How To Clean White & Other Color Vinyl Boat Seats [UPDATED]

Having joyous rides on boats is a fantasy to many. However, if you are one of the lucky ones, it comes true for your everyday!

We spend many memorable moments on these boats - be it fishing with family, partying with friends or an exciting wedding! In all these scenarios, it is important to keep your boat seats clean and crisp, because who would want to sit back and relax on a dirty seat!

That is why you need to know some cleaning tricks for keeping the beauty of your boat intact. Keep reading to know all about how to clean white vinyl boat seats and maintain them as well.

Cleaning White Vinyl Boat Seats In Different Ways

Vinegar Method

The first homemade cleaning solution for white vinyl boat seats comes as no surprise. It is the well-known powerhouse of getting rid of dirt - vinegar!

Although this element alone is often enough to clean dirty spots, it may need some help from other agents to do its job right on vinyl seats. This happens since vinyl is a pretty sensitive material that needs a little extra care. Besides, no one would like to mess up an expensive purchase like it.

To prepare the cleaning mixture, combine white vinegar and warm water in the ratio of 1:2. This proportion is important if the seats are white in color. Including warm water will help you to retain the original shine of these seats. Then add two tablespoons of the liquid dish soap you prefer the most.

You can pour this mixture into a spraying bottle and spritz it on the seats. Alternatively, you can absorb some of the mixture on a clean washcloth and use it to scrub the dirt off your boat seats.

Baking Soda

There are two ways to go about this. The first one aims at cleaning the whole seat and leaving no spot behind. For this cleaning solution, all you will need is some baking soda and a clean towel. Sprinkle some baking soda on the towel and rub it on the vinyl surface. This will get rid of all the debris accumulated on seats.

The second approach of cleaning with baking soda targets specific grimy spots on the seat. This cleaning paste comprises of 3 portions of baking soda, 1 portion of water and 5 to 10 drops of liquid dish soap. Apply a bit of this paste on the target spot. Then use a clean washcloth to scrub off the stain.

When the stain goes away, clean up that area with another cloth soaked in warm water. Doing so will make the seats brighter than before.

Club Soda

Another easily available item to clean up dirty white vinyl boat seats is club soda. Often used as a drinking mixture, this transparent solution can solve your cleaning problems as well. Especially in case of cleaning particular spots, club soda has proved to be very effective.

You can use it by taking some soda on a clean piece of cloth and then rubbing off the spot stain with that rag. For cleaning the area deeper, you can mix club soda with warm water, dish soap and vinegar.


This is one of the trickiest cleaning mixtures to use because of its chemical elements and precise measurements. So we would not recommend going for it unless all other methods have failed. Remember that this solution is meant for the most stubborn stains.

To make this cleaning mixture, take ¾ cup distilled water at first. Now add 1 tablespoon of ammonia and ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide. Now dip a sponge or a brush with soft bristles to take some of the mixture. Apply it on the stain and scrub the spot to remove the marks.

When the area is cleared, take a dry washcloth and use it to wipe off the residual from the surface. Don’t use this mixture on a regular basis on the vinyl seats. Otherwise, their material quality will deteriorate significantly.


Along with making your boat parties more “lit”, alcohol can also keep its vinyl seats clean. However, this process will need constant supervision since leaving alcohol on vinyl longer than necessary can damage the material.

Just take some of the alcohol on a clean piece of cloth and wipe off the stain. It works best on deep stains, mold and mildew. To save time, you can invest in readymade alcohol wipes instead.

Warm Soapy Water

If you don’t want any complication or layers of mixtures, just go for the good old soapy water. Take a gallon of water and mix in a quarter cup of mild soap. Apply it on the seats by wiping with a soft clean cloth or a sponge in circular motion.

When the area is clear, get rid of the residual by rinsing with clean water. Use another clean cloth to erase any excess soap.

How To Clean Vinyl Boat Seats With Different Problems

How To Clean Mold Off Vinyl Boat Seats

Although vinyl seats used in marine areas are designed to prevent mold, they can still be the victim of some growth over time. This happens when moisture passes through its cover due to the atmosphere or constant contact with sweat.

It is better to use a commercial cleaner like CLR for cleaning molds since such mold tends to be deep and stubborn. Spray it on the seats with a soft brush and scrub off the mold buildups. Then wipe off the leftovers with a clean microfiber washcloth.

How To Clean Vinyl Boat Seats Of Mildew

Mildew can definitely lower your boat’s appeal and value. Additionally, leaving this fungus undisturbed for a long time can damage the material. It tends to penetrate the cushions after prolonged exposures. So get rid of it as soon as possible with a strong disinfectant.

You can make one yourself with white vinegar and water. Mix these two in equal portions to clean up mildew stains. However, you may need to resort to commercial cleaners for preventing the stains from coming back.

How To Clean Sticky Vinyl Boat Seats

Vinyl is prone to forming some oily substance over time. These grimy sticky residuals can render the seats useless. However, the good news is cleaning up sticky vinyl boat seats is a fairly simple job. All you need is some vinegar and a clean cloth.

