How To Clean Boat Seats: Dos and Don'ts

How To Clean Boat Seats: Dos and Don'ts

You’ve got a beautiful boat and you want to make sure you’re cleaning it the right way. Boat seats are probably the most delicate part when it comes to cleaning. You can’t afford to ruin their look. One thing is for sure: your boat deserves to be cared for and cleaned.

Even if your boat seats are stained or have some mildew, it’s important for you to use the right cleaning practices to get rid of them without damaging the outer surface. After all, you want to maintain your boat in a way that keeps looking new.

People usually use anti-fungal and anti-stain products to clean modern marine vinyl. These products are good at keeping the mold and mildew away from the seats. However, the wrong way of cleaning seats can allow contaminants to stick to the vinyl. Worst-case scenario, harsh cleaning solutions can lead to scrubs and damages.

So how to clean boat seats the right way? In this post, we’ll first talk about some of the best seat cleaning techniques and then highlight what you shouldn't do to protect them.

Do’s of Cleaning Boat Seats

Before you start cleaning your boat seats, learn about some basic preventive measures that eradicate the need for deep cleaning in the first place. For example, covering your seats when they’re not in use will keep them protected against sunlight. If your seats are cracking or fading, it is probably due to sunlight exposure.

Most of us don’t like to use covers because it sounds boring to roll up and we end up having UV rays destroy the aesthetics of boat seats. On top of this, badly maintained boat seats cause an unpleasant odor. Here is what you should do:

Read Your Manufacturer’s Instructions

    Boat and seats manufacturing companies use all kinds of materials these days. Therefore, the right care and maintenance methods really depend on what kind of material the manufacturer has used. Make sure to read the maintenance manual to get some special cleaning tips and tricks.

    For instance, your manufacturer might have some suggestions regarding cleaning products or how you should get rid of hard-to-clean areas.

    Take Cushions Off Before Cleaning

      Do your boat seats come with removable cushions? If yes, remove them before you start cleaning. Clean the cushions separately. Don’t forget to clean the underside and back of the cushions.

      Use Delicate, Soft Cleaning Tools

        You understand that your boat seats are sensitive. So, it’s critical to only use soft clothes or soft-bristled brushes to clean vinyl seats to make sure they last for years to come.

        Use Distilled Water and Mild Dish Soap

          Your safest bet is to use distilled water to wipe the seats down gently. Once done, use a soft and clean cloth to dry them. This method will work if your seats aren’t stained or not too dirty to be cleaned with simple water. If it doesn’t work well, try some soapy water.

          However, make sure not to use any chemical-based soaps. If you feel your seats aren’t properly cleaned, mix a small amount of mild dish soap with warm water to prepare a slightly strong solution. Now take a really soft brush or a piece of cloth to scrub the seats.

          It would be a good idea if you perform the cleaning somewhere outside where you can easily rinse boat seats with a damp cloth and wipe across the surface.

          Try a Vinyl Cleaner

            If you’re still unable to remove stains, then consider using a good quality vinyl cleaner. How you should clean boat seats with a vinyl cleaner really depends on what product you choose. Nonetheless, a general process starts with wiping the seats down with a slightly wet rag.

            And then you can apply the cleaner to a new rag and gently wipe across the surface of the seats. Don’t use a vinyl cleaner if your seats are made of a different material. You can also try a mix of bleach and water to get rid of tough stains. However, test this solution on a hidden area to see whether or not it’s safe for your seats.

            Try All-Natural Spray

              Azuna has developed a natural cleanser that you can use to remove odor and clean boat surfaces. Since this product is made of natural and pure ingredients, you can spray it directly on your seats to clean vinyl.

              The good thing about this product is that it contains natural, anti-microbial elements such as tea tree oil and other essential oils that last long and keep your surfaces protected.

              You can also try our Room Odor Eliminator under hatches, in cabin areas or in underdeck storage to provide constant freshness on your boat. These can also be very beneficial when storing your boat for the season, pop a few under the cover to open up a fresh smelling boat in the spring.

