Check For And Clean Mold And Mildew
Even with a seat cover, mould and mildew can still grow on boat upholstery. Your ride is in the water most of the time, after all.
You want to get rid of these microorganisms ASAP, as letting them stay there gives them even more time to spread. Thatll make cleaning even more difficult, or worse, almost impossible.
The good news is, you can make your own DIY mould and mildew removers with household items!
For instance, you can mix three parts of white vinegar with two parts of water. Put the mixture into a spray bottle, direct the nozzle at the mould-covered area, and spray away. Leave it for a while before rinsing with warm water.
Baking soda and tea tree oil also work wonders on stubborn stains. All three of them are also natural fungicides, so they can help prevent future growth.
Whichever of these three you use, make sure you dont forget to let the upholstery dry completely lest you want more moulds to deal with.
Start Brushing And Spreading It
Once youve applied a generous amount, take either a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or a small brush to spread the cleaner lightly. I need to emphasize the word lightlythere should be minimal pressure when you start brushing. The goal is to let the cleaner work its magic of eating the mildewand not damaging the vinyl.
Your job is to make sure it gets to where it needs to be. Even so, the brush and Magic Eraser are still necessary because they fulfill their respective functions of dislodging the mildew stains.
Take note: Some people shun Mr. Clean Magic Eraser because its like sandpaper and may damage the covers. If you dont like to use it, you can always opt for the brush.
Removing Mildew From Boat Carpet
I also wanted to share with you a quick tip on how you can also clean up mildew and mold from a boat carpet, where you have fabric flooring rather than vinyl.
The best method I have used in the past is to use a product called Wet and Forget carpet cleaner. Ive used it on my pontoon and also on a house boat and it gives excellent cleaning results.
This spray is a mix of hydrogen peroxide and water, but with some added elements , but it wont bleach the carpet or upholstery. From what I read, this is exactly the same approach that many people used after Hurricane Katrina and it works well on all wet environment applications.
Once you have got rid of the boat carpet mold, you want to treat it to reduce the chances of the mold coming back in the future.
The best mold treatment product I have used is called Mold Control. You can , and then using a cheap water sprayer, place it down on the affected area.
Facebook comments & feedback
After the success of my original article on the best way to clean mildew off boat seats on a pontoon, I asked for some feedback and comments on Facebook. Heres a short selection of that feedback from other boat owners.
I was really grateful when you published the vinyl boat seat cleaning mildew guide. I had tried other method, scrubbed hard, and even pressure washed but with zero results. This works perfectly and I am no longer embarrassed about inviting people on board.
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Cleaning Vinyl Boat Seats
There are few things more frustrating for a boat owner than mildew stains taking over your vinyl seats and comfy cushions. Not only are the black spots unattractive, but they can keep you from enjoying your time on board and even diminish the overall value of your boat. If you catch it early on, removing mold and mildew is fairly simple and can breathe new life into your boat’s interior. Keep reading to check out a few of our top tips for cleaning and maintaining vinyl boat seats on your pontoon boat.
One of the best ways to prevent mold and mildew from appearing on your vinyl seats is to keep up with a regular boat maintenance schedule. Stock your first-aid kit with alcohol wipes that you can grab for quick spot cleaning.
- Make a solution of 1 gallon of water and 1/4 cup of mild soap.
- Use a soft cloth or sponge to wipe the vinyl in a circular motion, avoiding pooling water in the seams.
- Rinse the seats with clean water and a clean cloth to remove excess soap.
Deep cleaning should be addressed whenever you put your boat away for the winter, mid-season and as you bring it back out in the spring.
- After cleaning with a mild soap solution and clean cloth, allow seats to dry completely and apply a vinyl cleaner with a soft-bristled brush or clean cloth.
Removing Deep Stains
Replacing Vinyl Seats
Proper Care for Your Bennington Pontoon Boat
M 09023 Marine Vinyl Cleaner
For an all-in-one solution to your boat vinyl needs, I recommend checking out the 3M Marine Vinyl Cleaner, Conditioner, and Protector. Its a three-in-one formula that can help restore your boats vinyl surfaces to their former glory.
You can rely on this products functionality due to its highly versatile formula. This means that only one bottle is sufficient for all of your vinyl cleaning needs. With this 3-in-1 formula, boat owners can effectively clean, condition, and protect their boats vinyl surfaces in one go.
Its fairly easy to apply on vinyl as well as leather surfaces. Besides, its formula is specially designed to combat the damage caused by exposure to harsh marine conditions. This might be due to its nature as a conditioner and protectant at the same time.
- Its 3-in-1 formula is designed for enhanced convenience and versatility
- Helps restore the natural sheen of my surfaces
- Has an easy to use formula for easier application
- Can also be used on leather surfaces without any worries
- Less effective as a cleaner
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Use 4 Oz Of Laundry Stain Remover Spray
Get a laundry stain remover spray and put 4 oz into the spray bottle.
