You’ve spent all that money on your pontoon, so you certainly don’t want it to depreciate in value or become tatty and tired looking. Well, I don’t at least!

Keeping your pontoon boat seats clean isn’t hard, but I know how it can be after a day’s fishing, or once you’ve had guests on board; sometimes it’s the last thing that you want to do!

But, by cleaning your pontoon boats seats after every trip, or at least very regularly, you are going to save yourself a whole lot of money and trouble in the future, as well as some nasty surprises when you next take your boat out.

The type of things I mean can be decaying food, fishy water, spilt drinks, oil, and even mildew which can develop over time in damp areas of your boat.

The stains and dirt I am going to be addressing in this tutorial include:

  • Mildew and mold that appears on vinyl
  • Stubborn orange stains on pontoon vinyl seats
  • And some small details on re-coating

So, what’s the best way to clean pontoon boat seats quickly, easily, and cheaply, plus so you don’t damage the upholstery?

I am going to tell you, so read on for my tips on how to keep your seats clean so that they last longer, and you don’t need to pay for expensive replacement covers. It also includes some advice on how to remove mildew stains from your boat seats.

How Do You Remove Mildew Stains from Boat Seats?

Mildew stains, man I hate them!

I’ve kept my pontoon in storage for up to 6 months at a time, and every time I’ve pulled her out of the garage, there’s a mass of mildew built up on the vinyl seats.

I tried several different cleaners and a nylon brush, scrubbed like crazy, and still never got the results that I was looking for.

The biggest problem was getting into the nooks and crannies in the seats to get the mildew out. It was hard work, and I didn’t succeed.

But then I saw an awesome video tutorial on YouTube which showed a guy cleaning his pontoon vinyl seats using a combination of two products.

What You Will Need

Now before you even consider buying similar products, please take note. I did use what I thought were similar cheaper products the first time, but they just didn’t do the trick.

It’s not just me who considers these two products to the best pontoon boat upholstery cleaners, but also tons of pontooners on YouTube who have put their own seat cleaning tutorials together.

All the top results when you search for “how to clean pontoon boats” on YouTube will typically feature a guy using these two items as their recommended pontoon boat upholstery cleaners – and once you use them yourself you will understand why; I promise you.

These two products recommended above are quite simply outstanding and do the best job I’ve ever seen in cleaning vinyl boat seats. Ignore any reviews you see on Amazon, as they are not left by boat owners, mainly by people cleaning their house.

With the CLR mold and mildew stain remover, you simply spray it all over the vinyl, and into those gaps, nooks, and crannies which are always the toughest part to clean.

You leave the spray on for about 60 seconds then take your Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge and bucket and start to wipe away the mildew.

Handy Hint: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is abrasive, so don’t push down hard as you could damage the vinyl over time. You only need to make light pressure smooth cleaning movements.

The great thing about using a sponge like this one is that, unlike a brush, you can push it down into any gaps with your finger and pull along to remove mildew stains in one smooth movement. It also works really well in getting into the creases that are typical with vinyl boat seats.

Wipe the pontoon seats clean

You can then wipe clean using the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge for amazing results.

You might need to do this a couple of times but believe me it worked.

There were still a couple of areas that I couldn’t get into with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge, so I just used a standard cotton bud. Simple.

Once I’d removed the mildew using the sponge, I wiped back over the vinyl using a clean and damp cloth to remove any excess damp and dirt residue that was left.

And that’s it!

This method works perfectly not just for seats, but for any upholstery or handles inside of the pontoon boat.

How Do You Clean Orange Stains from Vinyl Seats?

That other guy at the dock who “knows everything” told you it’s impossible to clean those classic discoloring marks or orange stains off vinyl boats seats.

He is wrong!

I have a method which could help you to get around 90% of the orange staining off.

These orange stains are probably mold spores, perhaps suntan lotion stains, or similar and can be removed in almost the same way to my earlier tip, but with a couple of differences.

What You Will Need

Firstly, you will need to spray the Greased Lightning product onto the stains, and let it sit for 60 seconds.

Orange Vinyl Stains

Let’s clean those stubborn orange stains.

Then you take a sanding sponge block and with barely any pressure start to work your way over the orange stains. I use a sanding block because these orange stains are much harder to remove than standard mildew and mold, so you need something with a little more bite and abrasion.

After that initial effort, you then finish it off withCLR Mold and Mildew stain remover that I referenced earlier.

This will take off the initial orange staining.

You might still have some staining, and in most cases, it will have been reduced to a tan color which isn’t as visible to the eye but will still be noticeable to you.

Your final task it to get the last stains out of the vinyl seats with a trusty Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge. Spray the CLR spray onto the sponge (keep it wet with spray at all times) and start to work into the stains in a circular motion.

Once done, wipe the sections down using a clean and damp cloth in the same way we did before.

Using this method, you should be able to significantly reduce how those stains look.

But I want my pontoon seats even cleaner! I can still see some slight stains and marks!

OK I hear you.

If that’s the case, you might want to consider the next step.

Re-Coat Your Vinyl Boat Seats

If there’s anything remaining after you have completed the tasks above, then there is a final solution that should get you closer to the seats looking brand new again other than reupholstering them (find out how to do that here).

That extra step requires you to tape and mask-off the surrounding areas of the seats and then re-coat the seat tops. The best products for this are SEM vinyl prep (find on Amazon) and marine vinyl spray (also on Amazon).

You take the seats out if you can, lay them in a clean and dry area after the initial cleaning steps.

Then use the SEM vinyl prep as a primer. Once that’s set, you can use a marine vinyl spray to re-coat the seats properly and then let them cure before placing back into the boat.

That’s a how-to article for another day though, so please keep coming back to Pontoonopedia or use the search function in the side bar to search for the appropriate seat re-coating guide.