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Cleaning Your Inflatable Paddleboard for Winter Storage

Posted by Paddlestore Shopify on
Cleaning Your Inflatable Paddleboard for Winter Storage - Paddlestore

Here in the cool, blue north, long winter storage of your paddleboard can last several frigid months.

When spring finally arrives, we can't wait to get back on the water. You can assure yourself a pleasant start now – by getting ahead of mold, mildew, cracks, scratches, dirt, and stains that plot all winter to homestead on the surface and seams of your inflatable stand-up paddleboard.  

Those unpleasant spring surprises can happen to anyone, including paddleboard experts who want to help you avoid them. Based on what they’ve learned, they have some timely tips on the steps you should take before putting your board to bed for the winter: 

  • Cleaning your paddleboard  
  • Dealing with moisture damage like mold and mildew  
  • Preventing saltwater damage  
  • Pre-storage checklist  
  • Drying a SUP for storage 

Their advice will help your paddleboard go into storage with the best chance of greeting the spring in great shape.  

Common Mistakes and the Problems They Can Cause 

  • Storing your paddleboard without cleaning it: Dirt, sand, debris, and gravel can scratch your board surface and make it look dingy, but the water you paddle on can cause problems, too. 
  • Saltwater leaves several sharp-edged crystals behind that corrode your valve and wreak rot and rust on your handles, D-rings and other metal parts. 
  • Fresh-water paddling may be easier on your board itself, but you may pick up contaminants like blue-green algae, which you could transport to other bodies of water. This could promote the spread of skin reactions and toxic reactions in animals and livestock.  
  • Putting your SUP away wet: Whether the moisture comes from being in the water or from you cleaning it, a wet paddleboard is a banquet table for bacteria and a fertile field for mold. If water has no room to evaporate, your board could show a Dalmatian-like coat of unhealthy spots when you unfold it. 


It’s always good to rinse your board with fresh-water rinse after an excursion, but it’s not necessary every time you go out. The exception is if you go out on salt water. Those briny crystals aren’t just abrasive. They also cling to water longer, so contaminants have more time to do their damage.  

You certainly should rinse your SUP before you put it into long winter storage. Next, you’ll want to clean it - scrubbing out stubborn stains and removing algae, dirt, grit, and weeds. There are several deck cleaners, PVC-approved boat cleaners, and environmentally-friendly, biodegradable cleaning products available to help you. You can scrub your board inflated or deflated.  

Make sure you get into vulnerable areas like the edges of your air valve and fin box. Just don’t scrub too hard or use a brush that’s too abrasive. You don’t want to create scratches where germs can hide. Nor do you want to wear down the slip-resistant surface of your deck pad.  

When you’re all done, give it another rinse.  

Quick Inspection – a Pre-storage checklist  

Take some time to locate parts you’ll miss if they go missing, like your fin screw and other accessories. It’s a perfect time to order absent necessities so you can have a fully equipped board in the spring. If all parts are present and accounted for, ask yourself if they’re all in good shape and what you can do to fix those that aren’t. Here are a few good maintenance tips: 

  • If you find debris in your air valve, pick it out or dislodge it with a cotton bud.  
  • Trim frayed ends from your grab handles.  
  • Velcro straps clogged with mud or grass? Let them dry then work the muck out with a stiff brush.  
  • Tighten your loose knots 
  •  Replace a worn bungee cord.  


Ideally, you’d like to get ALL the moisture out – especially from those seams and gaps. Instead of blotting and rubbing away, you can simply leave your SUP outside on a warm, dry day and let nature do the bulk of the work. Just remember that prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause your board’s colours to fade, promote delamination, or even damage the deck or the PVC material itself.  

You can stand your board up in a shady spot where a nice breeze might help with the drying process. Make sure it’s properly supported to avoid potential twisting. You can also give it a good toweling-off afterwards – either fully inflated or deflated.  

One last note: Don’t worry about the time you spend paddling your board around. That short, happy time is unlikely to compromise your craft’s integrity. 

Next Stop: Storage 

Once your SUP is clean as a whistle, dry as a bone, and with all parts accounted for or on order, you’ll want to put the same level of care into storing it. As with cleaning, proper storage procedures can make the difference between a board that’s ready to go or a board that needs some work done.  

You can find a whole other list of mistakes and best practices for storing your board here.


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