How To Clean Vinyl Boat Seats Of Mildew

There are lots of opportunities when it comes to sailing a boat, we want to make sure that it’s always clean both interior and exterior. At a certain point, most boat owners will have mildew on their boat seats and mostly it’s due to constant exposure to moisture. Boats require constant maintenance in order to avoid mildew on the seats or even rust on the body surface.

With the right tools, you’re able to keep your boat clean which makes it more comfortable to enjoy sailing on it. If your Vinyl boat seats are covered with mildew, there are steps to take in order to get rid of them easily without harming yourself, there are also preventive measures you need to take in order to prevent them from showing up in the feature. Let’s dive into the important steps you need to follow in order to clean the Vinyl boat seat mildew.

Items Required to Remove Mildew Stains from Boat Seats

  1. Mold and Mildew stain-remover (it should be bleach-free).
  2. Marine and UV-protectant spray.
  3. Soft brush
  4. Magic eraser sponges
  5. And a Microfiber cloth.

These items aren’t hard to get in local stores and you can find them online as well.

Caution On Using Bleach

Bleach and Vinyl don’t go well together, it’s effective in cleaning other items and equipment. A lot of users are also recommending bleaching agents to clean Vinyl, the problem however is that it affects the longevity of Vinyl, it will extract the oil in it which affects the quality of the material and its resistance to water.

Overall, you’re degrading the material, the lifetime of the vinyl is affected in the long run, this is the reason why you should avoid using stain removers that contain bleaching agents.

Most of the products in the market contain bleach, you need to check and pick a product without bleach. You should also remember that the effect isn’t seen immediately, they’ll clean your boat seats effectively, but will affect water resistance especially if you use the product often. With that said, let’s outline the steps you need to follow in order to get rid of Mildew on your boat seats with ease.

Steps To Follow on How To Clean Vinyl Boat Seats Of Mildew

How To Clean Vinyl Boat Seats Of Mildew

  1. Start By Spraying The Mold And Mildew Stain Remover On The Affected Areas

You should cover all the affected areas, don’t ignore any gaps and seams because mold can be formed in those areas. After spraying, you should wait for some minutes which will allow the spray to soak into the mold making it easier to clean.

You let it stay for like 5 or 10 minutes, this will depend on the strength of the spray, normally it should be five minutes. More importantly, you can check for instructions in order to get the best results.

  1. Scrub The Seats

Once you realize the mold is soft, you should then start scrubbing the seats, use a soft brush to avoid scratching the Vinyl seats, and avoid unnecessary damage. Avoid scrubbing with force even with a soft brush, if you realize you can’t scrub the mold off the seats, you might consider waiting for extra minutes to dissolve the mold, or in some cases, you need to spray the stain remover again.

If you have used an effective mold remover, you shouldn’t face any problem while scrubbing the mold, even a microfiber cloth should be enough to wipe the mold off the seats. You’ll also notice some leftovers after using a brush, this is where you should use a soft cloth to wipe the mold left on the seats.

  1. Wipe Debris Away

After scrubbing all major areas on the seats that have mold, you’ll be left with a lot of debris on the seats and you need to use a soft cloth in order to get rid of it. Use a microfiber or any soft cloth to eliminate the debris left, microfiber cloth is gentle and won’t tear up the vinyl while cleaning the debris.

You should rub the cloth in a circular motion around the seats, put a little force on areas that have not been scrubbed while avoiding tears on the seats.

  1. Repeat

If the mold that accumulated on the seats is very thick, you’ll likely not be able to get rid of it by spraying stain remover at once. If you still notice significant mildew on the seats after scrubbing and clearing the dust, you should spray the mold stain remover again and let it stay for more time than the previous spray.

You then scrub with a brush and remove the debris again with a soft cloth. Hopefully, you should be able to clear mildew for the second time. If not, we recommend using another mold stain remover product, make sure to avoid using bleach as mentioned previously.

There are lots of good products in the market and you can always check videos to see the product in action, this way you’ll be able to make conclusions on whether the product works or not.

  1. Get Rid Of Stubborn Stains With Magic Erasers

After repeating the process again and you’re not through with Mildew on your boat seats, you should use Magic Erasers. They come with special cleaners that can take care of mold and mildew that stick on the seats. The advantage of using them is that you don’t have to scrub hard to remove stains.

Use the Magic Erasers and start wiping on the mildew on your seats, they don’t require much force, you need to scrub just like you did when using a brush. If used properly, the Magic eraser should be able to clean the remaining mold on your boat seats.

Some don’t use a brush after spray, they use magic erasers right away to remove the mold, but it’s not necessary to do that, only use the magic eraser when there is remaining mildew after using a soft brush.

  1. Using Protectant

After following the steps above, your boat seats should be clean as usual but you want to make sure that you protect the seats from mildew especially within a short period.

Using a protectant is an additional step that will make the seats look great, it will protect them from mold again, and also offer protection against sun/UV rays. With protectant you’ll not be dealing with discoloration, cracking, facing, or premature aging.

