Living in Florida and being an avid boater I’ve been around boaters all of my life. One of the most common complaints that I hear from boat owners is that they spend a lot of money on cleaning products that ultimately breakdown the original finish on gel coat or vinyl upholstery. I believe that the one most important step to properly cleaning your boat is to use the right products. Save time and money by doing it right the first time and protect the environment at the same time.
Here are tips that I live by:
- Choose cleaning brushes that are sturdy and will get rid of stubborn dirt, grime and salt, without damaging the finish. For most situations, a brush with a medium-soft bristle will do just fine.
- A simple solution of water and vinegar works well as a glass cleanser, and it’s easy on the environment.
- Regular cleaning of your upholstery will prevent dirt and grime from settling into the upholstery. Use your simple solution of water and vinegar to wipe off the upholstery before and after each use.
- If you have stains and hard to remove grime on your upholstery, use your medium-soft brush and a cleaner designed for boat upholstery. I find that a liquid concentrated cleaner mixed with water allows you to soap up the area and the brush tends to reach that deep down dirt and grime
- If mildew stains have formed on your vinyl upholstery, use a deck brush with a medium-soft bristle and scrub with a water and ammonia mixture (4 parts water to 1 part ammonia). Rinse with fresh water, dry and repeat this process if necessary.
- For tougher mildew cases, several effective commercial or marine stain removers are appropriate for use on vinyl upholstery.
- Marine grade products can be conveniently found online and in larger containers than at your local super store.