Care & Cleaning of Vinyl Boat Seats & Upholstery

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How To Clean Vinyl Boat Seats & UpholsteryBefore Cleaning

Marine grade vinyl goods are designed to endure harsh marine conditions but without proper care and maintenance they will break down much faster. The best way to prolong the look and performance of boat seats and upholstery is to keep it clean and out of the sun. Install canvas window covers or seat covers - your expensive boat upholstery will last twice as long. Regular application of a UV inhibitor such as 303 Aerospace Protectant is highly recommended.

Routine Cleaning

  • Make a solution of mild soap and water (Dreft). ¼ cup soap to 1 gallon fresh, clean water.
  • Dip, then wring out a soft cloth or sponge and wipe vinyl in a circular motion. Try to avoid pooling water into the seams.
  • Rinse the soap solution off the vinyl using fresh clean water with a soft cloth in the same manner as above.
  • Wipe the vinyl dry with a soft, clean towel.

Above: Dirty Coaming
Below: Dirty Seat

After Cleaning

Deep Cleaning

  • (After using the above Routine Cleaning method). When thoroughly dry, apply a vinyl cleaner - 303 Fabric & Vinyl Cleaner, and rub into the vinyl with a soft clean cloth or soft bristled brush. It may seem redundant to clean with mild soap first but that step is necessary to remove sunscreen, dirt and particles so the vinyl cleaner will penetrate the vinyl uninhibited.
  • Remove excess cleaner with a soft cloth.

UV Protection (highly recommended)

  • Use 303 Areospace Protectant. Spray on vinyl completely wetting the surface.
  • Using a soft, dry cloth, wipe until the vinyl is dry. Be sure to absorb all excess protectant by wiping and polishing until completely dry. This will provide a finish coating that repels stains and provides UV protection.
  • Apply every 3 to 5 weeks for maximum UV protection.
  • Highly recommended to prolong the life of your boat seats and marine upholstery.

Mold Stains & Full Renewal

  • Magic Eraser often works quite well at removing stains from the surface of marine vinyl. Before using specialized cleaners, try scrubbing the stain with water and a Magic Eraser pad. Use care when scrubbing. Do not scrub off or sand down the vinyl.
  • Mix a solution of IOSSO Mold & Mildew Stain Remover per instructions.
  • Wet the area with the IOSSO mix then let soak for about 15 min.
  • Scrub the area with a sponge or soft cloth. For stubborn stains try using a Magic Eraser to scrub the stain off.

Do Not

  • Do not use harsh cleansers such as-Bleach, Ammonia, Windex, Simple Green, etc., - while most of these won’t immediately effect the appearance, they slowly break down the vinyl reducing its lifespan.


  • Use a Magic Eraser carefully to remove stubborn stains.
  • Use mild and specialized cleaners such as – Dreft Laundry Soap, IOSSO Stain Remover, 303 Fabric & Vinyl Cleaner, 303 Aerospace Protectant.
  • Apply a UV inhibitor regularly to prolong the life and look of your marine vinyl upholstery - 303 Aerospace Protectant.

Note: Nothing will clean Sharpie marker and ink stains off of vinyl boat seats and upholstery. When the ink penetrates into the vinyl it cannot be removed. The mark may be dulled in color and become a little bit less noticeable by using a solvent but the solvent will permanently damage the vinyl in the process. The only way to fix it is to replace the affected panel in the upholstery. (See our repair section).