Best Carpet Cleaner For Boat Carpet – My Goto Cleaner

boat cabin with carpet and helm to show cleaner

The carpets in your boat are entirely different than the carpets in your home. The carpet in your boat needs to be able to handle water, so they’re often made of a plastic material. This material is able to cut down on absorbing water, but it changes the game for cleaning it.

So that brings us to the question of “what is the best carpet cleaner for a boat?”

I’ve used several, and I want to point out what I learned.

My Goto Cleaner

My goto cleaner has got to be Simple Green when it comes to my boats.

While I have cleaned the carpets with it, diluted 50/50, I would not say its the best.

Why mention it?

Because it’s a good all-purpose cleaner when diluted. If you’re in a pinch or if you want a cleaner to always have in the boat then go with Simple Green. It’s saved me so many times that I feel I must mention it.

The Best

If I had to pick the best carpet cleaner, it would be the Star Brite Carpet Clean & Protect (Amazon Link Ad).

It does one thing and it does it well, clean boat carpets.

We’re talking about the nastiest of stuff like oils from the engine or tree sap. Let’s not forget the grease or that lake lunch you had on the boat. Then for the fishermen, it works well for the fish blood and dirt you’ll run into.

The best part is that its setup to also protect the carpet from UV rays. The old saying goes, the two worst things for your boat is sun and water. So it only makes sense to protect it as much as possible.

How To Use Star Brite Carpet Clean

There are different ways to use Star Brite Cleaner for spot and larger area cleanings.

Spot Cleaning

  1. If you’re only cleaning one spot, you’ll spray the spot directly.
  2. Allow it to sit for 1 to 3 minutes.
  3. First dab the spot with a clean and wet rag or sponge. If the spot is not coming up, then use some scrubbing. If that is not working, get out a soft scrub brush and gently scrub the area but be careful not to damage the carpet.

Large Areas

  1. Spray the whole area with the carpet cleaner.
  2. What I like to do for large areas is get the pressure washer out and rinse off the cleaner. Don’t use an overly powerful pressure washer. I actually use a small electric pressure washer just for this. I’ve damage many things in my boat by using a too powerful of a pressure washer so please learn from me and use a low-pressure setting.
  3. When I have pressure washed the whole area, I’ll spray the carpet cleaner once again and do spot cleanings.
  4. To finish it up I rinse with the pressure washer or hose to make sure I got all the cleaner out.


I should also note that it would be smart to test in a small inconspicuous area before using the cleaner. You want to make sure you don’t have an odd carpet that will fade with the cleaner.

Household Carpet Cleaner

You want to avoid using household carpet cleaners. These could over time do more damage over time. The carpet in your home is different from the carpet in your boat.

There is more glue used in boat carpets than house carpet because house carpet is held in place with nails.

Using the wrong cleaner could have something in it that eats the glue. Weak glue leads to failing carpets in your boat. Even if your carpet is held in place with snaps the things holding the layers together is glue.

Tips For Cleaning Boat Carpet

If your carpet comes out by releasing the snaps, do that. You’ll want to make sure to clean both sides of the carpet so it gets thoroughly cleaned.

But before you remove it I like to hit it with the pressure washer first, then I drape it over a fence.

Don’t be afraid to get in deep with a scrub brush to clean boat carpets. This carpet is exposed to more things than your home carpets. Tree sap and other sticky stuff will need some elbow grease.