Boats can be a great investment for any proud boat owner, hence they need to be properly cared for, especially the seats. One way to extend the life of your boat seats is by covering them with vinyl material that is able to withstand the extreme marine environment. However, vinyl seats are susceptible to drying, cracking, and fading with time when exposed to damaging sun rays, dirt, and oils.
Due to that, it’s important to clean your boat seats regularly using marine vinyl cleaners. However, with so many products available in the market, finding the best boat vinyl cleaner can be confusing. In this article, we are going to review some of the best cleaners in the market and a guideline on how to purchase them.
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Best Boat Vinyl Cleaner Reviews of 2023
1. Meguiar’s M5716SP Marine Cleaner
If you are looking for a boat vinyl cleaner that offers ultimate surface protection against fading, dying, or cracking, this product from Meguiar’s is what you need.
One of its interesting features is the UV protection which will enhance the life of your boat vinyl and prevent any fading or cracking. It is made with convenience in mind and offers great cleaning solution while ensuring the protection of the vinyl, as what most boat vinyl protectant reviews mentioned.
This vinyl and rubber cleaner is made of a premium blend of ingredients that offers a great solution for deep cleaning, shine, and protection. What I like most about this boat vinyl cleaner is the fact it leaves a rich, natural sheen compared to most cleaners that leave an artificial or greasy look, making it the best marine vinyl cleaner in the market.
I have tested this marine cleaner and found that it’s very easy to use. All you need to do is spray the cleaner using the spray trigger, brush it with a medium-bristle brush, and wipe it off. You will be surprised how effectively it will remove dirt and grease spot and leave your boat vinyl sparkling clean.
2. Spray Nine Marine Cleaner
Keeping your boat’s vinyl protected in tough environments can be a difficult task. With Spray Nine’s marine cleaner, your once faded and damaged vinyl will look and feel brand new with that natural sheen. The Spray Nine cleaner is an effective multi-purpose cleaner that can be used to clean a variety of boat surfaces such as vinyl, fiberglass, rubber, plastic, canvas, cushions, inflatables, lifejackets, and many more.
Whether you want to remove stubborn stains, yellowing, grease, mold & mildew, bird droppings, algae, or grime, this versatile formula and greaser has you covered. It does all this with ease, thanks to its superior cleaning power.
What I like most about this product is that it acts as a disinfectant and can get rid of germs and bacterial odor with minimal effort. Better yet, it has been rated as the #1 vinyl cleaner by PowerBoat Reports.
3. 303 Products Boat Cleaning Spray
If your worried about stains and yellowing on your boat’s vinyl surfaces, this boat cleaning spray will take care of them for you. The product safely cleans and offers superior protection against harmful UV rays that can cause cracking and drying.
I especially love the fact that it’s made in the US and is safe to use on Eisenglass and Strataglass boat windows, hulls, windshields, interior, and weather enclosures.
Another great feature is that it doesn’t contain any alcohol, making it really safe to use. It also doesn’t contain any bleach, so you don’t have to worry about the cleaner damaging or making your vinyl surfaces dull.
4. 3M Marine Vinyl Cleaner
Is the vinyl in your boat exposed to harsh conditions like UV rays and water? Well, it is time to get that shine back with the 3M Marine vinyl cleaner. You will be amazed by how much this cleaner will protect your vinyl and rubber from harsh conditions while ensuring a deep cleaning ability against stains, mildew, and dirt.
It is extremely versatile and has been designed to be a cleaner, conditioner, and protector all at once. The cleaning agent removes even the toughest stains on vinyl while the conditioner restores the surfaces to give them a new and natural look.
Another feature that caught my attention is its ability to act as an invisible barrier that inhibits the growth of mildew. Mildew stains will no longer become a problem with this marine vinyl cleaner. Apart from removing stains off vinyl, it can also be used on cushions, boat seat covers, boat bumpers, fiberglass, wood, metal, sealed, plastic, tiles, grout, and nylon.
I simply love how easy it is to wipe off dirt and grease with this stain remover. The product works well with a 3M Microfiber Detail cloth which gives you excellent control with little or no mess. I think that this cleaner is the best marine vinyl protectant on the market.
