How to Clean Fish Stains on a Boat

How to Clean Fish Stains on a Boat

When you use your boat for fishing there are bound to be stains from the bait, bringing the fish onboard, gutting and cleaning the fish, etc. If you leave all that there, your boat is going to become stained and smell. It will not make it a pleasure to take your boat out. There are many different ways and products you can use to clean fish stains on a boat. The best cleaning products to use are a mixture of hot water, white vinegar, and liquid dish detergent and then use a brush to scrub the stains and smells from your boat. When cleaning fish stains on a boat, remember that you also have your bait box, the engine room, and bilge.

How to Clean Stains on a Boat

Fish Box

It is only natural that this is going to not only smell but also have stains in it. The first thing to do is buy some fish box deodorizer that is designed to clean out any evidence of fish guts. All you need to do is pour the box of fish deodorizer in your fish box, add the amount of water it says in the directions, scrub with a brush and let it sit for five to ten minutes. Then all you have to do is drain it and rinse it out. No more smells or stains. You can use this on fiberglass, plastic, and vinyl so you can also use it on ice chests or deck boxes.

Bird Droppings 

These can damage the surface of the boat because the droppings can be very acidic so you need to clean them off as soon as you get back to shore. To clean these up, use some versatile boat soap or non-skid deck cleaner. After docking, hose down the deck to loosen as much of the mess as you can and then apply the product. Use a deck brush to scrub the deck and then rinse it off.


There are times that someone gets sick on the boat. It could be too much partying or a sudden case of seasickness. If it is on the deck, all you need to do is put some freshwater in the bucket along with the deck cleaner and you are ready to clean the deck. If it gets into the carpet or upholstery, use some heavy-duty boat soap with water and then use a brush to scrub the mess out. After rinsing it off, let it air dry.

Mildew and Mold Stains

To get these stains out, you need to use some type of mildew stain remover in a spray bottle. Spray the areas that are affected and leave it on for at least 10 minutes to work its magic. Wipe it off with a cloth and it is good to go. You can treat any fabric with a fabric guard to help limit the absorption of moisture to help prevent future mold growth.

Fish Blood Stains

When you find fish blood stains on your deck after a day of fishing, you need to make sure that you wash the area down before the blood has had a chance to dry. If you are going to be fishing out to sea for a while, take some seawater and rinse the blood off so it does not dry in the sun. If some have dried on the deck, sprinkle some Bar Keepers Friend on the fish bloodstain, scrub it, and then rinse it off. For really tough stains, you can use hydrogen peroxide. You can help to prevent future stains by putting a coat of Woody Wax on your wood deck if that is the type of deck you have. 

General Mixture for Cleaning Fish Stains on a Boat

This mixture will clean coffee, bird droppings, fish blood, and general stains off your boat. What the stain is will determine the exact mixture you need to use to get rid of the stain. As mentioned, the best all-purpose cleaner is a cup of white vinegar and liquid dish detergent in a bucket of hot water. All you need to do is pour some of the mixture on the stained area and then use a stiff bristle brush to spread the mix around to get the stain out. 

Cleaning Fish Stains out of Carpet

If you are using the above mixture on the carpet, let it soak for 45 minutes and then use some thick rags to dab the carpet dry. Do not use the rags to scrub the carpet. The carpet in your boat is the area that gets the most abuse. You drag your dirty shoes across the carpet that has fish blood, slime, and guts on them. When cleaning your fish, you will get their blood and guts on the carpet. There may also be spilled food and drinks. You can use a garden hose or power washer to spray down the carpet from bow to stern. This will help to lift up the stains, grime, and dirt. You can also use a wet/dry vacuum to suction up the dirt and water. 


One important thing to remember is that it will be easier to clean any fish stain on your boat if you do it right when it happens but that is not always possible if you are at sea fishing. You do not want to come in just to clean up a fish stain. While out fishing, if you have any fish stains, you could take just a bucket of seawater and rinse the stain off. Keep a deck brush handy so if necessary, you can scrub away the fish stain before it becomes a permanent stain.

In addition to cleaning fish stains off your boat, there are other stains that you might have to clean off such as bird droppings, general spills, vomit, and more. Make sure that before you use any cleaner on fish stains or any other stains that you read the directions to make sure that it is safe to use on your boat.

Read: How Does Fog Affect Fishing?

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