Come on Down! Cabin Care Aboard Your Formula
I know, you love your Formula, and you pamper it. You clean it, maintain it, dote on it. You wash and wax it topsides, scrub the nonskid and wipe down the vinyl. It's all fun and games outside the cabin door, but how much attention do you pay belowdecks?
Unless you're seriously into cruising or a live-aboard, I would guess that to you boating probably means spending the majority of your time in the cockpit. And, when it comes to taking care of your boat, where's the glamour in hanging around in the cabin doing those little things that need done? You might as well be spending the weekend cleaning your house! On the other hand, part of the prestige of owning a Formula is enjoying a fabulously appointed interior. So join me as I share some tips designed to keep your interior in sterling condition.
Flooring: The first thing your feet touch as you land in the cabin is either beautifully sculpted carpet or rich American Cherry woodgrain-finish flooring. Either way, it's the first thing to get dirty. There's a lot of traffic, and you're bringing in everything from shoreside dirt to bits of the sand bar--clean it as you would flooring in your home. Vacuum the carpeting regularly, spot-clean stains promptly, and if someone throws a wet swimsuit on the floor, make sure to dry it out. That's one reason it's a good idea to air the cabin out once in a while, or to reduce the humidity by running the air conditioning. As for the wood-finish flooring, it's beautiful, textured material made of PVC and is thus very easily maintained. Sweep and mop as needed. Simple, but what a difference it makes!
Upholstery: Ultraleather™! Soft yet incredibly resilient, this material makes lounging a guilty pleasure and takes very little in the way of maintenance. Regular cleaning just involves wiping down with mild soap and water, or if you see a stain, spot cleaning with a mild alcohol-based solvent like Fantastik® or Formula 409®. Ballpoint pen marks are tougher but if you address them immediately, there is a procedure that has a good chance of succeeding. Read about it here.
Cabinetry: Again, visually stunning, but surprisingly easy to care for with regular attention. All it takes is a little wiping down. The cabinets themselves don't need more than mild soap and water or household furniture polish - don't be tempted to get aggressive with a textured pad and scratch the high-gloss surface. Corian® surfacing is tough and can handle a gentle scrubbing pad if necessary, but cleaning with soap and water usually does the trick. Sinks and fixtures? Shine 'em up just as you would in your own kitchen at home.
Mirrors: They make a big difference. Mirrors add a sense of space to the cabin, and a clean mirror enhances the effect and brightens the room. The mirrors are plastic, not glass, so use a cleaner without ammonia or other harsh chemicals.
Head: The 'Final Frontier,' so to speak, but a properly cared-for head can make or break a good time on your Formula. Corian countertops and mirrors are a breeze, as I mentioned earlier in "Cabinetry". The floor and walls are mainly gelcoat. Walls can be wiped down with soap and water, and you might want to try spraying down the floor and cleaning with a brush and boat soap if it's really dirty. I would advise sweeping or vacuuming debris up first, though, as you don't want to rinse a lot of junk into the drain and risk clogging. While you're at it, pour some baking soda down the drain to fight soap scum and reduce odors in the drain line and shower sump (it doesn't hurt to pour some down the galley sink, either).
The bigger chore--the one none of us look forward to--cleaning the head itself. If your boat is equipped with a portable head, just remove, empty, rinse, clean with soap (liquid laundry detergent is good) and water, and rinse again. If it's physically attached to a pump-out hose, you'll need to empty the holding tank, fill the bowl with soap and water, flush, pump out, rinse and pump out.
With Vacuflush® or manual pump porcelain heads, you can follow the same basic procedures as portable heads. I'm bit leery of recommending the run-of-the-mill household toilet bowl cleaners, as they're rather caustic, and a marine sanitation system employs rubber seals that you don't want to compromise. Stick with the laundry detergent and water regimen, and if you want something a bit more aggressive or need to eliminate mineral deposits, the toilet manufacturers sell products made especially for those purposes.
Finally, our engineering staff has been very satisfied with the performance of Dawn® dish washing liquid. Flushing a small 12.6 oz. bottle into the holding tank a few miles before pulling in to pump out the holding tank allows it to slosh around a bit and works wonders. If you're aching for a more detailed explanation of all things marine sanitation, feel free to peruse the Boat Care article called Heads Up!
See? It's not all that much work, but it will make your cabin shine, and you'll impress and add to the enjoyment of your family and guests. Now, go back topsides and enjoy the rest of your Formula adventure. Happy boating!