Beginners Guide to Controlling Moisture in Boats and RV’s

tkdigitalDesiccants, Mildew and Odor, Moisture Control Leave a Comment

Just like in our homes and offices, moisture will bring about mold and mildew in our boats and RV’s; it can be even more problematic since in most cases we don’t use them daily. Leaks can occur anywhere there is not a tight seal such as a windshield, skylight, or around the bathroom/kitchen area. Due to a boat’s environment, water damage can strike pretty much everywhere.  Ideally before putting them in storage, wipe down the inside with mold inhibitor spray (safe for vinyl, cloth fabric and their binding), check all caulking and seals, empty out gear for washing and leave silica gel packets and activated carbon desiccant packets to limit mold, mildew and odor.

By following the steps above, when the season begins, you should be able to go fairly easily.  Once you take it out of storage, follow the list below to be on your way.

  • Good air circulation – open all windows and doors on the RV and remove tarps from your boat and let the sun shine on it.
  • Assess for trouble spots and attack the source – treating the surface only may not stop the mold and mildew from growing. Such as if moisture has soaked through the carpet, a section may need to pulled-up to allow the affected region to be treated, as long as the moisture remains so will the bacteria.
  • Do a first rate scrubbing  on the refrigerator, sinks, toilet, and shower along with gear boxes to remove mold and mildew.


  • Flush out drains – a perfect place to harbor mold. Keep in mind that plastic piping and reservoirs will be made brittle by caustic cleaners; use a plastic/pvc friendly product.
  • Foam padding upholstery is a magnet for moisture – expose it to direct sunlight and disinfect with a fabric safe cleaner. If vinyl fabric is showing signs of cracking repair it before moisture can penetrate.
  • Vacuum out filters and cubby spaces – clutter fosters mold and odors.
  • Clean sunbrella’s or sails – spray with a solution of mild detergent, bleach, and water, use a soft-bristled brush on any mildewed areas.
  • Use desiccant packets and corrosion inhibitors – enclosed areas such as gear boxes, refrigerators, and storage closets to control future moisture buildup.

See Delta Adsorbents website for products specifically designed for boats and RV’s.