5. Boat Bling Vinyl and Leather Cleaner
Boat Bling is a well-renowned name in the world of boating that offers top-notch detailing products. Designed with versatility in mind, this vinyl cleaner can quickly remove water spots on vinyl surfaces, plastic, fiberglass, as well as painted surfaces.
It does a good job of removing dirt, mildew, oils, and sunblock. Unlike most products, it acts as both a cleaner and blocker and inhibits the growth of mildew and mold stains.
The fact that this vinyl cleaner is made in the US makes it completely safe to use. Also, what I find impressive about this product is that it is non-silicone, bio-degradable, and non-caustic, something that you can’t find with other competing products.
Therefore, it means that it will get the job done without exposing you or your vinyl seats to harmful chemicals or stripping the wax off your vinyl seats. It is no doubt that it is the best boat interior cleaner in the market.
Besides using Boat Bling vinyl cleaner to clean the interior vinyl and leather of your boat, you can use it to remove dirt from RVs, campers, autos, ATVs, watercraft, and many more. Also, it is safe to use on carpets and plastic.
6. Aero Cosmetics Interior Cleaner
Over time, your boat’s vinyl surfaces may begin to fade due to exposure to severe marine environments. Due to that, you need a versatile and effective cleaner like the Aero Cosmetics interior cleaner.
This state-of-the-art formula is designed to enhance the appearance of your boat’s interior parts such as fabric and leather seats, carpets, tray tables, trim panels, galleys, and cockpit. It is one of the few cleaners that work perfectly on all types of interiors. In fact, this is what every boat owner needs to return their boat to its former glory.
7. Star Brite Vinyl Cleaner, Polish and Protectant
One of our favorite protectants is the Star Brite cleaner which is a vinyl cleaner, polish, and protectant in one. Star Brite is highly recognized when it comes to providing great solutions for marine cleaning including the boat hull.
This product uses special polymer coating to protect vinyl surfaces against UV rays and future stains in order to ensure that the surface lasts longer. Its deep-cleaning abilities allow it to remove ground-in dirt that may be a problem for most boat owners.
Once it comes into contact with the stained surface, this easy-to-apply formula enhances the appearance of the vinyl, keeping it in tip-top shape for longer. This makes it the perfect product for the toughest jobs below and above the deck.
I’ve tested it on my vinyl boat seating by spraying it once and wiping it using a soft clean cloth. After that, I allowed it to dry and buffed it, and the result was a visible sheen which I surely loved.
The cleaner will protect and shine your boat vinyl regardless of its color. With the aid of this amazing formulation, your boat’s vinyl will have a soft, supple feel that prevents cracking or drying.
8. 3M Marine Vinyl Cleaner and Restorer
When the vinyl and leather in your boat are exposed to the harsh climate, they are likely to crack and dry out. It is for this reason that 3M produced this marine vinyl cleaner that rejuvenates, protects, and restores vinyl surfaces to give them a fresh, new appearance that will last for a long period of time.
The key to ensuring that your boat’s vinyl surfaces perform well is by cleaning and maintaining them regularly with a reliable vinyl cleaner like this one. When used frequently, you will be able to restore the natural sheen of your vinyl.
The cleaner offers superior clean and protection to plastic and rubber surfaces in just a single step. A special feature of this product is its protective formula which helps treat vinyl parts of your boat which are exposed to damaging sun rays and extreme temperatures.
I love the fact that this boat vinyl cleaner is easy to use – you just need to spray it on the stained areas, wipe it with a cloth, and wipe off for enhanced appearance.
9. BioKleen Multipurpose Vinyl Cleaner
Mold and mildew are some of the most common problems that boat owners face with their vinyl boat seats. Mildew stains may not come out unless you use something more powerful like the Bio Kleen’s Amazing vinyl cleaner.
This product is one of the safest ways to deal with mildew stains and other tough jobs on surfaces such as boat vinyl, canvas, and many more without deteriorating their quality and appearance. You will also be amazed by how this multipurpose vinyl and RV cleaner can effectively eliminate chalk residue on the roofs of rubber RVs.
What I especially love about this cleaner is that it can be used to remove unsightly insect and bug debris on the surfaces in your boat, trailers, or RV. Removing bug or insect debris can be a daunting task when trying to maintain your boat.
However, once you start using this vinyl cleaner, rest assured that insect or bug debris on non-porous surfaces will not become a problem anymore.
