Everyone who has owned a boat, Has had to deal with mold.
Lets talk mold! It is the result of owning an enclosed area that is exposed to high humidity and leaks! B.o.a.t stands for bust out another thousand. Its no secret that boats are the most expensive way to travel for free. I have lived aboard a sailboat for 3 years now and I have cleaned many boats including my own. I took the time one day to try all the different strategies for tackling mold. I was cleaning a boat for a friend who sat for 2 years. The ceilings were completely black with mold. Every cabinet was furry, The bathroom was unrecognizable. I have never seen so much mold ever in my entire life.
So what did I do? Well I got a respirator .. That shit was nasty and I wasn’t about to die from mold! Then I grabbed bleach, Borax, peroxide, Mold cleaner spray, Magic erase markers, Vinegar, gloves, a bucket, few hand towels, and disinfectant wipes. I was ready to rumble!
So I started with the Galley
I Started with the mold killer spray. The first thing I noticed was the smell of the cleaner burnt my nose. The smell was piercing my nose like the oven sprays do. I hate that smell. I cleaned all the cabinets, the fridge, under the sinks. After scrubbing I had to wipe out the residue that was left behind with a dry paper towel. I noticed the corners were still moldy so I used the Magic erase markers to finish the job. Next, I cleaned part of the cabin with vinegar and the other half with borax mixed with water. . I understand a lot of people don’t like the smell of vinegar but it doesn’t bother me any. Once the vinegar dried, I couldn’t smell it anymore. The ceilings was made of a hard PVC material which had a texture to it. The vinegar worked really well to clean the ceilings, but the texture in the ceilings held onto the mold. Once again the magic eraser worked wonders. I was able to trace where the texture was with the eraser and it wiped away without scrubbing. Cleaning with vinegar did require more scrubbing then the mold spray I used in the Galley, But didn’t leave the residue like the spray did.I decided to wait and use the bleach in the head because bleach on teak can cause some serious problems AND!!
THIS IS WHY BLEACH IS NOT GOOD FOR KILLING MOLD-
Bleach kills the surface mold but leaves the membranes behind and actually makes mold grow faster. It can damage teak and the smell is terrible! The smell of bleach is very toxic and is sticks around much longer than vinegar. When It came to cleaning the head I used part bleach with water, and part hydrogen peroxide mixed with water. The peroxide did well when I dumped baking soda on a rag and dunked it in the peroxide and borax. It cleaned the bathroom walls very fast, and there was lots of scrubbing. It would have taken me half the time it did If I had just used the magic erase marker. But I was doing an experiment and I wanted to know which one performed best!
Lastly, I cleaned the v berth with just magic erase marker. This is when I realized how much faster I could have cleaned had I used the marker for most of it lol. Yes The Marker is a more expensive way of handling a cleaning this heavy with mold.They do disintegrate fast! However, even at just roughly $1 each, they’re not exactly cheap, as they completely break down and fall apart after just a few minutes of tough cleaning. You can go through an entire four-pack without leaving your kitchen or bathroom if it’s been a while since you last deep cleaned. I decided to go into deep research about what makes Magic erasers… Magical… Turns out it is just Borax and baking powder. The magic happens in the kind of sponge !! Which is a melamine sponges And you can buy them by the hundreds on AMAZON!! The magic happens when you soak it with borax and baking soda. Thats it lol, then they let it dry and when you ar eready to use it they you add moisture and wahla ! Magic!!
3 Months later!
3 months later, the boat I had cleaned was sold and the new owner was sitting in his cockpit talking on the phone. I waited for him to get off the phone and then approached his boat. I asked him if I could come aboard and see which areas were moldy since I ran my little experiment. The worst of the mold was in the galley ( which was that mold spray ) , and in the head, ( Bleach) The ceilings were exactly how I left them last. The V berth was still spotless…
My conclusion to it all is that vinegar is still the solid winner, next would be the borax or peroxide solutions. And of course I highly recommend magic erasers.. Unfortunately My hard drive failed and I lost a lot of footage including the one that should have been attached to this post. However! I did make a little video on the boat I had cleaned as an exploring liveaboards series I was making. If you would like to watch it, here is my channel.