what to use to clean boat seats

What To Use To Clean Vinyl Boat Seats? Full Guide

Regular boat maintenance will keep your prized possession looking and performing like new, and learning how to clean boat seats is an essential component of your regular maintenance schedule. In fact, keeping those seats in good condition is probably the single most crucial thing you can do.

The likelihood of finding minute traces of mildew on our vinyl seats is always higher because so many of us enjoy taking our boats out on the water whenever we get the chance. Because mildew results from the combination of moisture and humidity. And here on the water, we are surrounded by both. Mold and mildew can revitalize the interior of your boat if you catch them early on and remove them quickly.

Please take the time to carefully read this article if you want to learn how to clean boat seats.

How To Clean Vinyl Boat Seats?

Routine Cleaning

The cleaning of the vinyl seats on your boat will require that you establish a procedure or schedule. This schedule or routine may need to be much more intricate and thorough for some people than for others.

There may only be a few pedestal seats and a bench seat to worry about if you are driving an 18′ fishing boat. On the other hand, if you are taking pleasure cruises for several days at a time, you may have up to a dozen seats to worry about keeping dry, clean, and properly sealed.

In a pinch, you can make your own soap solution using dish soap and warm water to perform your standard vinyl seat maintenance. It will clean the vinyl on boats, but it won’t handle difficult or in-depth cleaning tasks.

Deep Cleaning

When you store your boat for the winter, in the middle of the season, and when you bring it back out in the spring, deep cleaning should be taken care of.

Allow seats to completely dry after cleaning with a mild soap solution and a clean cloth, then use a soft-bristled brush or clean cloth to apply a vinyl cleaner.

  • Fill your bucket with your soap solution or warm water
  • Apply your soap or cleaner to the vinyl and scrub it with your brush
  • Allow the soap solution to soak into the padding inside the seat
  • Rinse thoroughly with warm freshwater
  • Dry intensely, to ensure there is no moisture left to foster microbial growth
  • Treat vinyl with UV protectant

Removing Deep Stains

Your vinyl seats can be cleaned of stains caused by mold and mildew using alcohol wipes. Whenever possible, stay away from harsh cleaning products like Windex, Simple Green, bleach, and ammonia. It’s simple for them to sand the substance down or scrub it off. You can check out more information we have on How To Remove Boat Seats By Yourself

Replacing Vinyl Seats

In many instances, mold and mildew may penetrate the cushions, even though you might be able to clean up the surface stains if you catch the issue in its early stages. If so, you might have to spend money on new seat skins or cushions.

Proper Techniques For Rinsing & Cleaning Your Boat’s Vinyl Seats

Cleaning off dirt and contaminants before mold or mildew can take hold is the key to maintaining boat seats in excellent condition. Once it does, that foul substance spreads into the vinyl and the cushions, making removal nearly impossible.

Particularly, learning how to remove mildew from vinyl boat seats can be frustrating and confusing because, even if you are successful in getting it off the surface, it will simply reappear from the inside.

what to use to clean boat seats

Therefore, be sure to wash frequently and regularly. Unless your boat is kept indoors in a controlled environment, once per week ought to be thought of as the absolute minimum. In that case, once every few weeks ought to be sufficient.

Also, even if the seats appear to be perfectly clean, make sure to rinse them down after each and every use. Even though sweat, bug spray, and suntan lotion aren’t readily apparent, they still need to be sluiced out.

  • Always wash your hands with fresh water, use a soft cloth or wash mitt, and keep in mind that the best cleaner for boat seats is just a mild soap.
  • When seats need deep cleaning, soak them down, soap them up, and wait a few minutes to let any dirt or grime loosen up rather than vigorously scrubbing at stains or dirt.
  • Then gently clean them once more.
  • Continue the process for a few cycles until the vinyl is thoroughly clean.
  • Even if the boat is kept indoors, dust and other airborne contaminants will still settle on the surface, so do this once a month regardless of how the boat seats appear or whether you’ve used them or not.

What Cleaner Is The Best For Cleaning Boat Seats?

The majority of seat manufacturers advise against using aftermarket treatments on vinyl for as long as possible. However, you must keep in mind that the treatments the manufacturer gave the seats do wear and deteriorate over time.

Dedicated Vinyl Cleaners

Stains will eventually become more difficult to remove, and those unsightly black dots will start to appear. The precise number of seasons it takes will depend greatly on the climate in your area, how frequently you use the boat, and how well you maintain it.

You should probably reach for a vinyl cleaner at this point. Make sure to thoroughly clean the seats once more after each use, let them air dry, and then spray on a vinyl protector.

Stay Away From Caustic Cleaners (Including Bleach)

Regardless of how challenging it becomes to clean those boat seats, it is imperative to avoid caustic cleaners. A big no-no is a bleach in particular. In addition to damaging the vinyl and making it brittle, abrasive cleaners will also remove any remaining anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-stain qualities. Rips and tears in the fabric won’t take long to follow.

The threads used to stitch the vinyl seats together are also susceptible to damage, and the stitching won’t hold up well under such conditions.

How long will boat seats last if you maintain them properly and clean them frequently? That again depends on where your boat is, how you use it, and how you store it. One thing is for certain, though: the more often you clean your boat seats, the longer they’ll last and the longer your boat will continue to look brand new.

How Do I Take Care Of A Vinyl Boat Seat?

Preventative maintenance is the most important action you can take to improve the long-term condition of your vinyl seats. It is hoped that by initially contributing to the maintenance of your boat seats, you can avoid any negative effects for as long as possible. Therefore, when issues arise, they can be resolved before they require more costly fixes.

When you dock for the day or night, be sure to wipe them dry. This will prevent mildew and moisture, which are the main causes of most vinyl stains. Make sure to wash and dry them thoroughly every time. Use a high-quality vinyl sealant as often as the instructions recommend in order to help prevent any other microbial formation.

With regard to seat maintenance, you should typically find yourself adhering to a routine. After each time you leave the dock, you should clean and dry the seats. If you won’t be back on the water for 48 to 72 hours or more, you should thoroughly soap down your seats after being in it. You should probably seal your seats once a month if you frequently go boating.

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