If you own a boat, then you are familiar with how harsh the environment can be, especially on your vinyl boat seats. White marine fabric, in particular, can easily discolor, collect grime, and show stains.
However, if you take care of your white boat upholstery and conduct regular maintenance, you can keep it looking brand new year after year. We’ll explain some easy ways to get started below.
How to Clean White Marine Upholstery
Here are some critical tips to help you brighten your white marine fabric and keep it clean for every boating trip.
Regular Wipe Down
Perhaps the simplest way to keep your boat fabric white is to prevent stains from ever occurring. This can be accomplished by regularly wiping the fabric down after each boat trip. Just use a microfiber cloth to gently clean the upholstery. This will not only remove residual sunscreen and salt left from passengers, but it will also remedy other messes that can damage marine-grade vinyl over time.
Use Mild Soap and Water
For general cleaning, a mixture of dish soap (like Dawn) and water can be effective. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach directly on the vinyl, as they can cause discoloration. Instead, use a soft bristle brush to gently scrub away grime and then rinse with clean water. Always air dry the upholstery to prevent mildew build-up.
Tackle Stubborn Stains with Specialized Cleaners
Mild soap and gentle wipe downs are okay for small stains or maintenance. However, when you encounter stubborn stains, we recommend using a proven marine vinyl cleaner or a DIY solution.
Products like Sunbrella® Extract™, IOSSO® water repellent spray, and other mildew stain removers are designed for deep cleaning marine vinyl without causing damage. However, we recommend testing the product on a small, inconspicuous area first before applying it to the entirety of your upholstery.
Protect Against UV Rays
Did you know that prolonged exposure to UV rays can result in faded marine vinyl, awning fabric, and upholstery fabric? Using the right protectant can protect your outdoor fabrics from UV rays, the elements, and everyday wear and tear.
That’s why Aerospace protectant is a popular choice. Not only does it keep your boat in pristine condition, but it also protects your upholstery for the long term.
As the old adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That said, it’s in the best interest of your boat’s fabric to consider the following preventative steps:
- Use boat covers when your boat’s not in use to protect from direct sunlight, rain, and other elements.
- Try not to eat or drink on the boat seats.
- If a spill does happen, clean it up as soon as possible to prevent long-term stains.
- Conduct regular boat maintenance, including cleaning boat seat cushions and awnings.
Taking these steps will help to increase the lifespan of your marine fabrics while lessening the need for deep cleaning.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Do You Whiten Yellowed Boat Seats?
There’s nothing worse than yellow boat fabric. For the most part, it comes from UV exposure or grime. There are many ways to address this problem, and in many cases, it’s recommended that you take one or more of the following steps:
- Clean with mild soap and water to remove surface grime.
- Use a marine vinyl cleaner for deeper stains.
- A paste of baking soda and water can be applied to yellowed areas, then gently scrubbed and rinsed.
Can You Bleach White Boat Seats?
Bleach is a very powerful chemical, which is why it’s not recommended for direct use on marine fabrics, as it can cause damages and permanent discoloration.
However, if it's necessary, then use a heavily diluted solution and rinse thoroughly afterward.
How Do I Make My Boat Vinyl White Again?
Restoring your boats vinyl fabric requires both cleaning and restoring at the same time:
- Clean with a marine vinyl cleaner or mild soap solution.
- Address stubborn stains with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or marine-specific stain remover.
- Apply a marine vinyl protectant to shield and polish the vinyl.
Can I Use Vinegar to Clean Boat Seats?
Yes, a mix of equal parts white vinegar and water can remove mildew and light grime. That’s because the natural acidity of vinegar assists in the breakdown of stains without the need to resort to harsh chemicals. Though, you should remember to rinse the material thoroughly to eliminate any vinegar residue.