Cleaning vinyl seats

Discussion in 'General Maintenance/Repair Questions' started by Maggieiscrazy, Jan 31, 2019.

  1. Maggieiscrazy

    Maggieiscrazy Active Member

    210
    Oct 14, 2016
    Northern Wisconsin
    240 Sundancer
    5.0. Bravo III
    I’m cleaning my vinyl seats with Starbrite vinyl cleaner and polish and a magic eraser. It’s working ok but it’s a lot of work. Does anyone know of a better cleaner for vinyl seats? I also plan on using Starbrite Vinyl Brite protectant after I’m done.
     
  2. KevinC

    KevinC Well-Known Member

    Feb 25, 2011
    Long Island, NY
    2004 340 Sundancer
    1988 Proline Center Console - 90hp Mariner/Mercury
    1969 Boston Whaler
    Twin 8.1 V-drives
    For really bad dirt MarineStrip works great (disclaimer: I sell this stuff) I started using it a while ago on someone's recommendation and I love it. It's also great on vinyl, power lines, fenders and inflatables.

    Unfortunately it will only work on the surface grime and any absorbed stains, scratches may be beyond help.

    Allways work up from the least aggressive to the more agressive and stay away from bleach products and magic eraser type products.

    One note of caution is that if you're seats have been sprayed then the MS will strip that off.

    Also, while not sure about the starbrite, I always recommend regularly wiping down with a protectorant that has a UV inhibitor and make sure to treat the seams well. UV can break down the vinyl and your thread where it was sewn. I like 303.

    -Kevin
     
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  3. BillK2632

    BillK2632 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 25, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    1999 185 Bowrider,
    Mercruiser 4.3, Alpha I
    I use Spray 9 to clean, then 303 to protect, I use a soft brush to scrub with the Spray 9, rinse the seats I can remove and then wipe up with a clean towel. The StarBrite protector is probably just as good, I've just never used it.
     
  4. Adefelice

    Adefelice Member GOLD Sponsor

    50
    Jul 18, 2012
    CT River
    01 Wellcraft 3700 Martinique, Mercury RIB with 8hp Yamaha 2 stroke.
    Twin 454 7.4 MPI Horizon
    I just discovered MarineStrip last season, it removed the black stains off my RIB.
     
  5. Maggieiscrazy

    Maggieiscrazy Active Member

    210
    Oct 14, 2016
    Northern Wisconsin
    240 Sundancer
    5.0. Bravo III
    Thanks for the tips. I will definitely give MarineStrip a try.
     
  6. The Bill Collector

    The Bill Collector Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tacoma, WA
    450 Sundancer
    3126 Cat's
    bmay1909 likes this.
  7. Third Edition

    Third Edition Active Member

    241
    Apr 9, 2017
    NE Florida
    360 Sundancer 2002
    T-8.1L V-drives
  8. Korkie

    Korkie Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    377
    Feb 2, 2016
    Leonardtown, MD Potomac River / Chesapeake Bay
    340 Sundancer 2006, Garmin 7612, xHD Radome
    Merc 496 Mags, Bravo III Drives
    I have tried all of the above - the best product that I have found is Starbrite Mildew Stain Remover. Gets all the little black specs off quite nicely. Spray on, let sit (you can work it in with a soft brush if need be) wipe off with clean cloth and then rinse with water. For the rinse - just spray with water as you did the Mildew Stain remover and wipe with a different clean cloth. Then I use 303 Protectant.

    Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Star-Brite-M...48958841&sr=8-4&keywords=mildew+stain+remover

    Also available @ WalMart. West Marine has it, but they want your left arm for it.
     
  9. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    Marine Strip is great stuff. I’ve also found that “LA’s Totally Awesone Cleaner” works really well and is available on Amazon for about $10.00 a gallon. I use it for lots of general cleaning projects.
    Whatever you use, rinse well afterwards and let dry. Once dry, apply 303 Protectant.
     
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  10. bbwhitejr

    bbwhitejr Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 14, 2013
    Lake Lanier GA
    2007 44DB
    Cummins QSC 8.3s
    Starbrite's Mildew and Stain remover works well. I then prefer the 303 for a protectant myself.

    Bennett
     
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  11. KevinC

    KevinC Well-Known Member

    Feb 25, 2011
    Long Island, NY
    2004 340 Sundancer
    1988 Proline Center Console - 90hp Mariner/Mercury
    1969 Boston Whaler
    Twin 8.1 V-drives
    Starbrite's Mildew and Stain remover works great even on fabrics. I once washed and entire cabin interior. I had to remove all the fabric panels (zippered and stapled) and I sprayed it all down with that stuff and let it soak. The fabric came out looking perfect. A couple of spots that were a little worse I had to retreat and wash.

