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Canvas Care

Easy steps to restore and protect your boat's canvas.

November 10, 2010
Canvas Care

Canvas Cleaning

Canvas Care Boating Magazine

Once, canvas was cotton and at the mercy of the environment, lasting only a couple of seasons. New synthetic canvas is so vivid in color and durable in nature that we often forget to care for it. Investing time in cleaning and protecting the canvas can not only lengthen its service life but also keep mildew from degrading the colors and other elements from diminishing its ability to repel water and protect the rest of the boat. Each particular step is easy and requires just elbow grease and persistence, not hard-earned experience or skill. Each step can be completed in minutes, and only the drying time between steps makes the job an all-day affair. So grab some refreshments, pop a CD in the stereo and restore and protect your canvas’s ability to protect you and your boat.

Getting Started
Skill Level: 1/5
Finish Time: 8 Hours

Tools and Supplies
*Soft-bristled hand scrub brush
*Soft-bristled pole brush
*Rags, bucket, hose and nozzle

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Canvas Care
Canvas Care Boating Magazine

Chrome Polish
You’ll need to remove the canvas to fully protect the stainless steel bows. Rub the polish on with a soft, dry cloth and allow it to dry to a haze. Buff off and recoat for better protection and shine. For aluminum bows, try Woody Wax. Star brite’s polish is $7. bassproshops.com

Canvas Care
Canvas Care Boating Magazine

Plastic Polish
To restore gloss and clarity to side curtains and Lexan, first rub in the scratch remover and then buff off scratch remover at right angles to scratches. Using a soft cloth, rub the restorer into the plastic and buff off. $10 and $14; sportsmansguide.com

Canvas Care
Canvas Care Boating Magazine

Zipper and Snap Lubricant
Since you may need to remove the canvas anyway, now is the time to lube up those zippers. Rub the lip balm-like Snap-Stick over the unopened zipper, then work it back and forth to spread the lube. $5; westmarine.com

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Canvas Care
Canvas Care Boating Magazine

Clean the Canvas
Spray it with Thetford’s foaming canvas cleaner and scrub it with a damp sponge or soft brush. If the brush feels prickly, it’s not soft enough and will harm the fabric. It’s easier work with the canvas stretched in place or laid over sawhorses or on clean concrete. Rinse it and repeat if necessary. $11; jamestowndistributors.com

Canvas Care
Canvas Care Boating Magazine

Remove the Stains
Some stains — like bird and spider droppings, mildew and fish blood — will require followup work. Mix two tablespoons of Yacht Brite’s Moldaway with a quart of water and brush it on the stains with a soft brush. Rinse and repeat if necessary. $14; jamestowndistributors.com

Canvas Care
Canvas Care Boating Magazine

Mold Barrier
Mold will grow right back if you don’t use a barrier product to prevent that. UltraBan has been popular on homes for years and is reaching into the marine market. Spray clean, dry canvas thoroughly, wetting it down. Then use a sponge or cloth damp with the product to work it deep into the fibers. Let it dry 40 minutes. $30; 866-347-4466

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Canvas Care
Canvas Care Boating Magazine

Waterproofing
Waterproofing your enclosures each year protects both the fibers and the boat from water damage. Spray, brush or sponge on Star brite Waterproofing with PTEF until the fabric is damp, then allow it to dry six hours. When properly applied, water beads up on the surface. $20; westmarine.com

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