Dec 062013

Make sure you’re sitting pretty for the spring.

Mold and mildew can stain & damage you boat's vinyl seating so should be cleaned regularly.

Mildew can make your boats seats look old and tired before their years.

If you’re packing your boat up for winter, you’ve probably already winterized the engine and checked your trailer. One thing you might not have thought about, though, could save you a big headache in the spring.

Chances are your boat has vinyl seats. Tough and durable, vinyl can have a look similar to leather, but costs a fraction of the price, and is much more durable against moisture, sunlight and tears & scratches.

But durable doesn’t mean indestructible; and one common issue with vinyl seats is that they develop mold and mildew over the winter.

You’ve probably noticed this yourself, whenever you take your boat out of storage. There will be green and black mold and mildew along the vinyl seams, and in the perforations of the material. In older boats, this mildew will eventually discolor and stain the vinyl itself.

This is why two essentials you should put into your winterizing Boat Box are ammonia and isopropyl alcohol.

At the end of the boating season, take your boat out of the water and carefully wash and dry your vinyl seats. Then, to prevent the build-up of mold, perform the following two-step treatment:

  • Step 1: Mix ammonia and water in a bucket – 4 tbsp for every cup of water. Then carefully wash every inch of your seat with this solution; especially between the seams and in the perforations of the vinyl. This will help eliminate any bacteria or mold.
  • Step 2: Once the ammonia solution has dried, mix equal parts isopropyl alcohol and warm water and scrub the seats with a soft scrubbing brush – again, making sure to get into any seams or indents that might house bacteria.

Combining these two steps – an alkali solution and a very mildly acid solution – will help inhibit any bacterial or mold growth and help keep your seats clean and preserved during the winter months.

When spring finally arrives, repeat this process to kill and clean any mildew or mold that might have developed despite your precautions (it often will – but it would have been a lot worse otherwise.) This will make sure your vinyl seats are ship-shape for when boating season begins anew.


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