Bimini tops create shade, protect boaters and their gear from the elements, and can be used as decorative pieces for almost any boat. However, these easy-to-use and cost-effective fabric coverings require special care. Use these tips to ensure your bimini top stays in good condition through many boating seasons.
Maintaining Metal Bimini Top Frames
The frame that holds your top to the boat's structure is made with stainless steel or aluminum materials. These materials are known to be corrosion resistant, sturdy, and lightweight. However, without the proper maintenance, your frame can start to look dingy and not so fresh and new. Add these activities to your boat maintenance routine to ensure your bimini top looks like new for years to come.
● At least once a year, preferably right before storing your boat for the winter, remove the fabric portion of your bimini top, and clean the frame thoroughly with a gentle cleanser that is designed specifically for the type of metal your bimini frame is made out of. This prevents buildup of oils from hands, fish, and other substances that can make your bimini top frame look dirty. If you use your boat more often or live in an area with an extended boating season, you may need to wash the bimini frame more frequently.
● Avoid cleaners and products that contain chlorine, phosphorous, or powdered components that can scratch the metal, or any other corrosive ingredients. These ingredients will damage your metal’s finish.
● Wax your bimini frame after cleaning to provide an extra layer of protection against corrosion. Make sure any excess wax has been removed before reinstalling the fabric portion of your bimini cover to avoid staining the fabric.
● NEVER apply any cleanser, wax, or other product to your bimini frame while your fabric top is still installed on the frame. Cleansers and waxes meant for metal will ruin your fabric top.
Keeping your frame clean is the best way to keep your bimini top looking fresh and new.
Protecting the Hardware on Your Top
Boat tops are connected to the frame by a series of fasteners, clips, and zippers. These small parts are essential to the utility of your top. It is important to keep them working properly to reduce unnecessary stress on your bimini top.
You can keep them working properly by simply cleaning them with water, drying them thoroughly afterwards, and making sure that there is no dirt or debris trapped in moving parts like zippers or hinges. Never use silicone sprays or other lubricants on your frame or hardware as it will stain the fabric of your bimini top beyond repair. More importantly, be sure to replace any broken or missing fittings using the proper fitting. We often see screwdrivers, improperly sized bolts, and other replacements that do not fit correctly. This causes damage to your bimini top, shortening the lifespan of the frame and sometimes the cover.
Keeping Fabric Fresh
Besides rinsing your bimini boat top's fabric periodically, use these tips to keep your fabrics clean and free of mildew and mold.
● During monthly cleanings, use a soft bristled brush to lift dirt and debris that could be embedded in the fibers of your fabrics. NEVER power wash your bimini top fabric—it removes the protective coating, which leads to the growth of mold and mildew.
● Use gentle cleansers—never detergents—to clean your top. Harsh and abrasive chemical formulas often do more harm than good. They strip your fabric of its protective coatings, which leads to the growth of mold and mildew. Never use bleach on your fabric; it will rot the thread.
● Air dry fabrics thoroughly before closing the bimini top up into the boat. Failure to do so will lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which can shorten the lifespan of your fabric bimini top.
● Treat stains according to the fabric manufacturer’s instructions.
● Apply appropriate fabric guard after each washing to preserve your bimini top’s water repellent coating.
● Do not use bleach to clean your fabric top, even when recommended by your fabric manufacturer. It will cause the thread of your stitching to rot.
For more in-depth fabric care tips, please see our other blog posts:
● Proper Care and Storage of Your New Boat Cover
● Cleaning and Caring For Your New Sunbrella Boat Cover
● Care and Cleaning of your Top-Notch Boat Cover
With these tips, your bimini boat top will stay strong, useful, and attractive for many years.
If your bimini boat top is in need of repair, contact us today. Our team has decades of experience repairing all types of boat covers.