It was a great day on the lake! The water was glass and perfect for skiing. The new tube was a hit and the wake board bindings held tight. The boat is properly loaded onto the trailer. All of the inflatables, skis, and boards are put away. The exterior of the boat is dry and the interior seats and cushions are wiped down. But is that enough? Keeping your interior in prime condition is critical and can be expensive if not done correctly.
Mildew is one of the most common problems with vinyl boat seats. It often grows on seats when boats are covered because it thrives in warm, dark, and damp places. It's the hidden areas where the mold can creep in – under the boat seats, boat covers, or on the bulkhead. Mildew can also flourish on damp gear and wet anchor lines. Make sure to remove any items that are not completely dry from your boat.
Mildew can have a nasty odor and can eventually break down the vinyl material your seats are made of. Make sure to clean the infected areas quickly, so any damage to your seats is minimal. Removing mildew and mold from boat seats might sound like a disgusting task, but it doesn’t have to be. All you need is the right products and some elbow grease, and in most cases your boat's interior will be back to prime condition in no time.
It’s a good idea to research all cleaning products you will be using. Many cleaners contain chemicals that can cause damage to the vinyl and threads. Be very careful with bleach. It is an effective cleaner that will eliminate mold when applied, but it also has the potential to damage the upholstery and destroy your seat’s attractive appearance.
It’s far safer to use a mildew remover that is specifically designed for this purpose. We have found BABE’S Mildew Master to be an excellent solution. BABES’s Boat Care Products are dedicated to developing the cleanest environmentally safe boat products. Spray the mildew remover directly on the vinyl seats and allow it to penetrate and break down the mold and mildew stains. Lightly scrub or brush in circles and then wipe off with a clean cloth.
Preventative measures are the best course of action. Here are a few tips:
- Remember to wipe down each seat. Make sure to dry deep within the creases. Lift up each seat cushions.
- Seal all leaks!
- Make sure all inflatables, ropes and ties, and life jackets are dried before storing or simply remove from the vessel.
- Use a boat cover, but reduce the humidity as much as possible.
- Make sure your boat is properly ventilated.
If you every do encounter a time when the mildew and mold cause excessive damage to the seats and cushions of your boat, you may need to reupholster your interior. Fortunately, there are several companies that specialize in this service. Happy Boating!!
Photo Credit: Used Pontoon Boats For Sale
(Remember to inspect your boat lines and dock ties and replace as needed. Boat lines and dock ties weather and weaken over time.)