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Preserving Your Boat Vinyl

Your boat’s vinyl greatly contributes to the comfort you experience when you’re on the boat, and it’s one of the first things you see when you climb aboard. Designed specifically for marine environments, your cushions will provide years of comfort and still look new if you take proper care of them.


Cleaning your boat cushions is just as important as cleaning the deck and flushing your motor(s). After a day of fishing or cruising, wash the salt particles and sunscreen residue off the vinyl to prevent them from breaking down the anti-stain and mildew barriers that were originally applied to the vinyl by the manufacturer. You can do this with fresh water, a soft rag, and some mild detergent. Commercial cleaners are also good and should be used periodically to maintain the vinyl’s protective barriers that diminish over time.   


After washing your vinyl, allow it to thoroughly dry before you cover the boat. Also, remember to never leave items sitting on the vinyl when you put the boat away, even for the night. This can trap moisture and cause mold and mildew to start growing. Once the boat and cushions are dry, remove any cushions that have snaps and store them in a dry place. This will prevent moisture from forming between the cushion and the gelcoat which can, over time, cause blistering.


If you do get a stain on your cushions, never use abrasive cleaners or bleach. These products will strip the protective barrier off your cushions, make them brittle, and can damage the stitching at the seams. Simply use the same soap and water mixture you generally use, but let it sit a little longer to penetrate the stain before washing off. If that does not work, try a commercial cleaner specially designed to clean stains off marine vinyl.   


Once your boat and the cushions are dry, cover the cushions to protect them from the sun’s harmful UV rays. This is one of the top causes of vinyl deterioration and cracking. If you cannot keep your cushions covered, you’ll want to buy a commercial UV protectant product and apply it to clean cushions once a month.  


These simple preventative measures will keep your cushions feeling luxurious and looking brand new for years to come.   


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