10. Star Brite Mold & Mildew Stain Remover
Mold and mildew stains are usually associated with heavy scrubbing, especially when you use standard cleaners. However, this is not the case with this mildew stain remover from Star Brite.
Once it gets into contact with the surface, it can effectively get rid of mildew stains without the need for heavy scrubbing. While it is specially designed to be used on tough marine environments, you can still use it to give your home and RV a new appearance.
Furthermore, this mildew stain remover can be used on vinyl chair, cushions, fiberglass, boat tops, tiles, vinyl canopies, shower curtains, stalls, awnings, mats, and grout. With its triple action, high-alkaline formula, it can easily cut through ground-in dirt, grime, and grease.
I find it exceptional in removing mildew stains on these surfaces in a fast and easy way. Beginners will appreciate how easy it is to use this cleaner since it just requires you to spray it on the dirty surface, let it sit for a few minutes, scrub lightly, and then rinse the surface with a wet cloth.
Basically, with this product, the stains will disappear after 15-30 seconds. However, it is advisable not to rinse the surface until the mildew stain has completely disappeared. If the stains are stubborn, make a second application using the same procedure.
I recommend this product because its special buffed-bleach formula is safe and does not damage vinyl threads or upholstery. It contains surfactants and chelating agents which offer superior cleaning and is a safer alternative to the regular bleach-based cleaners. This makes it safe for marine upholstery and outdoor acrylic fabrics like the Sunbrella brand.
What to Look for When Buying a Boat Vinyl Cleaner
If your boat’s interior and vinyl seats are experiencing mold and mildew stains along with sun fading, then it is time to invest in the right vinyl cleaner to enhance the appearance and value of your boat.
However, finding the right cleaner for your needs can be an intimidating task. To help you with that, I’ve prepared some factors to keep in mind when shopping for your next boat vinyl cleaner:
- Fast-Acting Ingredients
I believe that every boat owner wants a vinyl cleaner that can eliminate stains without having to put in a lot of effort. When shopping for a boat vinyl cleaner, make sure that you check the ingredients of the product and pick one that features fast-acting ingredients.
The reason why I recommend this is because once the cleaner comes into contact with the stained areas, its fast-acting ingredients will remove the dirt quickly and easily without the need for scrubbing.
- Bottle Size
Another thing to keep in mind is the size of the bottle that the cleaning product comes in. Typically, boat vinyl cleaners are quite expensive; therefore, it would be wise to invest in a size that will last you for a long period of time.
For instance, rather than buying the normal 16 oz bottle, opt for a 128 oz bottle and save a substantial amount of money in the long run.
- Safe Formula
While most boat cleaners are designed to remove stains and grease as well as prevent the build-up of mold and mildew, not all of them are safe to use on vinyl materials. Some products contain several bleaching elements which can only damage the vinyl and textile and cause them to break apart.
When vinyl seats and cushions are exposed to bleach and UV rays, they are likely to weaken, thereby reducing their lifespan. For this reason, always check the formula of the boat cleaner product you intend to buy and make sure that it is safe to use on vinyl.
For the best value of money, see to it that the product you acquire can be used on a variety of surfaces apart from your boat’s vinyl seats. The best cleaners for boat vinyl seats are those that can be safely used to clean other surfaces like furniture, carpets, car dashboard, cockpit, and sports equipment among others.
- Ease of Application
Always pick a product that is easy to apply so as to make the whole cleaning process mess-free. While some boat seat cleaner bottles feature a sprayer, others don’t. That said, it’s best to identify the pros and cons of each application and find out which works best for you.
- Pleasant Smell
If you are one of those who want a fresh smell on your vinyl seats right after cleaning, then I recommend choosing a product that leaves a scent of your choice after use. Good news is, there’s a lot of them out there that come with their own variety of scents.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What Is a Boat Vinyl Cleaner?
If you are a boat owner, you probably know that vinyl is an ideal material for boat seats as it is very durable and can do well in almost any weather condition. However, regardless of how durable it is, it can wear down over time when exposed to harmful sun rays, dirt, and oils. Although small, these particles can make the vinyl susceptible to cracking, dying, and fading.
