All boaters face a constant battle against mold and mildew and we are no different here aboard Thistle. Locking your boat up tight and leaving it for weeks in a humid environment only exacerbates the problem. We were anxious to see if our boat would be mold-free when we arrived back aboard Thursday afternoon.
Before we left we washed and dried every surface inside the boat with a solution of tea tree oil. It has a pleasant, clean scent and inhibits mold growth. Then we opened the chain locker door and left two portholes (facing aft under the dodger) open. We didn't leave a light or a fan on, and we didn't use any desiccant.
When our taxi driver picked us up at the airport he told us it had been rainy for the last three weeks, so we were expecting the worst, but what a relief to see that we had no mold anywhere. Could it be because our boat has so much wood down below and it helps to moderate the moisture? Could it be the tea tree oil? Could it be the flow-through vetilation? We don't know why, but we will keep using the tea tree oil.
Unfortunately I missed a couple of items in my cleaning frenzy; the top of the trawler light and this fan. Realizing the whole interior could have been this bad if I hadn't cleaned it makes me really glad I took the extra time to do it.