How To Deep Clean Your Narrowboat
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Wed Feb 17, 2016 at 12:51pm

How Deep is Your Love?

February is known as the month of love and romance, so why not spread that love and give your narrow boat a bit of TLC. Lets look at how to deep clean your boat ready for the warmer months ahead and hopefully some amazing cruising.

Our Top Six Cleaning Tips

Whether you live on your narrow boat full time, or she’s been shut up for the winter your boat may have reached the point of “I just can’t take it any more” and don't worry we've all been there!

So now is a good time to give your narrowboat a really good deep clean. By following our 6 easy cleaning steps your boat will soon pass any white glove inspection!

1. De-clutter

Be ruthless, by getting rid of and re-organising your belongings. It will make the deep clean so much easier. Seeing clear and tidy surfaces will keep you on track and inspire you to complete the next 5 steps. Don’t forget to do all the cupboards, under your bed and that drawer that is bursting with stuff that “we might need this one day, but we don’t know really where to put it!

2. Start At The Top

Working from the top, tackling the ceilings, ceiling lights (plus bulbs) and work down the walls. A microfiber telescopic duster can be used to de-cobweb the ceilings, but the walls will need a mix of water and detergent to remove dirt and dust. Any furnishings that can be pulled out should be moved so that you can hoover any dirt that has been trapped behind them. Remember this is a deep clean - we want this place looking spick and span for summer cruising, so it’s worth taking your time and doing a good job.

Tip – use microfiber cloths, rinse and wring out thoroughly.

3. Ditch the Dirt and Dust

Time to tackle the furniture, shelves, and built-in units etc.This will require you to do the insides as well as outside. Use the appropriate cleaner for the surface you are cleaning and change your cloths regularly. Once these large areas are cleaned, dust or wash the items you have on display this includes your pictures, lights and other wall hangings.

Brass Work. Many boats have some brass work so you may find your next best friend is Brass-mate  “A multi-purpose metal polish that will clean and protect brass, chrome, copper, nickel, pewter, silver, aluminium, gold and steel”.

4. Let In The Light

Clean your windows and maintain your frames. Start by giving the frames and glass a good clean. If you find that the sealant is damaged make a note to have this looked at and replaced so not to cause damage and create additional condensation. Varnish the woodwork if necessary to protect the wood from condensation. Polish the glass for a streak free finish. Did I mention you need to do inside and out?!

5. Spruce Up Window Dressings

Again we want to do a thorough job so take down your curtains, blinds and nets and clean as per instructions. Make sure you remember to clean the tracks and poles before replacing.

6. Refresh The Floors

Your floor takes quite a bashing over the winter, especially if it has been a wet one like we are experiencing this year and it’s hard to keep it clean all the time. For carpeted areas; it’s worth having a professional in to give it a good clean, or hire a carpet cleaner and do it yourself. Hard wood and other hard floor surfaces should be hoovered making sure you move any furniture to get to all areas including awkward corners. Then use an appropriate cleaner of your choice to clean away the dirt and remove any stains. Wood floors may benefit from a coat of varnish to reseal it for the next year.

Room By Room

Top Tips For Each Room of Your Boat For The Perfect Finished Look


Clean the Cabinets. Wipe the exposed tops first, then wipe the doors front and back with wood cleaner (for painted or laminate surfaces, use warm water with a bit of detergent).

Deep Clean In & Around Appliances. Empty the fridge, then you can wipe it down, inside and out. Do the same for the oven (if you own an range you will need to turn it off and allow it to cool down before giving it a good clean) If you can, pull them out from the wall to get at the surrounding walls and the floor. Hoover the dust off your refrigerator coils to boost its efficiency. 

Tidy the counter tops Take everything off the counters, clean and dry them. Before replacing items clean the back-splash thoroughly, then return only what you use daily, find a new home for the rest or get rid of it altogether.

Finishing Touch Take everything off your kitchen shelves and wipe them down only replace what is necessary. A roasting pan or big dish is the perfect crumb catcher.


Change the Bedding Wash everything, the bed valance, sheets, duvet cover and pillow cases. Take the pillows, scatter cushions and duvet to the laundrette and use one of the extra-large front-loaders to freshen these items.

Freshen the Mattress While your bed is unmade, sprinkle baking soda on the mattress, let it sit for an hour, then vacuum it up using the hose attachment. Then rotate the mattress per the manufacturer's advice and repeat the cleaning process.

Treat your wardrobe to some new wooden hangers, like the ones they have in the posh clothes shops. If your wardrobe looks nice, you'll try harder to keep it that way.

Finishing Touch Pull out the clothes you didn't wear this past season and bag them for the charity shop. 


Wash the shower curtain or better still treat yourself to a nice new one! Polish the taps and shower head, to remove any lime-scale build up.

White vinegar contains acetic acid and is great for cleaning pesky lime stains. Soak a cloth in vinegar and wrap around your tap or shower head.

Secure it in place with a rubber band leave for an hour before wiping the area clean with a soft cloth.

Make the Shower Doors Sparkle To get rid of water spots and soap scum, heat distilled white vinegar and wipe it on the doors, reapplying to keep them wet for 30 minutes. Then scrub with baking soda sprinkled on a non-scratch pad.

Finishing Touc: Bring some order to the chaos under the bathroom sink. Take everything out and re-organise.

Living Area

Freshen the soft furnishings Remove the cushion covers, and if washable put them in the washing machine.

Alternatively vacuum the upholstered surface with the brush attachment and damp wash the covers, make sure that the room is well ventilated.

Replace the washed cushions when dry. Don’t forget throws and scatter cushions.

Dust Under the Electronics Nobody's asking you to unhook and move everything that would be crazy. Use one of those ultra-skinny dusting wands and run it under the components to remove any dust particles.

Finishing Touch Take a good look at the DVDs, CDs, video games, and other media tucked away. Is there anything you can get rid of, maybe even sell to make a few extra pennies?

All images found on Pinterest