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How to Clean White Vinyl Boat Seats? Tips That Will Surprise You!

Fact checked by William Hart

how to clean white vinyl boat seats

White marine furniture can be tough to maintain when exposed to perspiration, weathering, salt water, and fishing gear. If you leave your white seats unnoticed, soon enough, they will become dirty and unsightly.

As simple as they may sound, the four steps below work surprisingly well to clean white vinyl upholstery, including the most stubborn mildew stains.

But you can replace chemical products with household items – namely mild soap, baking soda, and white vinegar.

In my experience, learning how to clean white vinyl boat seats is beyond the proper methods and products. To prevent stains and mold, boat owners must also develop a cleaning routine.

Table of Contents

What You Will Need


Though marine vinyl is the most popular, it is not the only boat seat material. Manufacturers can use canvas and other synthetic leather. Before we begin, check the materials on your vessel. This guide is for cleaning white vinyl boat seats.

Dirty spots might come out of nowhere and spread super quickly on white vinyl chairs. You need to clean them the moment you notice them, or they will become nasty black and orange mold stains. With that said, you will need the following to revive your exquisite white vinyl:

You must avoid harsh cleaning detergents, ammonia solutions, and bleach when cleaning white vinyl. Although these agents don’t affect the color, they will dry out the material and cause cracks.

In addition, spot test before applying the products. Any changes in color, over-dryness, and dullness indicate that the product is unusable. Alternatively, you can clean with a steam cleaner. The equipment can effectively kill viruses and germs without chemicals.

Steps to Clean White Vinyl Boat Seats


Remember to wear rubber gloves, goggles, and other safety clothes as needed, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Step 1. Prep the surface for cleaning

Firstly, remove any stuff on the chairs and wipe off the dust with a clean cloth. You can also vacuum the seats. Then, gently scrub the surface to get rid of any remaining grime. Don’t skip this step, as you might risk rubbing dirt and debris into the material when you apply the cleaner.

Step 2. Clean

Put a generous amount of soap on the cloth and work it all over the surfaces. If your seats are grimy, use a soft bristle brush. When you encounter a tough spot, leave the cleaner on it for five minutes before brushing.

But never press too hard or you will damage the vinyl. We will guide you through a step of stain removal later. Also, be mindful to use cleaner for white vinyl boat seats, any colored products can stain the white fabric.

Now, dampen a cloth and mop up the soap residue. You should repeat until the surfaces are squeaky clean. Dried soap residue will dull the white vinyl.

Step 3. Remove mildew stains

Don’t fret if the black and green dots insist on staying regardless of how hard you scrub. A stain remover and magic sponge will erase the stubborn marks. Follow this procedure to get stains out of vinyl boat seats:

  • Spray the stain remover on the moldy areas.
  • Use a magic eraser sponge to spread it.
  • Let it sit for one to two minutes.
  • Go over the area with the magic eraser. This time, apply more pressure.
  • Wipe off the foam with a clean cloth.

Watch this video for the amazing before and after results:

The combination of stain remover and magic eraser can be harsh on your vinyl covers. Even though I see no signs of damage after using the procedure for four seasons now, I recommend you do a patch test beforehand. So far, this is the method that works best for me. But you can always skip the magic eraser sponge to reduce the cleaning effect.

Step 4. Apply UV protector

Finally, spray UV protector and wipe completely dry with a microfiber cloth. You should apply just enough product to avoid streaks. If streaks occur, quickly clean them with a damp cloth and wipe them dry.

The UV protector will steer clear of the harmful effect of UV rays. It will also repel dust, lint, and odor. The product should save you from struggling to keep the covers white and shiny in the long run.

Can I Clean White Vinyl Boat Seats With Household Items?

If all of the products sound too much for you, you can always clean white vinyl boat seats with baking soda and white vinegar. Follow the instructions below.

  • Step 1. Clean – Mix three parts baking soda and one part water to make a thick paste. Rub the seat covers with this paste to remove dirt and grime. Then, clear it up with a damp cloth.
  • Step 2. Remove stains – Make a solution of one part white vinegar and two parts water (you can add more vinegar for tougher stains). Dip a cloth in the solution and apply it to the moldy areas. Let it sit for several minutes and wipe off the excess. Cleaning vinyl seats with vinegar can also kill bacteria and deodorize.
  • Step 3. Dry – Lastly, sponge any lingering dirt and moisture, and leave the seats to air dry.

Tips to Keep Your Boat Seats Nice and White

Despite the efficiency of vinyl cleaners and mold removers, don’t use them too often. Wash your upholstery only once a season or when needed. Immoderate use of chemicals will damage your white vinyl. So, each time you clean, make sure you do it thoroughly.

Besides, keep these tips to make sure your seats need no excessive cleaning:

  • Don’t leave stuff on your seats. Colorful toys, fishing rods, glasses of wine can all stain and ruin your elegant white seats.
  • Store some alcohol-free wipes on your vessel and clean up the dirt the moment you notice it. Also, wipe off the chairs at the end of every boat trip.
  • Don’t ignore minor damage on the vinyl. A tiny crack that isn’t fixed will become a much larger one in no time.


White vinyl is pretty to look at but requires effort to maintain. We hope you’ll proceed to clean your white vinyl covers right after reading this article. Please don’t leave the soil and stains on your seats for too long that they become unremovable.

Let me know the methods on how to clean white vinyl boat seats that help you most. Does the magic eraser sponge work as well for you as it does for me? And don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Thank you for reading!

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