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Mold Prevention Program

Dehumidifier Program for the prevention of mold and mildew growth in your boat or RV

Here are a few good guidelines for a mold prevention program to use in conjunction with your DH- dehumidifier.

-Help to inhibit Mold and Mildew Growth
-Help to Eliminate Musty Odors
-Improve Air Quality



    Initial Steps
1. Remove existing mold or mildew
2. Dry Out Your Boat or RV

3. Prep Surfaces
4. Use a dehumidifier - The key to mold control is moisture control.

    Continued Normal Steps

5. Proper ventilation is key to mold control.

6. Keep your boat or RV clean

7. Employ the latest technologies in mold resistant materials and products.

8. Keep your boat or RV Dry

9.  Links to other resources at the end of this article.


If you found this article helpful and would like to add suggestions and helpful tips, email us, we would like to hear from you and add additional info here.

1.  Remove existing mold or mildew

If you already have a mold or mildew problem in your boat or RV, you should first remove the mold. Here are a few tips on how to remove mold.


If your boat or RV manufacturer has provided you with maintenance or cleaning instructions, you must follow your boat or RV manufacturers recommendation for cleaning your boat or RV and their recommended cleaning products.


In most cases, common household cleaning products and disinfectants are used for this task. The EPA recommends detergent and water.  If you prefer a variety of marine cleaning products are available for mold cleanup and mold prevention at your marine store.  Available also are environmentally friendly, biodegradable cleaning products.


The cleanup process involves thorough washing of the walls, floors, ceilings, paneling, closets, shelves, cabinets and contents of your boat or RV. Pay close attention to showers and galley counters, areas around the head, curtains, canvas materials and carpets, as these are highly susceptible to mold and mildew. 

Do not simply cover mold with paint, stain, varnish, or a moisture-proof sealer, as it may resurface.
Replace moldy shower curtains, or remove them and scrub well with a household cleaner and rinse before re-hanging them.  Carpets are especially difficult to clean and dry.  If you cannot adequately clean and dry these out consider replacing them.




Where possible use environmentally friendly, bio-degradable cleaning products.



cautionHave adequate ventilation when using harsh cleaning agents. Limit your exposure to mold by wearing gloves, a respirator and goggles.


caution gifAlways disconnect appliances before cleaning.

Empty dehumidifier or air conditioning drain pans daily and clean often. If possible, have the appliance drip directly into a drain (the DH-dehumidifier is designed to work this way). Refrigerator drip pan should be cleaned. Follow manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and maintenance. Always disconnect the appliance before cleaning.


Do not pollute. Do not dump waste water, cleaning products, detergents or other pollutants or garbage into the water. There are laws concerning polluting the environment.


In Brief: Pollution Regulations
The Refuse Act of 1899 prohibits throwing, discharging or depositing any refuse matter of any kind (including trash, garbage, oil, and other liquid pollutants into the waters of the United States.


2.  Dry Out Your Boat or RV or (keep your boat or RV dry)
High humidity and moist materials provide ideal environments for the excessive growth of mold, mildew and microorganisms that are always present in your boat or RV.


After washing everything, dry out the interior and equipment in your boat or RV.

Use exhaust fans in the bathroom and galley to vent humid air to the outside.  A clean dry cloth, fans or air blowers helps speed up the drying process. Open hatchet, portholes, doors, etc. to speed up the drying process.

Dry out carpeting, sails, cushions, life jackets and other equipment before storing.


cautionLife Jackets, sails and other marine equipment require special care and storage to keep them functioning effectively. Be sure to follow your owner's manual that came with your equipment in the proper use, care and storage of these items.


A musty odor, signifies the growth of mold mildew and other microorganisms.

3.   Prep Surfaces
After cleaning and drying out your surfaces, prep the surface with mold or mildew block.  This is a great step you can take to help prevent the growth of mold and mildew in your boat or RV.  Mold and mildew block products such as 3M's Marine Mildew Block, that are designed for marine or RV usage, help prevent mold and mildew growth, by forming a protective, surface barrier against moisture and dirt (the root source for mold and mildew growth), and thus help prevent mold and mildew from taking root.

Prep surfaces such as canvas, cushions, carpet and other fabrics.  Wood and vinyl surfaces should also be treated.  Don't treat wood or ceramic floors or walkways, since these may become slippery.  Prep walls and surfaces in high humidity areas such as the head and galley.

4.  The key to mold control is moisture control -  use your dehumidifier
If humidity is the enemy then your dehumidifier is your ally. Keep outside doors close to prevent new humid air from entering the cabin.  Use your dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air.

After cleaning, drying and prepping surfaces, for best results, close hatchet, portholes, doors, etc. Set the dehumidifier to 60% (RH). The EPA recommends a setting between 30% and 50%RH to decrease mold growth. The dehumidifier will turn itself on and off at the level you preset.   Locate the dehumidifier where the air is stagnant or mildew has formed in the past. Route the drain hose to a suitable drain exit such as galley sink shower drain or bilge. Direct the exhaust airflow towards areas where moisture is a problem; v berth or head.

Consider using a fan to help increase the circulation of the air towards the dehumidifier.

When not in use consider storing life jackets, sales and other marine equipment sensitive to humidity in the enclosed low humidity, cabin climate you have created with your dehumidifier.  Furthermore, you can leave lockers, cabinets ajar, to allow dry air to enter these.


If you have employed the use of extensive fine wood flooring, paneling, trim, cabinets and furniture in your boat or RVs interior, you will want to keep your humidity levels between 50% RH and 60% RH.  At levels lower than 50% woodwork may become dried out.


     ...Continued Normal Steps


5. Proper ventilation is key to mold control.

Key to mold control is proper ventilation.  Use exhaust fans (especially in the head and galley) to vent hot humid air outside.  When you are underway open a hatch on the windward to circulate and vent stale, damp air outside.  Fresh outside air is is less polluted and quickly reduces the humidity, pollutants and micro organism levels in the indoor air.  Of course you can't always ventilate (since you don't want to lose your conditioned; air cold or warm), but whenever possible ventilate, ventilate, ventilate.  The objective is to keep your interior dryer and less polluted.


6. Keep your boat or RV Clean: Besides the humidity necessary for mold, mildew, bacteria and other microorganisms to thrive in, dirty surfaces provide an ideal food surface for microorganisms.  So keep your boat or RV clean.


7. Employ the latest technologies in mold resistant materials and products.
Manufacturers continue to improve mold resistant materials.  Because boats and RVs are susceptible to mold and mildew growth.  Use such products as mold resistant curtains, cushions, carpet, fabrics and paint.  This will help keep your boat or RV staying cleaner, smelling better, and looking newer.


8. Keep your boat or RV Dry

 By keeping a mold prevention program you will keep your boat or RV interior Dry, looking newer, and smelling fresher.

9.  Other useful resources
Want to know more about molds? The EPA has many good articles on this subject. Here is the link. It includes a mold basic, cleanup guidelines, moisture and mold Prevention and Control Tips.
http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html and http://www.epa.gov/mold/cleanupguidelines.html



If you found this article helpful and would like to add suggestions and helpful tips, email us, we would like to hear from you and add additional info here.

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