              Maintain Your Boat Seats

              We’ve discussed how to clean boat seats. Let’s see what you can do to maintain a clean boat. You have to invest your precious time into cleaning your boat. Once properly cleaned, be sure to maintain that shine. Here are some tips on how you can care for your vinyl seats:

              • Most people use boats occasionally. If you’re one of them, don’t forget to cover your vinyl seats using a clean white cloth. It will protect seats against dust and sunlight.

              • Consider placing your vinyl cushions in a dry and cool space. You don’t want them to grow moldy. Do you? It wouldn’t be a good idea to store them in a basement or in a humid room.

              • Keep your seats away from excessive heat to prevent your vinyl seats from cracking.

              • Clean your boat seats regularly. Do something to clean your seats as soon as you see a stain or grime. The more you delay cleaning, the harder it will be to remove stains.

              Don'ts of Boat Seat Cleaning

              You can try a variety of cleaning techniques to clean your boat seats. However, there are certain techniques or tools that you shouldn’t try on your vinyl seats. Here are some don’ts of boat cleaning.

              Do Not Use Harsh Cleaning Products

                Boat seats are usually made of tough vinyl material that can withstand the marine environment. The vinyl itself is a reliable material and is used widely in cars and interior furniture production. But you shouldn’t use a tough cleaning product to remove mold and stains as it can damage vinyl.

                For example, undiluted bleach can weaken and break down vinyl if used often. Likewise, you should avoid using cleaning solutions that contain waxes, solvents, acid-based cleaning agents, detergents, and silicone oils.

                Don’t Let Vinyl Seats Air Dry

                  We often let many household items air dry. It’s recommended not to do so in case of boat seats. After you wash your boat seats, wipe them down until the surface is completely dry. Moisture is susceptible to humidity and it can grow into mildew.

                  Don’t Use Bleach

                    It sounds like a great idea to have a powerful cleaner like bleach to quickly remove mildew and other buildups from your seats. Well, those cleaners will surely kill the mold. At the same time, they can damage your seats. Don’t end up replacing your old seats with new ones.

                    Don’t Skip Cleaning

                      Your life is busy and cleaning your boat is probably the last thing on your to-do list. No matter the situation, find some time to maintain your lovely boat. Skipping cleaning will ultimately lead you to either spend too much time on cleaning or replace your seats.

                      Don’t Use Products Not Manufactured for Marine Applications

                        You can’t use any cleaner as a proper marine upholstery cleaner.

                        Don’t Leave Anything on Boat Seats

                          It’s not a good idea to leave items like food, sunscreen, and drinks on boat seats. It might sound unrealistic but it’s important to wipe the seats after every use. If you don’t have time to clean boat seats after every use, clear all the visible items.

                          It doesn't take much time to prepare a mix of mild soap and warm water and wipe your seats. Keeping valuable products like Azuna’s All-Natural Spray is probably the easiest cleaning solution for your seat boats. Just spray and wipe your boat seats with a soft cloth.

                          Don’t Cover a Wet Boat

                            Covering wet seats or boats with something can create a perfect breeding ground for mold. Don’t let moisture get trapped inside the cover. Consider installing vents in your boat covers. This will allow air to circulate and dry out all the moisture on seat surfaces.

                            Time To Get Cleaning

                            The secret lies in keeping your boat seats neat and clean all the time. Clean the dirt and other contaminants before they develop into nasty mildew or mold. We know how mold and other such buildups grow into cushions and vinyl and eventually turn into something impossible to get rid of.

                            If you can’t keep your boat in an indoor, controlled environment, clean your boat once a week. Rinse down seats after every use even if they look clean. Some elements such as sweat or bug repellent may not be visible but they need to be cleaned.

                            We hope these dos and don’ts of cleaning boat seats will help you keep your boat in great shape. Don’t forget to try out our All-Natural Spray which is a simple, natural, and highly effective surface cleaner. Let’s add pleasant smell and freshness to your dull-looking and dirty boat seats!


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