It is for this reason that vinyl cleaners are a favorite cleaning tool for boat owners who want their boat to look its best. A boat vinyl cleaner is specially designed to remove dirt and mildew stains from marine vinyl upholstery fabrics. It offers a convenient one-step method for enhancing the appearance of vinyl both new and old. The best thing about vinyl cleaners is that they offer a protective layer on the vinyl seats to enhance UV protection.
How Does It Work?
A vinyl cleaner is the quickest way to keep your boat seats gleaming clean with little effort. If your boat has mildew, tree sap, or dirt buildup, you need to address them as fast as possible before the vinyl stains.
Typically, vinyl cleaners have a special formulation which is designed to remove any dirt without harming a vinyl’s structure. Most cleaners on the market have their own directions on how you can effectively use them. However, there is a general procedure you want to follow if you want the best way to clean vinyl boat seats.
What the Different Types of Vinyl Cleaners?
There are different types of boat care products in the market. The first type of vinyl cleaners are the standard cleaners which are used to get rid of dirt, dust, grime, and grease. The other type is mildew stain remover which is formulated to eliminate mildew stains that have developed over time.
Keep in mind that mildew removers are more powerful than the standard cleaners, hence if there’s a buildup of mildew in your boat seats, you should invest in them instead.
Why Do You Need a Vinyl Cleaner for Your Boat?
There are plenty of benefits that you can enjoy from using a vinyl boat cleaner. They’re as follows:
- Offers UV Protection
Just like how we need UV protection on our own skins, vinyl also is susceptible to damage brought on by exposure to sun rays. Unfortunately, many boat owners are not aware of this, and most of them tend to expose their vinyl seats to harsh sun rays which only end up drying out the vinyl and reducing its lifespan over time.
Vinyl boat cleaners feature UV protectant that protects your seats from extended exposure to sun rays and from aging very quickly.
- Enhances Vinyl Appearance
Due to the tough marine environment, boats become prone to mold and mildew buildup. Aside from that, they are constantly exposed to salt water and organic matter that may damage their appearance. By using a good boat vinyl cleaner, you will be able to preserve and even improve the appearance of your vinyl seats for years to come.
Most boat vinyl cleaners are designed to be used on a variety of surfaces both on the interior and exterior of the boat. Besides cleaning your vinyl boat seats, they can be used to safely clean automotive car interiors, furniture, home carpets, bathroom tiles, tub mats, and many more.
- Dual Purpose
Most boat vinyl cleaners serve different purposes at the same time. These products can be used as cleaners to clean stained areas, conditioners to make the vinyl supple, and as protectants to protect the surface against UV rays and staining.
- Color Restoration
If your boat’s vinyl seat lost its color due to elements like dirt, grime, and sun rays, you’ll be surprised to know that a boat cleaner can help restore it to its original color. After all, such cleaners are designed to prevent fading caused by UV exposure and restore your boat vinyl’s lost color.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the most trusted marine upholstery brand names?
A: Nowadays, there are so many brands of marine upholstery that produce vinyl cleaners. The most reliable ones include:
- Star Brite – Star Brite is a leading manufacturer and is one of the world’s largest brands when it comes to marine cleaning chemicals. Star Brite understands the importance of having your boat vinyl seats looking nothing but the best. For this reason, they offer a wide range of boat cleaning products including vinyl cleaners to make cleaning your boat a breeze.
- 3M – 3M is yet another highly trusted brand that produces some of the best boat upholstery cleaners in the market. Their cleaners will help you thoroughly clean your boat’s upholstery and vinyl and keep them protected for months. Their fast cleaning formula ensures that the vinyl is protected even in tough marine environments.
- Meguiar’s – Meguiar’s is a famous manufacturer of marine, RV, and car maintenance products. The company has been around since 1901 and has been providing exceptional marine/RV care products suitable for boat owners of all kinds. Meguiar’s has several marine care products such as vinyl and rubber cleaners, classic marine cleaners, and gel wash. Their state-of-art vinyl and rubber cleaners are made of premium ingredients that will leave a clean look and natural sheen on your vinyl.
- 303 Products – with a brand like 303 Products, you can be assured that your boat will shine and look as good as new. This brand is renowned to have all the solutions when it comes to vinyl maintenance which can counteract the harmful conditions of the salt water. Unlike most of its competitors, 303 Products offers cleaners that act both as a cleaner and blocker for preventing the reoccurrence of mold and mildew stains.
