Vinyl Boat Seat Cleaning and Conditioning Tips

Spring is in full swing, which means that warm, sunny days are just around the corner. While there is plenty to look forward to, as a boater, there’s likely nothing you love more than getting out on the water.

If you’re eager for the upcoming boating season and are ready to freshen up your boat seats, these vinyl cleaning and conditioning tips will help you do just that.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Cleaning Vinyl Boat Seats

Whether you’d like to tackle mildew or simply freshen up white vinyl, there are specific measures you should take when aiming to clean vinyl boat seats.

Cleaning white vinyl

You need to be very careful when addressing white vinyl — either opt for a solution of warm water and mild soap, or a cleaner that is specifically made for this purpose. If you’re trying to remove stubborn, heavy stains, 303 Multi-Surface Cleaner is an optimal choice. Avoid using bleach as discussed below.

Clean white vinyl boat seats are something that most boat owners want, and 303 Multi-Surface Cleaner can help you achieve.

Tip: Once you’ve cleaned your seats, apply a protectant to keep your seats looking new all season long.

Removing yellowing from vinyl

When you’re cleaning your boat interior, one of the most frustrating issues can be the yellowing of vinyl. To tackle this issue, you’ll want to use a vinyl cleaner that is specifically made for this purpose. Although some resources suggest using ammonia, this can damage the material.

Use a cleaner that is designed to safely clean and protect against future yellowing. The same is true for cracking. For both of these issues, 303 Clear Vinyl Protective Cleaner is your best bet. It also provides superior UV protection as an added bonus.

Getting rid of mildew

A buildup of mildew is not only unsightly — it can actually end up reducing the value of your boat. Unfortunately, mildew is a fungus. In order to kill the spores, you’ll need to use a fairly strong disinfectant. To start, mix a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar.

Although this quick and easy solution will address current mildew stains, it will not prevent stains from reoccurring. In order to take more effective proactive measures, you’ll want to invest in a mold and mildew stain cleaner that also acts as a stain blocker. We recommend 303 Mold & Mildew Cleaner + Blocker.

Can I Use Bleach on Vinyl?

Although it may be tempting to use bleach, this whitening agent can dry out and in turn, damage vinyl. While some recommend a diluted solution of water and bleach, there are plenty of products that are far superior — reducing your risk of damage and potentially needing to reupholster.

The same is true with any other harsh compound, including but not limited to concentrated detergents, waxes, dry cleaning fluids, solvents, and acid-based cleaners.

Using bleach on vinyl boat seats could actually end up damaging and drying out the vinyl material.

Regardless of the issue, it’s best to check your vinyl seats’ maintenance instructions. That way, you’ll gain insight into suggested best practices moving forward. If your seats are removable, take them off so that you can clean them more effectively — and always use soft cleaning tools.

It’s best to have soft-bristled brushes handy, as well as some spare sponges and/or dishcloths. This will reduce the risk of damage.

When in doubt, always opt for a specialized cleaner. For all of your marine needs, regardless of the application, there are effective products.

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