Cleaning Mildew Off Vinyl Boat Seats

Cleaning Mildew Off Vinyl Boat Seats

How to Remove Mildew from Vinyl Boat Seats

Mildew covered vinyl is a nightmare that many boaters face. Being such a popular issue, a lot of boaters have developed their own methods to clean the mildew off their vinyl boat seats. There are certain methods that are more effective than others, and some are even damaging to the seats. We hope to steer those of you with mildew covered boat seats in the right direction to properly care and maintain your vinyl to get the longest possible life out of your seats.

One important factor to note, once mildew has already begun growing on your seats, you can only apply temporary solutions. This is because the mildew does not limit itself to the exterior of your vinyl. It will seep into the upholstery and grow on the knit or fuzzy backing of the vinyl, as well as the foam underneath. It will always be recommended to address any mildew spots on the seats sooner rather than later.

If the Mildew spots on your boat seats are mild, you may be able to get away with a mixture of homemade cleaner. Here is how to make homemade vinyl boat seat cleaner:

  • 1 Cup of white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • Small amount of dish soap 

Apply the mixture to your mildew spots and let it sit for 1-5 hours. It is important to allow the cleaner to work on its own first to loosen the mildew from the vinyl. When the time is up, apply a small amount of the homemade vinyl cleaner and scrub lightly at the spots. It is tempting to apply heavy pressure if you are not seeing any immediate results, however, if you are rough with the vinyl upholstery, it can crack. It is recommended that you use a soft microfiber cloth or a magic eraser. When the mildew spots are gone, rinse the area with warm water and apply an aerospace protectant on the entire seat. Most cleaning products will dry out the vinyl, so it is important to hydrate the material and protect it from the UV rays at the same time. 

If the mildew spots are unaffected by the homemade solution, there are heavy duty vinyl cleaners by companies like Presta that will take off any Mildew stains and general stains that are willing to come off. We recommend avoiding products with bleach as they are known to cause damage to the stitching overtime. Products like RMR-86 have impressive results but does contain bleach. If the boat seats have not been cleaned in some time, and are mildew covered, RMR-86 would be worth looking into for an initial clean.

As stated before, there is a point of no return when it comes to Mildew spots on vinyl boat seats. If all the above cleaning methods are not effective, looking for new boat seats will be the next avenue to explore. Here you can view our selection of boats seats from Captains/helm Seats, Folding Fishing Seats, Bench Seats, and more!