Cleaning & Maintaining The Popular Fabrics Used On Yachts

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While many of the fabrics on a yacht are specifically made for marine use, some are not. Since anything used on a yacht is susceptible to sea air, possibly salt water, and lots of sunlight, you need to choose fabrics carefully and think ahead about cleaning and caring for the fabrics you use.

Selecting The Best Fabrics For Onboard Use And Maintaining Their Beauty

Frequent maintenance and prompt attention to soil, mold, or mildew are crucial to keeping your fabrics looking new. In selecting fabrics, you must consider factors such as cleanability, fire retardancy, the UV factor, and the anti-microbial characteristics.

Fortunatelyfor South Florida residents and visitors, Ship Shape Cleaners is on hand to undo the effects of a marine climate and the wear and tear of daily life. With four locations in the area, Ship Shape Cleaners will come on board to either clean your fabrics on the spot or take them to our cleaning facility. Our professionals have years of experience dealing with fine natural and synthetic fabrics, so we can handle anything from crew uniforms to leather sofas to your colored Sunbrella deck furniture. Prompt, careful cleaning and maintenance can assure any fabric used on board a longer life.

What Are The Most Popular Fabrics On Board?

While we have seen virtually all typesof fabric on yachts over the years, some are definitely more suited to life on the water than others. Here are five of the most popular fabrics used on yachts:

  • Vinyl. A popular choice for marine interiors and exteriors, vinyls are made of 100% polyvinyl chloride and backed with polyester, which makes them resistant to mold, mildew, insects, chemicals and oils. They are anti-microbial and are strong, abrasion resistant, and offer low absorbency.


  • Suede and leather.Micro suede, popular in home interiors, is easy to clean and endures fairly well on a yacht, as long as you keep it out of direct sunlight. Since it is exposed to salt, sun, water, and suntan lotion, natural leather does not fare as well unless it is treated with anti-bacterial and anti-mold agents. Faux leather, made of polyurethane, is great for interior marine use since it is stain resistant and waterproof as well.
  • Acrylic. A mix of wool, polyester, and acrylic, acrylics are resistant to moths, mildew, chemicals, and oil, while wicking up water. The solution-dyed variety, manufactured under names such as Sunbrellaand Glen Raven,are ultraviolet and mildew resistant, and since they are treated to be stain and soil resistant, they repel oil and water. Many variations are not affected by bleach, a necessity for cleanup on deck.


  • Nylon. Strong, smooth, lightweight, and non-absorbent, nylon can be crisp and slick or soft and luxurious in feel, which makes it popular for inside and outside marine applications. Woven nylon is frequently used as ripstop fabric for sails and spinnakers. It is often woven with cotton, silk, polyester and polypropylene. Nylon has properties that make it fire resistant and water resistant, waterproof, or zero porosity.
  • Cotton and linen.Both natural fabrics, cotton and linen seem appropriate for yachts and yacht wear, but have their limitations because they are very absorbent and subject to mildew as a result of moisture. Cotton, unless it is combed cotton that has longer, smoother fibers, is more resistant to abrasion and has poor dimensional stability. Linen, on the other hand, is a stronger fabric with better dimensional stability, but wrinkles easily and absorbs moisture.


Entrust Your Fabrics To Ship Shape Cleaners

Whether you choose a high-performance fabric that is easy to maintain on yachts or another favorite material, it is important to have cleaning and maintenance performed by those who know exactly how to handle each fiber.

With 15 years of experience, Ship Shape Cleaners will professionally clean all fabrics the way the manufacturer intended and with an eye to the environment. We even offer free pickup and delivery to work with your schedule.


Please call us at 954-507-7800 or fill out our online form to arrange for service.


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