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Preventing mildew build-up

March 1st, 2010 / By: / Ask the Experts

Question:How can I prevent mildew build-up under the mattresses I’ve installed in boat berths? I’ve heard there are some products you can put under the mattress.

Answer:Because boats exist in an environment that’s already moist, condensation between the mattress and the surface it rests on creates problems. There are a number of techniques that marine fabricators use to combat these problems. Drilling holes into the berth’s support helps airflow, as does suggesting that your customer use a dehumidifier in particularly humid conditions. In some parts of the world, cold weather can be an issue. In those cases, keeping the cabin warmer than the outside conditions can help.

In addition to those techniques, there are products on the market that can help. Each product is a three-dimensional layer between the mattress and the berth support, allowing for air flow between them. This cuts down on the condensation and gives mildew less to work with.

One product is called Dry Mesh and it comes from Europe. Supplied by the Marine Bedding Company, it uses a three-dimensional fabric as an anti-moisture layer. We’re not sure if they have a distributor in the United States, but in viewing photos of their product, it appears to be a type of fabric called a spacer fabric. Spacer fabrics use special knitting or weaving technology to create 3-D material. The material is used in applications like cushioning for athletic shoes and in high tech military bags.

Gehring Textiles told us that they are willing to work with a marine fabricator to determine if their fabric could be used in this type of application.

Another product is called HyperVent. It achieves a similar 3-D effect with different technology. HyperVent uses tangled monofilament yarns that are fused together where they cross, providing a three dimensional open structure.

SOURCE Gehring Textiles/Militex Inc.

SOURCE HyperVent Marine

SOURCE Marine Bedding Company

Juli Case is IFAI’s information and technical services manager.

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