Nothing is more frustrating than continuously battling against the added moisture your cabin naturally receives out on the water. Those pesky black spots on your vinyl seats can be enough to ruin the time on your boat, and even potentially devalue your boat in the long run. Now is your chance to learn all the ways that you can stay on top of your maintenance checklist when it comes to the excess moisture removal on your boat.

Once you get the right cleaning regimen down, your boat will feel a whole lot cleaner!

how to clean boat seats

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Let’s Get Started With Cleaning

If you are looking to permanently rid yourself of those pesky dirty spots on your boat, having a solid cleaning regiment in place can really help with this process. When it comes to best practices on how to clean boat seats, let’s break it down into 3 steps:

Step 1: Get rid of those problem areas

Step 2: Find the perfect dehumidifier to keep the air circulating

Step 3: Keep up with routine maintenance and preventative measures

Step 1: Get Rid of Those Problem Areas

If you are fighting some tough spots, it’s a good idea to scrub down your seats and implement some preventative measures for trapping moisture. Here are some cleaning tips and cost-friendly cleaning supplies that you can use to take control!

Types of Cleaning

The Deep Clean: This is the part of the cleaning process that sets you up for success later on. Deep cleaning can be done when you are looking to put your boat away for the winter, as well as when you want to bring it out back in the spring! Use a soap solution to thoroughly clean your seats, and then set it up with a dehumidifier and vinyl seat solution.

The Routine Clean: Syncing your boat up with a regular maintenance schedule can prevent tough spots from returning! For a weekly clean, mix 1 gallon of water with ¼ cup of mild soap and use a sponge to wipe the seats down.

The Spot Clean: Having alcohol wipes on deck is a super simple way to tackle problem spots before they resurface.

The Air Clean: Keep air circulating even when stationary with an outdoor fan. For enclosed areas like a cabin, use a boat dehumidifier to keep moisture at bay.

how to clean boat seats cleaning bucket

Cleaning Substances to Avoid

In order to avoid harsh chemicals and the potential destruction of your boat’s vinyl seats, it’s a good idea to steer clear of:

  • Ammonia
  • Bleach
  • Acids
  • Windex
  • VOCs (volatile organic compounds)

Instead, let’s take a look at cleaning solutions that are both boat-friendly and wallet-friendly!

Cost-effective Cleaning Techniques

If you want to act fast, but don’t want to spend much on expensive boat cleaning products, you can head to your kitchen and find these products that work wonders on those pesky spots of your boat seats:

  1. Diluted Vinegar: Yes- that staple you likely have in your kitchen is truly magical and can be used for just about any cleaning purpose, even your vinyl seats. Let it sit for a bit, simply wash with warm water, and then leave to dry appropriately.
  2. 3% Hydrogen peroxide: It has no harsh odor and it carries anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. Use a damp cloth to clean and lightly wash with soap and water after.
  3. Baking soda: It both has the power to clean and the ability to absorb moisture. Simply, add ¼ tablespoon of baking soda to a spray bottle and use a sponge to wipe away the grunge. Rinse with water and let it dry.
  4. Tea Tree Oil: This natural essential oil doubles as a fungicide. Add 10 drops of this essential oil into a glass spray bottle of water and mix. Apply onto the problem areas and use a sponge to remove. Repeat and leave the Tea Tree oil on the seats to dry. 

So now we have tackled the cleaning part, but how do we keep those seats clean?

Step 2: Find the Perfect Dehumidifier to Remove Excess Moisture

Humidity is the breeding ground for new pesky spots on your boat seats to appear, so optimizing ventilation is a very important step. That’s why choosing a dehumidifier can be the golden ticket to a moisture-free cabin!

When your boat is in storage, a silica-gel dehumidifier is much preferred over a calcium chloride solution. Eva-Dry’s silica-gel dehumidifiers are cordless and renewable making for the perfect portable device for your boat.

For those longer weekend boat rides, an electric dehumidifier with a drainage hose is a great option to keep humidity down and remove excess moisture.

Don’t underestimate what a dehumidifier can do for the environment of your cabin!

Step 3: Keep up with Routine Maintenance and Preventative Measures

In order to prevent having to undergo in-depth cleans every few weeks, there are a few ways you can further moisture-proof your approach:

  • Place E-150 moisture absorber packs in your cabin and in your seats to absorb excess moisture
  • Complete routine cleans every 1-2 weeks
  • Check each week if there are any “problem areas” or leaks
  • Hang towels, life vests, and other wet items up to dry
  • Use an excess moisture prevention spray for the vinyl seats

In A Nutshell

boat on the water

Rather than waiting for a problem to emerge, it’s much better to address the issue by discouraging moisture from the get-go. Keeping your boat seats properly maintained can save you the trouble and money of replacing your seat covers in the long run!

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