cleaning spray bottle

You don’t escape cleaning when you move from a traditional home on land to a houseboat. Unfortunately, houseboats need cleaning and maintenance to in order to create a comfortable and healthy living space.

The good news is that houseboats are smaller than homes so the time required for cleaning is much less. But for the most part, most of the cleaning chores associated with homes are associated with houseboats to.

Here is what to clean on your houseboat:

(1) The Deck

You need to clean the deck once or twice a week. Your deck will either be a wood or plastic material and you’ll want to wash it and mop it to remove footprints and stains from saltwater.

(2) The Kitchen

Houseboats feature a smaller kitchen than traditional homes and will include all necessary appliances. This includes ovens, refrigerators and microwaves.

You should clean the oven in your houseboat once a month and clear out old food from your refrigerator everything. Each month you should empty the refrigerator in your houseboat and organize and clean it.

(3) The Bathroom

You will want to clean the toilet in the bathroom in your houseboat one time every week and clean the sink and the shower too. Our last post covered some of the unique aspects of bathrooms in houseboats but for the most part the cleaning process is no different than a home.

(4) Living Room

You will want to vacuum the houseboat carpet or rugs a couple of times a week with powerful suction to remove any moisture from the nearby body of water.

You should also schedule deep carpet cleaning or rug cleaning for the houseboat one or two times each year to extract all of the moisture from the carpet as well as common stains and soils. This is also a good idea for the furniture in the houseboat. A carpet cleaner will be able to provide upholstery cleaning too.

(5) Bedrooms

Cleaning the bedroom in a houseboat is similar to the living room. You will want to vacuum carpet in the room and clean any furniture in the room.

We recommend to clean the bedding each week. Go to the local laundry mat to clean the sheets and the comforter as well as pillowcases and any other textiles on the bed.

Cleaning Your Houseboat Exterior

We mentioned the need to clean the deck but you will also want to clean the siding or wood exterior much more often than you clean the siding or exterior of a traditional home.

A houseboat is subject to inclement weather and constant moisture. You want to avoid mold and mildew from forming around the exterior and prevent deterioration of the exterior. This will lead to leaks in the houseboat and an increase in energy costs for heating the boat.

You can see there are not too many differences between cleaning a home and a houseboat and the good news is the hours it requires for a home on land are much more than a houseboat.

Happy houseboat cleaning!

blue houseboat

The main difference between a home and a houseboat is obvious. A home is one land and a houseboat is on water. The second biggest difference is the bathroom.

This might depend on the quality of houseboat you live in, but bathrooms on houseboats are not as nice as bathrooms in homes. Why?


You need a water heater for hot water and most houseboats do not have a water heater. You will need to be willing to take cold showers if you want to live on a standard houseboat. Our advice is to shower during the daytime if possible in order for the hot outdoor weather to warm you up fast.


To create the same amount of water pressure a standard faucet in a home produces, you must turn on the water pressure valve in a houseboat. The water will pour out of the valve fast when turned on. This strains the boat so do not leave the valve on for any longer than absolutely necessary. If you forget to turn off the water valve you will drain your freshwater tank very fast.

Most houseboat owners do not drink water from their tank either. The water is not fresh. Houseboat owners will often just drink bottle water instead.


Not all toilets on houseboats have a standard flusher on them. You need to turn the toilet to the fill valve for the toilet to fill up then use a plunger to pump the toilet until the water clears out then turn the switch on the toilet to the drain function. Then turn the fill on a again and plunge a few more times until the toilet bowl is filled with fresh water again.

This is not true of all houseboat toilets but it is something to be aware of. You should also be careful not to flush toilet paper down the toilet either. The pressure is not strong enough. You need a garbage bag for immediate disposal to prevent the bathroom filling up with used toilet paper.

If you can afford a houseboat with a fully functioning bathroom, we recommend it. But if not, you should be aware of these factors before deciding to move from a home to live on a houseboat.

houseboat decor

It’s a fun idea to live on a houseboat. It should be fun to decorate it too! You don’t have to go with a nautical theme. You can be creative and decorate your houseboat however you want, however, there are a few things to consider when buying furniture and décor for a houseboat.

For the most part, houseboat interior decorating is no different than decorating a standard home, condo or apartment, but there are a few key differences to be aware of:


Homeowners will generally invest most of their remodeling budget or décor costs in their kitchen or living room or somewhere indoors. However, for a houseboat owner, we would recommend focusing primarily on the deck. After all, the beautiful views of a lake or ocean are a main reason to live on a houseboat to begin with.

You should invest in nice deck furniture for the exterior of the houseboat as well as solar string lights for around the roof for evening lighting. Guests of your houseboat will simply adore this set up.


Be careful when purchasing lamps and other breakable items for interior décor. Remember the boat will shift around some even when docked as you are on water. You will need to fasten table lamps and floor lamps to the surface. You should also purchase wide-leg furniture that is very sturdy and less likely to slide around the interior of the houseboat.

For flooring, consider vinyl material or something that can get wet. If you want a little color and comfort, consider using rugs to decorate. You will find that rug cleaning is much easier than carpet cleaning in a houseboat.


There aren’t large landscape windows on houseboats so you will want blinds that allow a lot of light in during the daytime hours. It is also important to note that it gets very dark in the evening time out on the water. There are not street lights nearby or any artificial lighting to illuminate the area.

You should invest in deck lights as mentioned above as well as recessed lighting or mounted lighting on the interior of the boat to ensure there is enough light for your nighttime routine when inside the houseboat for the evening.

You can hang artwork and purchase flowers and other traditional accents for your houseboat. Of course, you will want a TV and some other entertainment as well. Just remember our tips above before any purchase to ensure the décor is houseboat-friendly.


Deciding to live on a houseboat is a great idea. This is a cheap way to live in or near some of the major metro cities in the USA. For example, Seattle or Sacramento are great locations to consider living in a house boat.

You will save money living in a house boat compared to living in an apartment or a home in a major metropolis. However, there are both common and unique costs to living in a house boat you should be aware of.


House boat residents must pay for their house boat. This cost is similar to a mortgage payment for a home. You must pay a monthly payment plus interest on a house boat until it is paid off. The payment varies based on the initial loan for the boat and interest fees associated with the loan.


Slip rental for a house boat is the same as monthly rent for an apartment. You have to pay to dock your boat somewhere each month. The cost of a slip rental is often between $250-550 per month depending on the location and what is included. Some docks will include laundry service nearby or Wi-Fi and other amenities in their monthly fee.


Similar to home insurance, you will need insurance for your house boat should it incur any damages from severe weather or other incidents. The cost of boat insurance ranges between $150-250 per month.


Your house boat will need electricity which is a separate charge from the slip rental. This depends on how much electricity and energy you use in your boat but the average cost is around $150 per month for electrical utility fees.


This cost is unique to living in a house boat. If you dock on a holding tank lake you will need to pay for pumping or pump-outs each month. This costs around $50 per month or $500 per year.

You can see that you can save a lot of money if you choose to live on a house boat compared to the high costs of living in urban environments in or around major cities in the USA.