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Life jackets are included among the most important equipment you can carry on a boat. Improper storage can cause your personal flotation devices to mildew, compromising the integrity of the material. In an emergency, a torn life jacket may spell the difference between life and death. Prompt cleaning with a solution of white vinegar and water will kill the mildew and prevent further deterioration.
Vinegar, Water and Detergent
Place one cup of white vinegar in a household bucket and fill with warm water. Use a soft-bristled scrub brush to work the vinegar solution into the mildewed areas and loosen it. Rinse thoroughly with a hose. Repeat until no more mildew areas are visible. Use a toothbrush to work the solution into seams and indentations around zippers and strap attachments. Empty your bucket and refill with warm water and a quarter-cup of laundry detergent to remove any residual vinegar. Not only will this eliminate the vinegar smell, but it will prevent deterioration from vinegar left in the material. Rinse thoroughly to remove all residue and hang to air-dry.
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