As our minds turn to pumpkin pie and falling leaves, there’s unfortunately, another holiday tradition that isn’t quite as favorable, pink mold. That’s right, the season has arrived and with it the plethora and often colorful fungal growths on marine upholstery.
It’s What You Can’t See
Invisible to you initially, unsightly pink mold starts with microorganisms in the form of bacteria and fungi. Like any living thing, microorganisms must feed and as a result, produce waste. That waste is the source of the pink, blue, or purple stains found on untreated boat cushions.
This first step would seem painfully obvious but the expression “out of sight, out of mind” couldn’t be more telling. In most cases, boat owners (and dealers) don’t see a problem until the byproducts of feasting mold are plentiful and in full bloom. The key to avoidance is one part common sense, one part discipline in the form of performing thorough cleaning tasks routinely. This means outside of just wiping down the stuffed areas of a cushion, you should also ensure to work seams, stitching, and connections points especially where fabric and framework come together. The reason, those tiny spaces are great hiding places for invisible critters and standing water.
2) Remove & Kill Surface Growth
FIRST – DO NOT USE CONCENTRATED BLEACH! Having said that, good old fashioned household bleach when diluted with water and a little elbow grease are superior weapons in fighting a contaminated area. Just like a kitchen or bathroom, after you clear each surface and give it a good, healthy rinse.
3) Avoid Materials & Conditions that Promote Fungal Growth
As boat builders, we do our very best to use “anti-microbial” products where possible. But from there, boat owners and dealers must take primary responsibility in prevention by avoiding favorable conditions for mold growth. Best advice: Avoid standing water! Every known form of life in the universe needs water to survive, so getting rid of this primary element goes a very long way towards winning the microbial fight.
Almost as obvious as the first step, a cover is primary in the defense against mold. In the event, your can’t shield a vessel, we strongly suggest you repeat steps 1-3 routinely to avoid an infestation.