Boat Upholstery Maintenance

Boat Upholstery Maintenance

While purchasing a boat is already a major investment, boat owners may be surprised by how much boat upholstery can cost them to repair or replace if not well maintained. While there are multiple types of upholstery fabric out there to choose from, vinyl is the most used material. Vinyl is highly resistant to water and sunlight, comfortable in all seasons, and blocks mildew and dirt better than artificial leather, acrylic, or polyurethane might.

To extend the life and comfort of boat upholstery, here are some tips to protect and care for it:

1) Clean and Dry Regularly

After spending a day on the boat, the upholstery is bound to be covered in dirt and sweat from being sat on and splashed throughout the journey. To clean boat upholstery, scrub the seats with mild soap and fresh water. To prevent scratches, use either a sponge or cloth to carefully scrub the seat clean. This combination will help remove salt and whatever else may have ended up on the seat, such as sunscreen or any leftover fish blood and bacteria. After a good rinse, be sure to dry the upholstery with a clean towel, as allowing the seats to air dry can allow the leftover moisture to form mildew.

2) Avoid Harsh Chemicals and Abrasive Cleaning

To maintain the soft feel of vinyl upholstery, never use harsh chemical or abrasive cleaning methods. While bleach, ammonia, and other household cleaners may seem like a good way to clean off upholstery, they all can remove layers of the vinyl including its protective coating. Magic erasers, abrasive sponges, and even power washers can also damage the upholstery by causing rips and removing the protective coating.

3) Apply a Sealant

In addition to regular cleaning, boat owners can use a protective sealant to prevent mildew and mold from forming. Some sealants may need to be reapplied but will allow the upholstery to maintain its appearance and add some additional UV protection.

4) Cover Upholstery When Not in Use 

The same way someone would cover patio furniture or a grill to prevent rust and deterioration, boat upholstery should be covered to prevent sun damage. Overexposure can cause the upholstery to crack and fade over time. Storing the boat in a dry, covered area will also help prevent any weather conditions from causing further damage.

5) Maintain Ventilation

While covering upholstery will help prevent damage from harsh UV rays, a cover that is not properly ventilated can increase mildew and mold growth.

6) Handle Repairs in a Timely Manner

No matter how much maintenance is put into a boat’s upholstery, boat owners should expect to eventually need a repair. To prevent damaged upholstery from further damaging the foam or framework, owners should mend the issue sooner than later. Looking at the repair as an investment rather than an expense may give some peace of mind.

For a fun and relaxing new boating experience that is easy to install and maintain, check out Sea Dragon Swings, the must-have accessory that provides additional seating space to your watercraft and dock. Call us today at 662-479-4647.