Want to know how to clean boat seats that have bad mildew stains? While results will vary depending on the stain, and the material and color of the seats, there are a few things you can try. Cleaning instead of replacing or recovering your seats can save you time and money. Here are a few ideas that are worth a shot.
- Commercial Mildew Remover. The most expensive option on the list, cleaners specifically designed for the task at hand, such as Starbrite Mildew Stain Remover, Greased Lightning Marine Formula, or Green Bean Boat Vinylizer can really work wonders on taking mildew out of boat seats. For most, you just spray on and wipe off. The drawback here is availability. If you want to go out on the lake tomorrow, you don't want to have to place an order online.
- Commercial Sprays. If you are looking for something that you already have on hand, you probably have something under the sink. Many products are designed to fight mildew around the house and can me used on boat seats as well. Tilex and Simple Green are among the most effective here, but similar products could work just as well. Again this is a spray and wipe process, but read the directions on the bottle, and try to avoid products with bleach.
- Commercial Scrubs. You can use a non-abrasive cleaner like Soft Scrub Or even something designed for personal cleaning like Gunk Orange Waterless Hand Cleaner . Use them as directed or apply as a paste and allow to dry before hosing off. Just be sure to spot test. an inconspicuous area first.
- Magic Eraser. A Magic Eraser may not work for all stains and can involve a lot of elbow grease, but it's one of the least caustic methods. Just add a bit of water and rub the mildew stains away.
- Baking Soda and Vinegar. Sprinkle baking soda on the stain, then pour over it. Allow this to dry and sit for a few hours before scrubbing off with a clean damp cloth.
- Bleach. Bleach is not recommended for cleaning bad mildew stains off of boat seats as it can discolor the material. Also be sure to rinse very well is you use this method as "mixing bleach and sunlight will cause the threads that bind vinyl seat cushions to weaken and eventually disintegrate." For this reason bleach should not be used on large mildew stains except as a last resort.
The best remedy for bad mildew stains on boat seats is to avoid them. Keeping boat seats clean and dry is the best way to avoid future stains. Follow this up with a coating of a product like 303 Aerospace Protectant to keep them looking like new. Happy boating!