How to Clean an Inflatable Paddle Board

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In this article, we are here to answer the very question that at some point an ISUP owner will ask themselves. How to clean an inflatable paddle board and what do you need? 

The quick answer on how to clean an inflatable paddle board is the following:

  1. Rinse the board as soon as you can with fresh water (a hose will do)
  2. Use soap and a scrub brush for those stubborn stains that appear on the board and deck pad.
  3. Rinse and repeat! (rinse board with fresh water) 
  4. Dry the paddle board completely before putting it into its bag

Want a bit of a more detailed answer? Follow along as we reveal more detailed steps on what to look for, what you need, and how to clean your board like a professional.

How to Clean an Inflatable Paddle Board Properly 

Below are some steps that I have compiled both from my own experience as well as other SUP owners on how to clean your board properly. Do it for the longevity of your board!

Step 1: Rinse!

If you are paddling strictly in freshwater environments you don’t have to do this every time. Try cleaning your board once every two trips or so if you use your board frequently. 

For folks like me who spend most of their time in ocean water, I would recommend at the bare minimum rinsing off your board after each use. Salt contains corrosive agents which can weaken both the PVC and the seams with extended use, therefore severely limiting the lifetime of your board. 

What I like to do is launch my board close to a boating launch. Often these boating launches have a hose that all people can use. Rinse the paddle board all over the front, back and sides. I often like to have a jet stream to ensure that most of the saltwater gets off. If there is no garden hose nozzle, use your thumb to cover the hose opening to make a jet stream of your own.”

– Editors Note

Step 2: Use Soap for Stubborn Stains

If you have paddled in very dirty water or you haven’t rinsed your board in a little while then stubborn stains will start accumulating. It’s just part of the life of an inflatable paddle board owner!

There are a few ways to get those stubborn stains out but most of them can be used with soap, a bucket and a soft-bristled scrubbing brush. Scrub and repeat. This should do the job for 90% of the dirt on the deck pad and board. For those more stubborn stains You can also use the following:

Of course, these stains will be easier to get off the more frequently you clean your board. 🙂

Step 3: Rinse and Repeat!

Once you are satisfied with the application of soap you rinse off all the soap and leftover dirt from it.  Again use a jet stream for this so that you can properly get all the dirt particles off of your board.

Step 4: Dry Before Storage

don’t forget about the accessories!

The longer your paddle board will be nestled in its bag for storage, the more dry your paddleboard should be! My favorite method for drying involves letting the sun from mother nature do her work for an hour or two until the board is completely dry then I pack the board back in its bag. 

Yes, overextended UV from the sun can damage inflatable paddle board seams but if you limit its exposure to 1 or 2 hours it will be fine. After all your board has been out there paddling for at least a couple of hours anyway!

Of course, this solution may not always be available to you, especially if you want to go home. The best way to fast forward this process is with a towel.

Dry all of the damp parts of your paddle board. If you are planning to go paddling the next day this really is not much of an issue. For extended over-winter storage you want your SUP to be completely dry before going into its bag. Mold and mildew can take up to 3-12 days to colonize and 18-21 days to become visible. Keep this in mind for the next time you are feeling a bit lazy when packing up!

To learn How to Store an Inflatable Paddle Board see this article.

Additional Tips

Below are a few other tidbits to keep in mind. Think of these as extra little things you can do to help extend the life of your board or help the cleaning process in general.

Once and a While Use 303 Spray

This is a good habit to get into. One to two times a year use 303 aerospace protectant spray on your inflatable paddle board. This helps maintain the board’s PVC sheen while protecting it from UV rays. 

The video below will give proper instructions on how to use it. When using 303 spray, also make sure that you dilute it down with a bottle of water since it’s a stronger solution. 

A SUP Landing Mat is an Extremely Underrated Item

I get the hesitation, why should I purchase a $40 landing mat?! I got towels! While theoretically, you are right, SUP landing mats are much easier to work with

Towels like Mr Towlie in the above picture are made of cotton strands which can trap sand and dirt in its fibers. A single beach towel is also too small for most inflatable SUPs which means you need to put down multiple towels to keep the SUP from touching the ground.

The Nixy landing mat comes with 4 pegs that allow you to secure it down in the ground so that it does not fly away. Its Nylon fiber is much easier to get rid of sand and dirt with a simple shake or two. 

Clean Your SUP Bag Every Once and a While

This is especially key if you are transporting your SUP too and from the water to your bathroom or front yard to clean it. Leftover grass, dirt, sand, and other wonders from the water can be piggybacked onto your SUP and into the bag.

Making all of that effort of cleaning your SUP only to get it dirty due to a grassy bag, a bit more of a waste. 

So How Do You Clean a Paddle Board?

To clean your inflatable paddle board simply rinse, wash, rinse again and dry off your board. 

Some other things you can do to help add life to your board is use 303 spray, get a landing mat for set-up and take down as well as clean your SUP Bag every once and a while

For those in apartment setups, you can wrap your SUP around your bathtub and use the shower nozzle and some dish soap to rinse and wash your board off. 
How do you clean your SUP? Tell us on our Facebook page!

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Hey, My name is Derek Lenze and I'm the owner of Inflatable SUP Authority. I've had over 20 years experience with watersports and over 10 years of various paddle boarding experience. My new-found passion is bringing my stand up paddle boaring knowledge in an explainable and actionable way all the while giving you my unbiased takes.

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