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There’s nothing like a sunshine-filled day out on the boat, but it may be hard to keep your seats in tip-top shape with exposure to moisture and water. That’s why it’s important to follow a maintenance and cleaning schedule. However, even following a strict schedule, mold and mildew can still form over time. 

Here’s what you need to keep boat seats clean

Passengers on boat seats on a trip to the Cyclades islands in Greece wearing masks, preventative measure of mold
Passengers on a boat to the Cyclades islands in Greece | Panayotis Tzamaros/NurPhoto via Getty Images

According to J.D. Power, ” Most manufacturers use vinyl for their seats across their types of boats since this material can stand up to the wet conditions of regular exposure to water and the other strains of being on the water. Even so, vinyl is susceptible to mildew, and you need to gather the right materials to get started.” 

The recommended materials include:

  • A bleach-free mold and mildew stain remover
  • A soft brush
  • A microfiber cloth
  • Marine and UV protectant spray
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponges

The good news? The products listed above are affordable. Just be sure to stay away from bleach. Using bleach products on vinyl seats can ruin the material and the stitching.

How you remove mildew stains from boat seats

Follow these step-by-step steps to remove mold and mildew from the seats successfully:

  • Spray mold remover onto the seats: The first step is to spray a mold remover directly on the boat seats and ensure you get all the hard-to-reach areas. Once you’re done spraying, let the remover sit there for a few minutes. 
  • Begin to scrub: Now, for the fun part. You’ll want to start scrubbing. Use a soft brush so that you don’t scratch your seats. And try not to scrub too hard. 
  • Wipe away any debris: Use a cloth to wipe away the debris or mold hanging around. Microfiber ones tend to work best because they are gentler. You’ll want to bring a few extra too, depending on how dirty the boat seats are! 
  • Repeat if you need to: If your boat seats have heavy build-up, you may need to repeat the first three steps. If you have tried multiple times and are not seeing the desired results, it’s time to whip out the Magic Erasers. 
  • Utilize Magic Erasers on those stubborn stains: Magic Erasers are ideal for messes that stick. Additionally, you won’t have to scrub too hard to see results. Simply wet them and start wiping.  
  • Use a vinyl protectant: Vinyl protectants will make your seats look good and protect them from UV damage. Plus, they’ll prevent future mildew from forming again.

How to prevent mold from forming on boat seats

There are a few ways to prevent the need to clean mildew and mold on your boat seats. First, ensure you’re wiping the seats after taking the boat out. It’s also helpful to take a towel to the seams. It is also wise to maintain your boat, even if it’s in storage. So, if you’re shopping for a new boat, consider buying a model outfitted with mildew-resistant seat material.


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