Stop Mold Cold

Posted: September 1, 2014

By: John Temple

Mold can creep up on you — and it is “creepy.” There are several ways to avoid mold, or at least limit its ability to be as significant a presence as it might otherwise be.

Many of us go to our boat and just do not smell what others will when they come aboard, but that doesn’t mean the smell isn’t there. The three most important words in eliminating mold are clean, clean and clean. At least once a year, a complete cleaning is needed. Everything needs to come out of the closets and cabinets. Throw away whatever you can, and thoroughly clean anything you keep.

During your cleaning, it is essential to kill the mold and its spores. Bleach mixed with water will kill spores. Mold spores, which are present indoors and out, may enter your boat from the outside through open doorways, windows and air intakes. Spores in the air outside also attach themselves to people and animals, hitching a ride on clothing, shoes, bags and pets. Clean all these items.

Keeping your boat uncluttered helps, because it allows for more air circulation. Leave all the cabinet doors open when you leave your boat for any length of time. Keep the bilges clean and dry, as well. Shampoo the carpets and clean the upholstery at least a couple of times a year.

As you take all of the stuff out of cabinets to clean it, check all the dates on your perishable food goods. Spices are not as good once they are a year old. We always mark the dried herbs we open with a magic marker. Spices can get old and lose their flavor even without being opened, so once they’re opened, we suggest a year at most.

Clean your canvas thoroughly once a year. It may be wise to hire a company to do the canvas cleaning, since it will usually have a place to wash the canvas, treat it with mold inhibitors and seal it from rain.

The other issue is ventilation. Whenever you cook, you are feeding the mold. There’s nothing like steamed vegetables or boiling pasta to spread moisture throughout your boat. A chicken roasting in a gas oven produces moisture. In the summer, open up the boat when you’re cooking. Even in winter, open as much as you can, and turn on the heat to make up for the cold air coming in.

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