How To Clean Vinyl Boat Seats of Mildew [EASY WAY]

Cleaning your boat is an important part of boat maintenance.

The interior of your boat is arguably the most important part of your boat to keep clean.

This is because you’re going to be inside your boat when you’re using it.

If you’re interior is a mess, you’re living in filth which isn’t very pleasant at all.

At least if the exterior is dirty, your hygiene isn’t affected as much, and you don’t have to see it once you’re on-board.

Luckily for you, I’m a clean freak who cannot bare to be on a dirty boat. I know the best methods of cleaning your boats interior, as well as the best cleaning products for the job.

It’s not difficult at all and doesn’t take very long either. Especially if you’ve got a family or friends to help you with the job.

Shake up your bottle of Marine 31 Mildew Remover before spraying it all over your vinyl boat seats. Make sure you allow the solution to sit on your boat’s seats for roughly 1 minute. Then use the microfibre cloth to wipe away the solution. The mildew should get wiped off by the cloth. You may have to apply more pressure when wiping depending on the severity of the mildew growth.

I’ll explain this method in more detail below. Keep reading to ensure that you completely understand each step and complete the process safely without damaging your vinyl seating.

How to Clean Vinyl Boat Seats of Mildew

Your vinyl boat seats are at great risk of mildew and mold due to the wet conditions whilst boating.

You don’t want to allow these to grow as they’ll leave disgusting stains on your seats.

It’s a good idea to wash your seats every time you use your boat, especially if you don’t use it very often. This is because you don’t want to allow moisture to sit on your seats for too long.

If you’re using your boat everyday then it’s not as important and you can afford to skip washing it some days but at the very least make sure you wipe the seats dry with a cloth or towel.

Mildew only takes between 24 and 48 hours to grow so it’s important that your seats are dry and not left wet overnight.

Mildew is a fungus which will leave your vinyl seats stained and smelling funky, it could also cause permanent damage if left for long periods.

So, how do you clean your vinyl boat seats?

Firstly, you’ll want to ensure you have the right equipment. I’ll link you to the necessary items:

Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, Non-Abrasive, Reusable and Washable -...
Marine 31 Mildew Stain Remover & Cleaner (20oz. - 2-pack)
Boat Bling Condition Sauce Premium Interior Moisturizer w/UV Protection, 20 oz.
Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, Non-Abrasive, Reusable and Washable -...
Marine 31 Mildew Stain Remover & Cleaner (20oz. - 2-pack)
Boat Bling Condition Sauce Premium Interior Moisturizer w/UV Protection, 20 oz.
Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, Non-Abrasive, Reusable and Washable -...
Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, Non-Abrasive, Reusable and Washable -...
Marine 31 Mildew Stain Remover & Cleaner (20oz. - 2-pack)
Marine 31 Mildew Stain Remover & Cleaner (20oz. - 2-pack)
Boat Bling Condition Sauce Premium Interior Moisturizer w/UV Protection, 20 oz.
Boat Bling Condition Sauce Premium Interior Moisturizer w/UV Protection, 20 oz.

Step 1: Spray the Marine 31 Mildew Remover all over the seat, be generous with this. Make sure the whole seat is coated in it. Afterwards, let the mildew remover sit on the seat for about a minute, or up to 5 minutes for bad mildew infestations.

Steps 2: Use your microfibre cloth to rub the mildew remover off the seat and scrubbing the seat. You should notice that the mildew comes off extremely easy. You barely have to scrub at all, most the mildew will come off with a gentle rub.

Step 3: Now it’s time to apply the condition sauce to your seats. If you already have some sort of UV protection product, use that – otherwise use the recommended Boat Bling Condition Sauce for best results. Simply spray it all over the seats and then wipe off the excess using the microfibre cloth. Afterwards, you want to let it soak into the seats for a few minutes before use.

Video Demonstration

As you can see, it couldn’t be easier. All you need is one strong product and a cloth. Step 3 is optional however highly recommended.

This is because. overtime vinyl will become brittle if constantly washed unprotected. The stitching between seams will begin pulling apart and eventually leading to a rip in your vinyl seats.

Because of this, it’s important to use some sort of vinyl protectant. I think Boat Bling Condition Sauce is the best product for this as it will not only provide UV protection, but it will also provide moisturization and conditioner for a brand-new feel.