Q: How do I use a vinyl cleaner?
A: While you may be tempted to spray harsh chemicals or bleach on your boat’s interior seats, this will actually do more harm than good. Instead, what you need is the best boat seat cleaner that is designed for cleaning boat seats. If you are wondering how you can remove grease, mold, and mildew from your vinyl seats, here are some useful steps you want to follow:
- Divide the section of the seats you intend to work on so that the cleaner doesn’t dry out on the surface.
- Spray the cleaner of your choice onto the seat or vinyl surface and let it sit for a few minutes.
- Use a soft-bristled brush or soft cloth to rub in the cleaner in a circular motion. If you have a superior cleaner, you won’t need to do a lot of scrubbing or brushing.
- Once the grime begins to loosen from the surface, wipe it away using a clean, damp cloth.
- Use another clean cloth to wipe off the surface to remove any traces of the cleaner.
- Wipe the seats dry using a clean cloth.
If you want to remove mildew stains or accumulated grime, I would recommend using something that is more powerful like a mildew stain remover. For this one, follow the steps below:
- Spray the mildew stain remover on the area where the stain is and let it sit for some minutes.
- After that, brush the cleaner with a brush in an even circular motion and wipe the surface with a clean, damp cloth.
- Once you have removed the traces of the cleaner, use another clean towel to dry the surface.
It is important to clean the surfaces first with water in order to remove loose dirt and dust particles. This will help prepare the surface before you introduce the vinyl cleaner.
Q: How do I clean my boat’s vinyl?
A: If you are a boat owner, you know how distressing it can get when your vinyl boat seats get dirty or stained. While these seats are designed to endure harsh marine environments, they still need proper care and maintenance as the dirt and mildew they accumulate over time can cause them to deteriorate.
Cleaning vinyl boat seats regularly will enhance their performance and preserve their appearance. In order to clean your vinyl seats the right way, simply follow these steps:
- Begin by checking the type of your vinyl, as different grades of vinyl have different characteristics and purposes. For instance, there are certain marine grade vinyls that are designed with perforation. Once you know your vinyl type, it will be easier to clean.
- Doing regular cleaning on your vinyl seats is the perfect way to keep them looking new and increase their useful life. To start, simply make a solution of 1/4 cup of mild soap and 1 gallon of water.
- After that, dip a sponge or soft cloth into the solution and wipe the vinyl seats in an even circular motion.
- To rinse the seats, use clean water and cloth.
- In some cases, deep cleaning is necessary when you bring out your boat after storing it during winter.
- After following the routine cleaning procedure, allow the seats to dry and then apply a marine vinyl cleaner of your choice.
- Rub it into the vinyl using a soft bristled brush or clean cloth in an even overlapping circular motion.
- After that, use a clean damp cloth to remove any excess cleaner. This will leave your vinyl boat seats sparkling clean.
Q: Where can I buy a cleaner?
A: Just like any other cleaning product, you have to purchase your boat vinyl cleaner from a reputable and reliable supplier. There are plenty of online shops where you can buy your vinyl cleaners. However, not all of them are reliable.
Therefore, I recommend you make a research on different suppliers first before making any buying decision.
A great website for purchasing the best marine vinyl cleaning products is Amazon. Amazon is a trusted supplier that offers a wide range of products from leading brands like Star Brite, 3M, Meguiar’s, Sudbury, and many more.
From mildew stain removers to vinyl protectants, Amazon has the perfect solution for all your marine cleaning and maintenance problems.
Nothing will degrade and age your boat faster than a faded, dirty, stained, and cracked vinyl. While you can care for your vinyl through routine maintenance using water, the best boat vinyl cleaner is way more effective at eliminating dirt, mold, and mildew. If you are thinking about keeping your boat in its best shape, consider using any of the vinyl cleaners I’ve mentioned above.
These boat cleaner products will help prevent dirt buildup, allowing you to save hours of cleaning the interior parts of your boat. Each of these products is well-recognized in the boating market and has been recommended by most users when it comes to vinyl cleaning. You can, therefore, choose them with confidence while taking into consideration the above buying guide.
I am Dave, Marine Talk’s content creator. Boating experiences matter when planning a boat trip for your family or going by yourself. Therefore, I am here to tackle all things relevant to boating so even the inexperienced ones can start their boating safely.