Most boat seats are upholstered with marine grade vinyl (only camo seats use a different material). Vinyl is a great material. It is durable, scuff resistant, holds its color well, and holds up to water. Despite all the benefits of vinyl, with time and use vinyl boat seats will eventually wear out.
Regular cleaning will both extend the life of your boat seats and keep them looking new. After using your boat or when preparing to store it you should take a couple minutes to wipe down the boat furniture.
We recommend using a commercial marine vinyl cleaner on your boat. These commercial cleaners are specifically designed to clean tough stains, protect, condition and/or restore vinyl.
It can be tempting to try and save some money by using a household cleaner instead of purchasing a special vinyl cleaner. Don’t give in to this temptation or you’ll probably end up doing more harm than good.
Household cleaners often contain solutions that will damage vinyl. Bleach and other chlorine based cleaners are too strong and they end up removing layers of finish on the vinyl. When the finish layers are removed it makes the material more vulnerable and causes it to break down more quickly with normal use. Don’t use acetone or kerosene to clean (it will also remove the finish layers). Don’t use silicone or petroleum based cleaners (they will make the vinyl hard and brittle).
If you have just run out of your favorite vinyl cleaner and need a cleaning solution for your seats in a pinch you can use a mild dish soap like Dawn mixed with warm water.
Cleaning your vinyl seats is a simple process that should only take a few minutes. Each cleaner may have its own specific instructions, but the general process is as follows:
- Spray a damp rag with the vinyl cleaner
- Wipe down all the vinyl surfaces in your boat
- Use the back of the rag or a new rag to remove any excess cleaner and dry the vinyl
Regularly cleaning boat seats is a great way to keep the boat looking new. It is fast and easy with the right products and will protect your seats for years to come.