Using a laundry stain remover spray for the homemade vinyl cleaner will:
- Help remove stains deep in the vinyl: The laundry stain remover spray will help remove the deepest stains from the vinyl.
- Add a scent to the homemade vinyl cleaner: The laundry spray will add a nice scent to the cleaner and have the seats smelling great when cleaned.
- Be kind on the vinyl material: Laundry stain remover will be kind on the vinyl seat material as they have no harsh chemicals.
If you don’t have it at home, you can shop for laundry stain remover spray online.
SummaryUsing laundry stain remover spray as part of a homemade vinyl seat cleaner helps remove tricky stains deep in the vinyl. It will also add a nice scent to the homemade cleaner.
Vinyl Interior And Upholstery Care
The vinyl and interior fabric in your Cobalt boat has been specially selected to take the tough punishment of the elements and hard usage of an active boater. Avoid sharp objects that may cut or tear your vinyl.
NOTICE: This article contains the biocidal product n-octyl isothiazolinone , an antifungal additive used to help maintain appearance, physical properties and prolong the service life of this article.
Care and Cleaning of Vinyl
Most common everyday light soiling can be easily removed by using a solution of 10% liquid household dish soap and 90% warm water, applied with a clean dampened cloth. Rinse with a clean cloth dampened with water and allow to dry. Moderate scrubbing with a soft-bristle brush will help loosen dirt and grime embedded in the grain of the vinyl.
See specific cleaning instructions located in your boat documents bag.
NOTICE: It is extremely important to clean the stained area as quickly as possible, making sure the recommended cleaning steps are followed in order.
Dark Stowage Areas
Often, when a boat is stored completely covered or in a dark building, the vinyl will darken or become dingy looking. If this happens, simply place the boat in direct sunlight for a few hours and the vinyl will brighten up.
For stubborn spots and stains, use a mild non-detergent cleaner such as a bar of Ivory Soap or Amway L.O.C. Apply the soap to a clean, wet sponge, wash, then rinse well. Let air dry naturally.
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Stay Safe When Cleaning Your Boat
Take the proper safety precautions while cleaning your boat. While many boat cleaning products are mild detergents, its a good idea to use rubber or vinyl gloves to protect your hands. Safety goggles are a smart decision to protect your eyes, and kneepads will help reduce fatigue.
As for the cleaning products, always read the labels to find out what its made of, which stains its designed to remove, and how to use it .
Last, because there may be some breathing hazards, make sure to clean your boat in a well-ventilated area. Some polishes and rubbing compounds can be extremely harsh on the lungs, so use breathing protection if youre working in a semi-enclosed space.
Avoid Scratches By Using Microfiber Towels
When it comes to preserving the value of your boat, any scratches or excessive dulling of the exterior can dramatically drop its resale value. And if youre regularly cleaning your boat after each use, tiny scratches can accumulate into deep gouges. Avoid using any abrasive cloths and use microfiber towels instead.
Microfiber towels are a gentle and effective way to clean your boat, enabling you to clean surfaces over and over without degrading the surfaces. Microfiber towels can be used in a variety of ways:
- Buff surfaces to a uniform appearance without scratches
- Remove excess cleaner and wax
- Taking off accumulated grime of your boat
- Getting rid of spills and stains
- Wipes windows streak-free
- And many other uses
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First Things First: What Windows Do You Have
The most primary mistake boat owners make is treating all windows the same. This isnt the case. Many boat windows are made from one of two materials: clear vinyl or acrylic.
- Vinyl boat windows tend to turn more opaque as theyre exposed to the sun. You can tell when a boat owner has been neglectful of these windows if the color has faded and the window gives a lazy or numbed-down appearance. The key here is to avoid evaporation that comes with exposure to the sun, which eliminates many of the plasticizers that helped make the vinyl look great to begin with.
- Acrylic boat windows are lightweight and deliver much of the same strength as plastic. Youll notice that the plastic windshields and port lights almost universally tend to be acrylic. What are the challenges here? Cleaning with friendly chemicals and not wearing the window away. You can do this by using a mild soap in a solution with plenty of water.
Once you know what kind of windows youre dealing with, youll have a better sense of the best practices you need to keep them clean.
What To Do About Stains And Mildew Issues
Stains, whether from accumulated grime or from mildew, often wont come out with standard cleaners. They require special treatment. For stains that have developed over time, try a Magic Eraser. Simply wet one of the pads and gently scrub your seat surface. Youll be surprised just how effective these little sponges are. When youre done, wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth.
