Quick Tips: Canvas Care | Cruising World

Quick Tips: Canvas Care

If you’ve made the investment in a new dodger or other canvas covers for your boat, a little care can go a long way toward increasing the life of the material.

dodger

Canvas dodgers are great for blocking spray, but when you're not sailing, consider these tips to help your protections last longer.

Tom Zydler

If you’ve made the investment in a new dodger or other canvas covers for your boat, a little care can go a long way toward increasing the life of your canvas. Here are some maintenance recommendations for common dodger and bimini materials:

• Rinse your canvas with fresh water as often as possible, particularly if it’s salty after a sail. While most ­marine fabrics made for outdoor use, like Sunbrella, will resist mildew, mold can grow if dirt and salt are left on the fabric too long.

• If you’re leaving your boat for a few weeks or have it stored for the offseason, take down all the canvas and stow it ashore, if possible, or in the cabin.

• For sailors living in northern climes, keep in mind that freezing temperatures can cause some vinyl window materials to crack.

• Consider having snap-on covers made to protect windows from UV rays when not in use.

• If the canvas needs a more thorough cleaning, you can gently scrub it with a soft-bristled brush and a solution of water and mild soap such as Woolite. Rinse the canvas thoroughly and air-dry.

• After you clean the ­canvas — and periodically, as ­needed — Sunbrella recommends using 303 Fabric Guard to restore water and stain repellency.

• Check the manufacturer’s recommendations before cleaning or polishing the windows, as materials vary greatly, and using the wrong products can leave windows scratched or cloudy.

• Don’t forget the stainless! To get the longest life out of the stainless frame, keep it clean and rust-free. I’ve had good luck with both Spotless Stainless and Collinite No. 850 Metal Wax.

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