Read Also: How to Clean Pontoon Boat With Vinegar.

How To Prevent Mildew And Mold From Appearing On Your Boat Seats

How To Prevent Mildew And Mold From Appearing On Your Boat Seats

  1. Ensure that your seats are always dried, and cleaned well after use.
  2. Maintain your boat regularly; sometimes you might not use the boat for a long period of time, it’s always a good idea to clean it while in storage.
  3. Use mildew-resistant materials; boat seats are made with different materials; you should choose the ones that are mildew resistant. Though you won’t find seats that are 100% resistant you can increase your chances by choosing the right seat material.
  4. Use protectants after getting rid of mildew on your boat seats.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Mildew Remover

The stain remover you choose plays an important role when it comes to cleaning Mildew on your boat seats, that’s why it’s important to discuss more how to use and choose mildew stain remover for your boat seats.

  1. Make sure it eliminates severe mildew stains on vinyl seats; If you have severe mold and mildew stain, it’s not every stain remover that can take care of it. You have to ensure the product is specifically designed for tough mildew surfaces and at the same time you don’t want a product that will damage your boat seats.
  2. Easy to use; You don’t want to wait for long after spraying the stain remover on the seats before you start scrubbing the mildew. Typically, it should take not more than five minutes to dissolve the stain, always go for the ones that can be sprayed rather than applying liquid on the seats. Lastly, you don’t want to go for a stain remover that has a disgusting smell, you’ll be around for some time while cleaning the mold which can make it uncomfortable when cleaning the debris left.
  3. Safe to use; It should be safe to use on marine upholstery, they’re the best products you should look for in the market. You don’t want to damage your seats nor harm your health, there are marine grade upholstery products and that’s what you should stick to.
  4. Versatility; This is an important factor because you don’t want a stain remover that will degrade the vinyl seats or any other material the seats are made with. Lots of products out there will end up causing discoloration after cleaning the mildew which is something you don’t want.
  5. Bleach-free; this has been discussed already, it should be bleach-free at all costs. Some products claim to be bleach-free but to end up adding a little of it in the product, you want to check for reviews and ensure no bleach inside.
  6. Don’t require much scrubbing; In order to clean the mildew with ease, you should go for products that don’t require much scrubbing on the seats. A good product should dissolve the mold or mildew with ease and within a short period of time, making it so soft that you don’t have to apply much force nor use a magic eraser to scrub again.
  7. Prevent mildew from appearing again; There are some products out there that will not only remove the mildew from your seats, they’ll also prevent them from appearing on your seats. Mildew formation will be blocked in the future and that is what we strongly recommend.
  8. Revive mildew surfaces; Thick mildew that has been around for a long can change the vinyl surface, using products that will revive the surface will be great to restore your boat seats. Go for such products so that your seats can shine again.

Types Of Mildew And Mold Stain Remover

Bleach; They’re common in the market, a bleaching agent diluted with water, and other components are mixed together. Bleach works, but the downside of it is that it causes discoloration and, in most cases, will damage the vinyl material. This should be avoided if you want to protect your seats.

Calcium lime rust; This is also another popular compound used in mildew stain removers. Such products are used in the household for cleaning stains on surfaces, the downside is that they can affect sensitive materials.

Homemade; Some resort to using DIY mildew remover and it’s normally done with water and vinegar. A lot of people have tested this solution and they claim that it worked for them, we don’t recommend using DIY, even if it worked because it will end up damaging your seats or changing their color.

Professional stain remover; These are the most expensive ones and are more effective with a guarantee. Different compounds are used to create a professional product that works and won’t cause much harm to your boat seats.

This is what we recommend for cleaning your boat seats to avoid any risk of damaging your seats. You’ll save yourself a lot of time as they are more effective in the shortest time possible, they also prevent mildew and mold from forming again.

On the other hand, they’re costly, they’ll cost you more than the typical stain remover in your household and even though they’re costly, some won’t be as effective as they are advertised.

They may contain toxic substances; professional stain removers are a combination of various chemicals and substances that might cause health issues especially if you’re allergic to some of the chemicals.

They might cause skin irritation or breathing problems when inhaled. And finally, some are very strong to cause discoloration or damage your boat seats.

Safety Tips When Using Mildew Stain Removers

  1. Use protective equipment while spraying on the seats, such as masks, gloves, and goggles.
  2. Make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area to avoid long exposure to the fumes.
  3. Allow the stain remover to dissolve before you start scrubbing on the seats.
  4. Test a small portion on your seats to see how the product works before applying it to the remaining areas.
  5. Always read the instructions on the stain remover before you begin to apply it on your seats. You can see how the product is applied, some require moist areas while some require applying dry, and also you can see the time required for the liquid to penetrate into the mold.
  6. Scrub gently to avoid damaging the seats.
  7. Always use a protectant to avoid mold and mildew from forming again.

If you’re having health problems, you should always report to your doctor.

Read Also: What Causes A PFD To Wear Out Over Time?

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