For mildew stains, you may need something a little more powerful. But dont use bleach! Bleach will deteriorate the stitching on your seats. It can also fade colors, making your seats look old. The safest way to clean up a mildew problem is to use a mildew stain remover for marine vinyl. Again, each cleaner will have its own set of instructions, but generally, youll follow these steps:
- Clean one seat or section at a time to keep the cleaner from drying out.
- Spray the mildew stain remover onto the stain and allow it to sit for about a minute.
- Gently brush the stain with circular motions.
- Wipe the surface with a clean, damp cloth to remove any remaining traces of cleaner.
- Dry the surface with a clean towel.
At this point, your seats should look much better! While not every stain will come out , you should see a significant improvement.
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How To Clean Marine Vinyl Fabric
So you are here for one of two reasons…
You recently got a boat and you want to keep it in great shape or the more likely option is you have some mildew or stained seats and you want to get it clean without damaging your seats. Today is your lucky day as you have come to an expert for advice.
Lets start with prevention.
You are probably wondering why outdoor marine grade vinyl would mold in the first place. The vinyl is treated to help prevent mold and mildew. The main characteristic that separates Marine Grade Vinyl and regular vinyl is marine grade vinyl has UV protection and is Mold/Mildew resistant.
Guess What The problem isnt with the vinyl!
The real problem is how the material is cared for and cleaned. We are not pointing fingers, but this is usually the #1 reason marine vinyl breaks down.
So now youre probably asking, what is the best way to prevent mold, mildew and those dreaded cracked seats? First off, you need to cover your seats when they are not in use. The sun will damage anything left outside. This is the #1 cause of fading and cracked seats. If you want your boat seats to last, they simply need to be covered. They dont make boat covers because they look nice and are a pain in the butt to roll up. They help protect your boat from those harsh UV rays. Professional Tip make sure your cover has a vent cap to help with air circulation.
So what will stain your seats? Besides the sun, sunscreen, food, drinks, cardboard boxes, leaves, grass, and ink.
How To Make My Vinyl Boat White Again
Aside from the vinyl cleaners that we have listed here, you can clean your boat with a homemade vinyl cleaner by a mix of 1:1 water and white vinegar. However, all vinyl manufacturers warn about using cleaners that have harsh chemicals or acidic may cause damage to the vinyl surfaces and the thread.
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How Do You Clean A Boat After Use
Follow these five steps every time you get back to shore:
How Do You Get Stains Out Of Vinyl Boats
Get the stains out of your vinyl boat seats by wiping a triple-action stain remover or alcohol-based cleaner to the surface. It can eradicate mold and mildew stains from the vinyl surface of your boat seats. Use only products with non-acid cleaning ingredients and avoid using harsh cleaners containing ammonia and bleach. They can easily scrub off or sand down the vinyl material.
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Use Magic Erasers On Stubborn Stains
Magic eraser sponges come with special cleaners inside that are ready to tackle messes that stick. What’s also helpful about them is that you don’t have to scrub too hard to see results, so they make for an excellent relief if you’ve been having trouble with a problem area. All you need to do is get them wet and get to wiping.
Because of their size, too, magic erasers are more likely to be able to fit into any gaps and seams your brush can’t manage to get into because of the size. You may need to take a couple of passes with the eraser to get up all the stains, but you will start to see results.
Like with your brush, you don’t want to scrub too hard with magic erasers since they can potentially cause damage to your vinyl. Take your process easy, and you’ll be in good shape to clean up your remaining mildew mess.
You could start with magic erasers if you like, but you don’t need all that power for all stains. Save them for things you can’t get rid of with the above steps.
Wipe It Off Rinse Then Apply A Uv Protectant
After a few minutes of soft brushing, the mildew should have dislodged to the point that it can easily be wiped off with a clean cloth. Assuming this is what youre seeing, you can do this step. If the stain lingers, you may need to brush it more until youre sure that the stain is taken care of.
Afterward, thoroughly rinse the boat seats to avoid any possibility of the bleach causing damage. To me, its crucial to apply a layer of UV protectant because vinyl seats tend to lose their protection over time. For this, I rely on 303 Aerospace.
I spray it onto a microfiber applicator then spread it out as evenly as possible on the seats. I then wait up to 15 minutes before wiping the seats with a clean towel.
You can view a video of the entire cleaning method here:
Regarding The Possibility Of Damaging Vinyl Seats With Bleach-Based Cleaners
Worrying about bleach solutions damaging your precious vinyl seats? Based on my experience, I dont get this issue if I thoroughly rinse off the bleach from the seats after cleaning.
Im not too sure whether the protectant plays a role here. I guess it does to a certain extent because Ive never had any issues with damaged vinyl seats even when I use the Mr. Clean Magic Cleaner. Many people worry about the threads deteriorating, but I inspect each seat closely every time, and I have never seen such signs of damage.
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