Winning The Impossible Battle Against Boat Mildew
The ceaseless march of mildew has brought many to their knees. It's a war that is impossible to win, but it's still worth fighting for the precious few battles that you can salvage a victory from. Today we will discuss mildew in depth. While it might seem like a boring topic, it's one worth paying attention to. Mildew is a menace everywhere, but boat mildew can be particularly rambunctious. Today we will learn how to stop its advance and perhaps even cause it to retreat for a little while at least.
Know Your Enemy
Knowing your enemy is the most important part of any fight. Luckily mildew isn't smart enough to keep any secrets so we know everything about it. Regardless of that fact, it manages to persist. Say what you will about mildew, but I find that fairly impessive. So, enough waffle. Let's get down to brass tacks: What is mildew and what causes it?
Mildew is the common name for what is actually several varieties of fungi. You might also know it as mold. Black mold is a particularly pugnacious variant. Mold and mildew reproduces through spores, which means that it can spread far and fast. One cell under ideal conditions can create 200 miles of cellular growth in just 24 hours! Granted that 200 miles is packed densely together but there isn't much else on the planet that can match the sheer growth rate of mildew.
What Does Mildew Do?
If all mildew did was propagate endlessly it would be inconvenient but not anything to worry about. However, nothing can spread that quick without consuming some sort of energy. The next question is: What does mildew consume to grow so quickly? Well... Basically everything. While mildew prefers natural products such as wood, cotton, leather, or silk they'll certainly make due with anything from plastics to fiberglass and anything in between!
Unlike higher life forms that envelope their food before beginning the digestive process, mildew does it in view of everyone by simply spraying digestive enzymes on whatever they're consuming. How rude! These digestive enzymes can cause pitting and other irreversible damage. That's why it's so important to get rid of mildew as soon as you notice it developing.
Have you ever had a mildewed boat sail that you were able to get looking decent again? Well, the integrity of that sail is still compromised depending on how severely mildewed it was. If it gives way under the wind, you'll have a pretty decent answer as to why that might've happened. As an aside, have you ever wondered why sailboats have two sails?
Why Is Boat Mold So Stubborn?
You'd think that with all the tools we have to get rid of mold on boats and everywhere else that we'd have it on the run, but that simply isn't the case. Mold spores can be ejected several feet from where it spawned and if it lands on one of the few surfaces that isn't conducive to growth then the cells remain dormant, sometimes for years, until the conditions are right for growth.
When you add dormancy to the fact that mold and mildew exist almost everywhere on the planet, you're bound to run into it at some point. The pitting caused by the digestive enzymes I mentioned earlier can create a nice little home for new spores to settle in and continue the party.
How To Win Against Boat Mildew?
Mildew develops extremely quickly in a tropical climate. High humidity and warm temperatures along with still air are prime conditions for boat mold to do it's work. Most molds will still grow in conditions quite far removed from the conditions described above, it just happens at a slower rate. In order to keep mildew in check simply via environmental factors you'd need to keep your boat at around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is going to do a lot more damage than the mildew would.
A small low-temperature space heater can create an environment hostile enough to keep boat mildew at bay in tightly packed spaced. Heat and open air both remove moisture which the mildew depends on to survive. One caveat to this being that the digestion process of mildew can create its own heat. Mildew has even cause spontaneous combustion in piles of hay!
Open air is the best way to wick away moisture, but if you have enclosed spaces then a dehumidifier bag or two can do the trick. There are also a variety of mildew cleaners on the market, but the real trick is to not let boat mildew get settled in at all.
It might seem like an impossible battle but the more you know about your enemy, the easier you can defeat boat mold and mildew. You have all the tools at your disposal, and now you probably know more than you ever wanted to know about this pervasive menace. Perhaps one day we will win the war, but until then friends? Stay vigilant!