How To Clean Boat Upholstery? Answered

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You know the old saying – “A clean boat is a happy boat!”
Keeping your boat’s upholstery fresh and clean is not only essential for the overall aesthetic but also for the safety of those on board.

Cleaning your boat’s upholstery can seem like a daunting task, but with the right supplies and knowledge, it can be a breeze.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps of how to safely and effectively clean boat upholstery.

You’ll be enjoying clean, safe upholstery in no time!

Gather the Necessary Supplies

To get started, you’ll need to gather a few supplies – a sponge, some mild detergent, and a vacuum cleaner – to make your project a success. Gather the necessary items before you start to ensure the job is done correctly and safely.

When it comes to cleaning boat upholstery, you need to gather some essential items. These include fresh water, a soft rag or wash mitt, a vacuum cleaner, a marine-grade vinyl upholstery cleaner or a mix of water and a bit of dish soap, a brush with soft bristles, and some clean microfiber cloth pieces.

It’s important to avoid using any harsh cleaning products, particularly bleach and brushes with stiff bristles on your boat’s seats. You may also need to get some specialized products such as the Ultimate Boat Interior Cleaning Kit, 3M 09023 Marine Vinyl Cleaner, and Gtechniq Marine Interior Cleaner.

With the correct supplies and steps, you can make sure the upholstery on your boat is spick and span, and protected too.

To ensure thorough cleaning, you’ll need to prepare the upholstery for the cleaning process. Start by vacuuming the area to remove any loose dirt or debris. This will help to ensure that the cleaning product is able to penetrate deep into the fabric and lift out any stubborn dirt. Vacuuming will also help to reduce any allergens that may be in the fabric.

After you’ve finished vacuuming, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Prepare the Upholstery for Cleaning

Before you start, take a moment to examine the fabric and note any stubborn stains or areas that may require extra attention. This will help you plan ahead and ensure that you use the right cleaning solution to address any particular issue.

As you look for any problem areas, check for signs of mildew, discoloration, and wear and tear. These are all signs that indicate the fabric needs to be taken care of.

Once you’ve identified any areas that need special attention, it’s time to prepare the upholstery. Start by vacuuming the fabric, paying special attention to any areas that have stubborn dirt or stains.

If you’re dealing with an oily stain, use a dry-cleaning solvent, such as mineral spirits, to pre-treat the area. This will help to break down the oils and make them easier to remove.

With the upholstery prepared, you can now move on to choosing the right cleaning solution.

Choose the Right Cleaning Solution

You’ll want to make sure you select the perfect cleaning solution to handle the job, so you can restore the fabric to its former glory. Look for the following when choosing the right cleaner for your boat upholstery:

  1. Check to see what type of material the upholstery is made of. Certain cleaning solutions are designed to work on specific materials, so make sure to select the right one.
  2. Be sure to read the label. Some cleaning solutions may be too harsh for certain fabrics, so make sure to check for this prior to using them.
  3. Look for cleaners that are designed for boat upholstery. This will help ensure that the cleaner will be effective at removing dirt and grime without damaging the fabric.

Your upholstery will be back to its former glory in no time if you take the time to select the right cleaning solution.

Once you have the right cleaner, you’ll be ready to begin the process of cleaning and rinsing your boat upholstery.

Clean and Rinse the Upholstery

Gently lathering the fabric with the chosen cleaner, the dirt and grime are soon washed away, leaving the fabric squeaky clean and ready for a thorough rinse.

Take extra precautions not to scrub too hard, as this can damage the fabric. Use a soft brush to gently scrub the upholstery, taking care to pay extra attention to any areas where dirt and grime are more stubbornly stuck.

Once the area is completely washed, give the fabric a good rinse with a hose or wet cloth to remove any residue from the cleaner.

The fabric should now be sparkling clean and ready to dry and protect.

Dry the Upholstery and Apply Protectant

Now that your upholstery is free of dirt and grime, it’s time to get it nice and dry so it stays looking great for years to come.

To do this, you’ll want to grab some towels and gently pat the fabric until it’s dry. Make sure to pay extra attention to any areas where dirt or moisture may have been especially stubborn.

Once you’re done, you’ll want to apply a protectant to the fabric to help protect it from the elements. A good quality fabric protectant will keep the fabric looking new for longer.

To apply, simply spray the protectant onto the fabric and spread it evenly. Allow the fabric to dry completely before use.

By taking the time to dry and protect your upholstery, you can rest assured that your boat will be looking its best for years to come.


You’ve done it! You now have a clean and refreshed boat upholstery! You can now enjoy your boat with friends and family without having to worry about the upholstery being dirty.

However, before you get too comfortable, remember that the work isn’t done yet. You still need to keep on top of the maintenance so that your boat upholstery stays in great condition.

So, don’t forget to clean it regularly and apply a protectant to keep it looking like new. After all, you’ve done all this work for nothing if you don’t keep up the maintenance!