    -Kevin
     
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  12. LG111

    LG111 Active Member

    509
    Jan 4, 2015
    NW
    410
    8.1
    ZCARE marine vinyl cleaner. Amazon. Made local in the Seattle area by an independent family. I promise you'll love this product! I am a consumer only and no relation.
    How I use it. Spray on like any other cleaner nice and wet. Take a medium potato brush and scrub square foot by square foot. Be sure to scrub the stitching too. I promise you'll see even 15 year only dirty vinyl material come clean like new and the stitching like white new! Use a damp cloth to wipe up and a dry cloth to dry. After each trip I do little touch up cleaning. The only thing that will never come out of your vinyl seats is suntan lotion with tanner in it! Never ever allowed on my boat and if you have it on, your not allowed in the boat!!!!

    I love cleaners but this is by far the best and not harsh to you or your material.

    Mark
     
  13. dpvandy01

    dpvandy01 Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Sep 6, 2007
    Cincinnati, Ohio/Ohio River
    2003 320 Sundancer
    &
    2012 185 Sport
    &
    2014 Sea Fox 256 Commander
    Twin 6.2L Close Cooled V-Drives & 3.0L Alpha 1, 300 Yamaha OB
    try all of the suggestions below but STOP USING MAGIC ERASER!!! If you haven't already ruined your vinyl you will.
     
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  14. 370Dancer

    370Dancer Active Member

    729
    Oct 2, 2006
    Florida - Alabama
    1998 370 Sundancer
    380hp MAG MPI V drives
    My vinyl guy swears by wd40
     
  15. Maggieiscrazy

    Maggieiscrazy Active Member

    210
    Oct 14, 2016
    Northern Wisconsin
    240 Sundancer
    5.0. Bravo III
    Yes I agree, I only used it on a small spot and noticed it was rubbing material off so I stopped. Dockside canvas co recommended using a magic eraser to clean vinyl seats. Bad advice!
     
  16. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    Magic Erasers are abrasive and should not be used on vinyl. If you want to agitate or scrub your cleaning product in to the material you’re cleaning then try a mild scrubbing pad like they use on glass cooktops.
     
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  17. midexp

    midexp Active Member

    222
    Oct 5, 2016
    Harrison Township, Michigan Lake St.Clair
    1999 40' Sundancer
    454 merc
    I've used magic erasers for years and my vinyl cockpit seats look like new. Guess I disagree with this advice.
     
  18. KevinC

    KevinC Well-Known Member

    Feb 25, 2011
    Long Island, NY
    2004 340 Sundancer
    1988 Proline Center Console - 90hp Mariner/Mercury
    1969 Boston Whaler
    Twin 8.1 V-drives
    You are certainly welcome to have your own opinion and may treat your seats with care.

    The facts are that it works like fine sandpaper removing a layer of the vinyl. Just like wet sanding, in the hands of someone with experience and gentle hands it can make your gelcoat shine... In the wrong hands or with extended or repeated use it will remove the gelcoat.

    That's why we generally tell people to stay away from them as they tend to get over used. Bleach on the other hand has no place on the vinyl expect as a last effort before replacing. It will dry out the vinyl and eat away at the threads.

    -Kevin
     
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  19. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    Years ago, when this "Magic" Eraser appeared on the boat scene, I had my doubts (as many above have warned about). I took a brand new piece of vinyl (an extra/scrap piece from Sea Ray) and used light to light/moderate pressure on an area for about 15 seconds. Dried it off and then looked closely... I could clearly see a difference where the Eraser was used... it was an obvious dull spot. As noted, it is, essentially, sandpaper, and will first wear off the plasticizer layer (the protective layer) and then the vinyl becomes harder to keep clean and you'll want to keep using the Eraser becomes it removes the dirt... and more vinyl... and allows the vinyl to get dirtier, faster... and you'll use the Eraser more... you get the picture.

    I've used a lot of cleaners over the years and some are certainly better than others. But for me, the main "trick" is to keep the area wet, along with a medium stiffness bristle brush and either use a hose to keep rinsing the dirt away or use clean rags to wipe it away. BUT, if you use a rag, you MUST keep switching to a clean spot - otherwise you simply spread the dirt around. Always 303 afterwards, too.
     
  20. Maggieiscrazy

    Maggieiscrazy Active Member

    210
    Oct 14, 2016
    Northern Wisconsin
    240 Sundancer
    5.0. Bravo III
    I stopped by Walmart today and picked up a bottle or Starbrite mildew stain remover. Problem is you need to rinse with water and I can’t do that in my shop. And with high temps below -0f pulling the boat out of my shop is not an option. And I agree with West Marine I wish their pricing was more competitive.
     

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