How To Clean Boat Seats (Keep Them Fresh And In Good Condition)

It is vital to clean the seats on your boat.

Imagine inviting someone out for a sail, only for them to be so disgusted by the state of the seats that they remain standing the entire time.

You want people to be talking about your boat for good reasons, not because it is filthy!

We are here to give you all of the best tips for cleaning your boat seats so that everyone wants to come out for a sail.

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What are boat seats made from?

Boat seats are commonly made from marine-grade vinyl.

This is a material that has been treated to be resistant to mold and mildew.

This material is also much more hardy and can withstand harsh outdoor and seaborne conditions. 

Vinyl is given a classification of a certain number of ounces per square foot.

The larger this number, the more heavy-duty the material.

At a minimum, your boat seats should be covered in level 20 vinyl. 

Another material often used on boats is laminated fabric, such as acrylic.

These are treated to be waterproof, UV resistant, and fire and flame resistant too.

They can also have additional properties such as anti-static and anti-bacterial. 

How To Clean Boat Seats

Why is it important to clean your boat seats?

Aside from making a good impression on guests, there are other reasons why cleaning your vinyl boat seats is important.

The seats have to withstand a lot of wear and tear from the continued exposure to the elements and salty seawater. 

Regular cleaning of the boat seats will help to extend their lifespan and will prevent the growth of mold and mildew.

It is wise to wipe down your boat seats after every trip out to sea.

How can you protect your boat seats?

One of the best things that you can do for the health of your seats is to cover them when they are not in use.

The vinyl can crack when exposed to the sun and will also fade quickly.

You can purchase a boat cover from any reputable company to protect the seats and deck with ease.

It is wise to purchase a boat cover with a vent cap to promote healthy air circulation. 

The UV rays from the sun can be very damaging to the material and so it is important to ensure they are protected even when the cover is not on.

There are many specially designed UV protectant sprays for marine seats.

This will likely need to be applied once a month, but check the instructions on your specific product for detailed instructions. 

It is a good idea to wipe up any spills or messes as soon as they appear.

This will prevent stains from developing on the seat fabric.

At least once every 2 weeks, you should use a diluted mixture of dish soap and warm water to wipe down the fabric of your seats. 

How do you perform a regular clean on your boat seats?

On a regular basis, as suggested above, you should clean and wipe down your boat seats.

To do this, you will need a marine vinyl cleaner, towel, 2 damp cloths, and a brush. 

Spray the cleaning product onto the seats and allow it to work for 1 minute.

Gently brush the product in a circular motion using the plastic brush.

Use one of the damp cloths to wipe off the bulk of the cleaning product.

Use the second cloth to wipe off any remnants. 

Use the dry cloth to wipe off any moisture - paying particular attention to the seams.

How do you clean mildew off of boat seats?

The most effective way to clean mildew off of boat seats is through the use of baking soda and white vinegar.

Sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda over the mildew on the seat, and then generously pour over white vinegar. 

Allow it to sit on the seat for at least 4 hours.

When this time has elapsed, grab a large bucket of warm soapy water and a soft-bristled plastic scrubbing brush. 

Gently but firmly scrub the seats to dislodge the mildew and vinegar/baking soda mixture.

Use some clean water to rinse the seats well, using a soft sponge to remove any baking soda residue. 

Use a dry cloth to wipe off any excess liquid. 

How do you clean mold off of boat seats?

Bleach and white vinegar are very effective methods for cleaning mold off of your seat material.

Both of these liquids are very intense and should be diluted with water before you apply them to your seats. 

You should always wipe your seats down with a clean, damp cloth following the use of bleach or vinegar.

Any residual chemicals left on the seat material can cause further damage. 

A good ratio of bleach to water is 1 cup bleach per gallon of water.

Allow it to sit on the seats for about 5 minutes before wiping off. 

How can you spot clean stains?

The most effective method for removing stains from boat seats is through the use of mineral oil.

This is not to be used to clean the entirety of the seat, but only as a spot treatment.

It is particularly effective on old vinyl stains, as well as those caused by grease. 

Mineral oil is a byproduct from the distillery process of petroleum.

It can break down oils without damaging the vinyl fibers. 

Before applying mineral oil to your stain, you should ensure the seat has been cleaned.

Grab a clean and dry cloth and pour on a few drops of mineral oil.

Wipe the stained area of the seat with the cloth. 

If the stain appears very deep, you can apply a few drops of mineral oil to the stain itself.

Allow the mineral oil to sit on the surface for 5 minutes, before washing off.

This process can be repeated several times until the stain has lifted.

You can also use alcohol wipes, magic erasers, and specifically designed marine vinyl cleaning products to remove stains.