, using a dehumidifier will greatly reduce the presence of humidity if there is a power source nearby.

Cover it Up

Last but not least, be sure to use a winter-appropriate canvas cover or shrink wrap your dried-out boat before putting it away for the season. Take all soft goods home with you, like bedding and mattresses, and be sure to empty out any lockers or cubbies. If you’ve covered your boat with a canvas tarp, uncover it periodically to allow for natural air to circulate. Just be sure to snap it back up again! For shrink wrapped boats, be sure to install vents to allow for critical air circulation.

Keeping mildew at bay is a long haul job but hopefully these tips will help during winter boat storage.

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