Still Some Mildew Left on Your Seats?

The mildew remover and a cloth are usually enough to get the job done.

However, if your mildew situation was extremely bad then you may need to take it one step further.

It’s time to introduce our secret weapon; Mr Cleans Magic Eraser.

I was surprised how affordable it was, you can view the product on Amazon by clicking here.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber, 4Count (Pack of 2)
  • The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath scrubber with Febreze Freshness erases...

I have found this product to work flawlessly on tough mildew stains. It’s never let me down.

Like an eraser you just run it over your mess and it will take the mildew away with it in a stroke.

You don’t have to apply a lot of pressure, I’d recommend starting off lightly as you don’t want to damage your expensive vinyl seats.

Make sure you get into the seams of your seats. It will be a lot easier to get into these small gaps with the eraser than it is with a brush.

How to Clean White Vinyl Boat Seats

So, you have white vinyl boat seats and therefore don’t want to leave any stains behind at all?

Well luckily for you, the same method above also applies for white interiors.

You don’t need any special method, Marine 31 will work on all coloured vinyl boat seats.

In fact, therefore Marine 31 is so much better than other mildew removers. It provides UV protection which will protect your white seats from turning yellow due to sunshine.

However, what if your seats have already started discolouring with a yellow or green tint?

A mildew remover isn’t going to bring back the original colour.

In this case, you’ll want to use a bleach or vinegar mixture.

Create a mixture of 1/3 bleach and 2/3 water. This is because you want to dilute the bleach to prevent it from damaging your boat seats. Then you want to apply the mixture with your microfibre cloth. Don’t let the mixture seat on your seats for longer than a minute before completely rinsing it off with pure water. Once finished, allow time to dry.

Afterwards, your seats should have returned closer to their natural white colour. Make sure to use Marine 31 or some sort of UV protection product on the seat after it’s dried. This will help protect the seats from the sun to avoid future discoloration.

Things to Avoid When Cleaning Your Vinyl Boat Seats

Avoid using your own homemade vinyl boat seat cleaner. There are many guides online which instruct you on how to create your own mixture however it’s not worth the risk when purchasing a specialist product is so cheap. It’s easy to get the mixture wrong, thus damaging your boats seats. It’s not worth risking your expensive boat seats to save a few bucks.

How to Remove Mildew from Boat Carpets

I thought I’d throw this little guide into the article because if you’re suffering from mildew growth on your boat’s seats, you may also be suffering from mildew on your boat’s carpets.

This is one of the biggest problems of having carpet on a boat. They’re very susceptible to mildew growth as they are exposed to the moisture in the air constantly. Also, it’s very likely for some water to get splashed on the carpet and for wet feet to trample all over it.

Once the carpet begins to grow mildew, it will eventually evolve into mold. This is very bad for your own as well as your passenger’s health because it will release spores across your entire boat.

So how do you tackle the mildew in your carpets?

Well, you can’t use Marine 31 on a fabric carpet, so the previously mentioned method won’t apply for carpets.

Instead, I have a few tips and tricks for you:

Sunlight: Mildew grows in most, dark areas. This means you can kill mildew by placing it in the sunshine for a few hours. So, grab your carpet and put it on your deck on a hot day so that the sun’s UV light can destroy the mildew. This will also dry out the carpet, thus eliminating the moisture in it.

Clean It Often: You should try and clean your boats carpet as often as possible. Dirt left on your carpet will contain proteins which help mildew grow. Therefore, it’s important to give your carpet a good vacuuming every now and then.

Now the best solution.

Create a mixture of 50% water and 50% vinegar. Pour the mixture in a spray bottle. And spray it over your carpet. Then use a sponge to scrub the carpet vigorously. Afterwards, allow the carpet to air dry.

It’s that simple.


Most mildew stains will come out easily with the use of Marine 31 and a cloth.

Though for bad mildew infestations, you may need to take it to the next level by introducing a magic eraser. This will guarantee you the best results and treat even the most stained boat seats. I’ve found that this only applies for extreme cases. 99% of the time, the mildew remover and cloth are enough.

If this guide was helpful to you, please leave a comment below and share it on social media. You never know when your friends or family could need this, I’m sure they will be highly appreciative.

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