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Mildew on boats is all too common. However, the story need not always end in a hard-fought battle with mildew stains. There is an easier solution. Our Aquaguard™ Marine Vinyl Auto/Boat Upholstery Fabric is designed to be mildew resistant and anti-fungal. We manufacture it to be of the highest quality of fabric and it boasts a superior level of resistance to environmental challenges, greatly reducing the growth of mildew. Aquaguard™ Marine Vinyl is a stylish and practical option for boat owners looking for durability and ease of maintenance. It looks great and is available in dozens of colors to boost the aesthetic appeal of your boat seats but it also saves precious time that would have been spent cleaning stubborn mildew stains.

But, let’s pretend the vinyl is quite old or you didn’t use our marine vinyl… that’s a very common tale. Boat owners around the world struggle with one common enemy – mildew. It persistently clings to boat seats, ruining how it looks and creating an unwelcoming environment. We came across this Youtube video from the channel Wayne the Boat Guy. Mildew was the problem our sailor faced when he discovered stubborn mildew spots on his boat seat vinyl. Because he lives in a humid area and despite proper winterization and care he continues to have mildew problems. He had tried everything from approved cleaners, lemons, bleach, to Oxalic Acid and still could not achieve his desired results. Today, we’ll be sharing his trials and tribulations as he battled against these stubborn stains.

Wayne first tried a variety of approved cleaners for vinyl, including white vinegar, soap, water, and Dawn, using both stiff and soft brushes. However, these methods failed to erase the age-old mildew stains, and he was particularly cautious about the potential for bleach-based cleaners to harm the essential stitching on his marine vinyl.

Homemade Remedies. How do they fare?

In an experimental twist, he even turned to lemons, as per a suggestion found on a car forum. They demonstrated how rubbing lemons on mildew stains allegedly made a significant difference. However, much to his disappointment, the lemons had no effect on his stubborn boat seat stains, despite various applications.

Next, he tried a little bit of bleach. Given the warnings about bleach’s potential harm to stitching, he applied the bleach carefully on areas far from seams. Unfortunately, this method was also unfruitful, as the stains proved to be more stubborn than anticipated.

He then attempted using Bar Keeper’s Friend, an Oxalic Acid-based cleaner that he usually used on the hull of the boat. While the Bar Keeper’s Friend did an excellent job on the hull, removing rust and water stains, it sadly had little effect on the vinyl seat.

What works the best?

Our sailor’s trials didn’t end here. He then tried the Star Brite Mildew Stain Remover. He applied the remover, allowed it to soak for a bit, scrubbed it with a plastic brush, and then wiped it down. This method seemed to provide better results than the others, reducing the darkness of the mildew considerably. After two treatments, the results were not perfect but were better than anything else he tried. There was still visible staining, particularly along the seams which is a hard to clean area of any seat.

Wayne’s experiments and adventures in cleaning his boat seats demonstrated the tenacity of mildew stains on boat seat vinyl. Many of the popular and commonly recommended methods he tried failed to completely remove the stains.

But, as mentioned above if you are reupholstering your seats or manufacturing seats you can use a marine vinyl that is designed to be mildew resistant like our AquaGuard Marine Vinyl fabric!

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844-BIG-Z-FAB (244-9322)

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