Soak the cloth in pure white vinegar and wipe the sticky area with it. If the stain still persists, use a lubricating oil and dab onto the spot. Wipe away again to clean up the residue.

How To Clean Tree Sap Stains Off Vinyl Boat Seats

We love being in the shade of trees to stay safe from the scorching sun, especially during an adventurous boat ride. However, tree sap can land on the boat’s white vinyl seats and sink into them. Alternatively, the exposure to sunlight can melt it into the fabric.

If you have spotted tree sap stains on your boat seats, get a citrus-based cleaner to remove it right away. For a stronger solution, go for methyl hydrate. Before using either of them directly on the surface, apply a little on an inconspicuous area and see how it reacts to vinyl.

You can prepare such a cleaner at home too but it will need some tricky ingredients. For making a tree sap stain cleaning solution at home, you can use isopropyl alcohol, enzyme digester or vegetable glycerin.

Get rid of older or dried tree sap stains by applying vegetable glycerin on it. This will soften the stain and make it loose enough to wipe away with a cloth. Follow the same method to use isopropyl alcohol on any stained mark on the seats.

For the last cleaner, find an enzyme digester from the pet aisle of a market. Spray it on the stain and let it dry. The enzyme digester will eat up this organic stain.

How To Remove Rubber Feet Marks From Vinyl Boat Seats

These marks form on the boat seats from dark rubber shoe soles. Remove them with either mineral spirits or WD-40 cleaner. Take some of the preferred cleaning solution on a washcloth and gently rub it on the marks. If the stains are too stubborn, leave the wet cloth on them for a while.

When the marks are gone, rinse the area with soapy water so that any residue doesn’t stay behind. To prevent marks from building up in the future, consider applying a vinyl protectant here.

Tips And Cautions While Cleaning White Vinyl Boat Seats


Cleaning solutions are meant for getting rid of moist or grimy buildups. So before beginning the cleaning process, make sure the surface is free from dry debris. Use a vacuum cleaner on it if possible to remove such debris. This will make the seats ready for the homemade or commercial liquid cleaner.

Accurate Measurements

Since vinyl is a fairly sensitive material, it is important to take the measurements of cleaning ingredients accurately. Especially if the solution requires tricky chemicals like methyl hydrate, isopropyl alcohol or enzyme digester.

Be aware of the correct amounts while preparing such cleaning solutions, as well as when applying them. Don’t be too harsh with the scrubs either since it can ruin vinyl’s texture. Wrong measurements and rough scrubbing can both damage the material.

No Bleach

Bleach is a popular element when it comes to cleaning. However, you should never use bleach to clean white vinyl seats. It can effectively get rid of mold, mildew and similar dirt from the seats. However, it can also go on to eroding the vinyl surface.

This powerful cleaner can destroy the vinyl threads leaving a very unpleasant appearance. You may need to get brand new seats because of such consequences. Besides, regular use of bleach will make the vinyl supple over time. So refrain from using bleach on your beautiful vinyl boat seats.

Marine Life

The marine life all over the world is already facing a hard time due to global warming and environmental pollution. So remember to do your part by making sure that none of the cleaning solution or its residue reaches the water surrounding your boat. Even its smallest amount can harm marine lives.

Special Tip- How To Prevent Mildew On Vinyl Boat Seats And Maintain Them?

Say No To Wet Areas

Keep the vinyl seat cushions away from the wet areas on the boat. This will prevent mold and mildew from forming on their surface. Let the fabric of these seats breathe freely in a dry comfortable place. It is also a good idea to keep it safe from scorching sunlight to maintain fresh quality.

Regular Cleaning

Once you have cleaned up the boat seats, remember to go back to it at regular intervals. It is vital to be regular at such cleaning tasks to maintain a sensitive fabric like vinyl properly. Therefore, engage in it once every few weeks or so to keep the seats as good as new.

Equipment Nearby

Whenever you observe dirt or molds building up on the vinyl seats, take action immediately to clean it up. In order to make this happen, make an arrangement to keep cleaning equipment close by. This may include sponge, washcloth, soft-bristled brushes and your most preferred or frequently required cleaners.

Heavy-duty Vinyl

For the next time you invest in vinyl seats, choose the heavy-duty variations. They combat potential dirt and microbes better than the marine-grade vinyl. If you don’t know much about heavy-duty vinyl ratings, go for the one with 28 ounces or more. Even though it costs more, this variation proves to be more durable.


Vinyl is a tricky material. Be it in the homely indoor environment or in the adventurous outdoors, you always need to pay a little extra attention to vinyl objects.

However, cleaning up vinyl boat seats and keeping them clean is not so hard. All you need to make sure of is the safety of your cleaning ingredients and their right proportions.

Now that you know how to clean white vinyl boat seats and maintain them, we hope you continue to have more adventures on the sea with your boat’s fresh appearance.

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