At the start of summer, when you pull your life jackets out of storage, you may find them showing signs of mold or mildew. This occurs when a life jacket is stored before it is completely dried. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to shop for a new one.
There are two simple methods for removing mold, mildew, or strange smells from a life jacket. You can choose either method, based on the amount of time you have and the supplies in your cabinet.
These same cleaning methods can also be applied to other nylon-type products such as swim vests, snorkel vests, and even pool floats.
Method #1 – Hydrogen Peroxide
- Use a nylon scrubber or a soft brush to remove mold, mildew, and stains. Some of it may come off right away, while you will need to follow additional steps in order to remove more deeply-rooted blemishes.
- Make a solution that is 2/3 water and 1/3 hydrogen peroxide and pour it onto any mold, mildew, or stains. Place the life jacket in the sun and allow this solution to soak into it for half an hour.
- Again use your nylon scrubber, brush, or a cloth to scrub the areas where you placed the solution.
- Rinse your life jacket with clean water.
- Wash moldy and stained areas again with a solution composed of water and dishwasher detergent. While you’re at it, you can use this solution to freshen the entire jacket.
- Rinse with clean water again.
- Find an outdoor spot where your life jacket will be exposed to a lot of sun and hang it up there. If you are going to store it again, do so after it has been thoroughly dried.
Method #2 – Salt
- Make a solution of salt and water. Use enough water to submerge the life jacket. Add about 1/2 cup of salt for every liter of water.
- Soak the jacket in the solution for an entire day.
- Remove the life jacket from the solution and scrub all over, paying particular attention to the areas affected with mold or mildew.
- Follow steps five, six, and seven in Method #1 above.
If neither of these methods works in removing mold or mildew from your life jacket completely, you may need to purchase a color-safe mold/mildew remover such as this one. If even that doesn’t work, it may be time to invest in a new life jacket.
If you have had to deal with the problem of mold or mildew on your life jacket before, you likely do not want to do it again. This time around, when you are storing your life jacket, even if it is for just a day or two, take the necessary precautions to make sure that no mold develops.
This is as simple as rinsing your life jacket off after each use (especially if it has been exposed to salt water) and allowing it to dry thoroughly in the sun before putting it away. If you are hanging multiple jackets at once, make sure they are not touching one another.