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How to Clean Your Boat Vinyl

Vinyl tends to be very popular in today’s world and can be found pretty much anywhere on a boat; boat seats, interior furnishings, upholstery and so forth. This petroleum-based plastic is popular thanks to its strength and resistance to dirt, soil and water – hence making it a great material to use. However, boat maintenance always should include cleaning your vinyl on a regular basis.

Vinyl is a very durable material, but it can also be hard to clean when things get dirty. The good news is that vinyl is relatively easy to clean and maintain.

Here are some tips on how to keep your vinyl in tip-top shape:

Get rid of the dirt

Start off by getting rid of any dust, residue, or general dirt on the fabric. Give the area a good vacuum cleaner and make sure to reach every nook and cranny, lift those seat covers and clean in between all the joints.


A standard dishwashing liquid and water will do the trick as it is not so harsh on the vinyl fabric. Using a clean cloth or non-abrasive sponge then start cleaning away any grime, stains, grease etc. If this maintenance is done on a regular basis then it will avoid any long-lasting damage to the fabric.

Be gentle

Don’t use any products that are too harsh or abrasive, some cleaning solvents will actually do more harm. Check the proper use of the product before applying it to your vinyl surfaces otherwise you will risk discolouring your fabric. If you have any doubts on the cleaning solvent then choose a small section that is not readily visible and test it out; this will minimise the damage.

Remove stubborn stains

Here’s a big tip – you know those irritating stains that won’t budge such as ink marks, well they can actually be removed by rubbing alcohol or interestingly hair spray. Another tip is to use a 10% bleach and 90% water solution to remove stubborn stains like blood. Again test it out on a section of your fabric that is not clearly visible.

Don't Use Hot Water on Your Boat Vinyl

Never use hot water on your boat's vinyl. It could damage the material, which could result in expensive repairs and replacement. If you use hot water for cleaning purposes, make sure that you dry it off quickly before allowing it to cool down again.

Prevent Mold/Mildew

Vinyl fabric seats are vulnerable to mold and mildew due to constant water exposure whether it’s from the natural elements or those pesky kids with wet bathers. To best maintain the vinyl fabric, try to remove excess moisture by wiping everything down after a day out on the boat, and try to avoid storing your boat in damp areas.

Boat maintenance can be time-consuming and troublesome, but regularly including a little bit of time on your boat vinyl will help keep it in tip-top condition.

We just hope that now we've shared our tips on how to accomplish this task, you'll be able to enjoy your boat and its vinyl seats for many years to come.

And if you have a boat job and are looking for a boat service provider, you can find one in our Technical Services Marketplace, BASCO BoatAssist.

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