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cleaning white vinyl upholstery

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  • cleaning white vinyl upholstery

    My '89 Malibu spends the summer outside, under a hoist cover. The vinyl upholstery is getting pretty gunky, with a lot of little black spots speckled all about with a light grey haze. What is the best current thinking on cleaning boat vinyl?
    1989 Malibu Skier EuroF3, 5.7 Comp Ski Mercruiser IB
    1999 Cobia 194 CC w/ 130 Yamaha 2 stroke

  • #2
    Re: cleaning white vinyl upholstery

    Originally posted by cj7ole View Post
    My '89 Malibu spends the summer outside, under a hoist cover. The vinyl upholstery is getting pretty gunky, with a lot of little black spots speckled all about with a light grey haze. What is the best current thinking on cleaning boat vinyl?
    i use magic erasers to clean then use aerospace 305 protectant for the vinyl.
    1996 Chris Craft Concept 23
    5.8 Fuel Injected VP Duoprop

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    • #3
      Re: cleaning white vinyl upholstery

      There are quite a few good cleaners and some that do almost nothing. Part of the way to be very effective is to use a nylon scrub brush when you use the cleaner. A regular brush from Walmart or anywhere, but it's best if it's nylon.
      I use 'Starbrite" which comes concentrated and I just mix some in a used water bottle with a sip top to keep in the boat and for whenever I clean. It's cheap, effective and nontoxic. Many people give rave reviews to 'Totally Awesome' vinyl and leather cleaner. The 303 protectant is great after the seats are clean. (The 303 cleaner is lousy though)

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      • #4
        Re: cleaning white vinyl upholstery

        Originally posted by rallyart View Post
        (The 303 cleaner is lousy though)
        I will second this. Cleans about as good as plain tap water. I think 303 was just trying to cash in on the good rep of their protectant and waterproofing products when they brought this stuff to market.
        2012 Stingray 195CX / VP 4.3GL

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        • #5
          Re: cleaning white vinyl upholstery

          Those little specs are mildew right? Exposed to constant high humidity is a killer.

          Once you get them clean (like rallyart said, use scrub brush (think tub scrubber))....and a coat of 303 or equivalent vinyl protectant (puts a nice seal coat on vinyl) then also i would recommend a coating of mildew preventer (3m makes a good one , otherwise there are plenty of others).

          Don't use a magic eraser unless it is a last resort (tough spot) it is a abrasive and will change (damage) the finish of your vinyl. Ever use it on a wall?... it changes the finish permanently. Because it is polishing (wet sanding) off the gloss of wall paint.... use sparingly and lighlty.

          303 Cleaner - thats funny since i think their protectant works pretty good as a cleaner! haha (but i suppose water works decent to for a lot of already protected surfaces)
          2012 Tahoe Q5 SF (19'5", 4.3L Merc 190hp, Minnkota PD-V2 55#, Lowrance Elite-4)
          Projects: Hour Meter under dash, Engine compartment LED lights, & Side storage red mood light Thread

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          • #6
            Re: cleaning white vinyl upholstery

            Originally posted by BoatDrinksQ5 View Post
            303 Cleaner - thats funny since i think their protectant works pretty good as a cleaner! haha (but i suppose water works decent to for a lot of already protected surfaces)
            I think I would use the regular 303 protectant as a cleaner before I would reach for my bottle of 303 cleaner too.
            2012 Stingray 195CX / VP 4.3GL

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            • #7
              Re: cleaning white vinyl upholstery

              Spray 9 and Castrol Superclean are great for vinyl. use some armorall afterward....

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              • #8
                Re: cleaning white vinyl upholstery

                When I had my white seats redone about 10 years ago I asked the guy at the upholstery shop what to use and was a little shocked at what he told me but i have used it ever since and my boat is immaculate. He said just keep a sponge on the boat and when something is dirty wet the sponge and put a couple of drops (or a dollop) of Soft Scrub w/ bleach. It works for the first scrub of the year just as well as regular touch up. Once clean either take another sponge or ring this one out and rinse the area again. Like I said - it all still looks like new. I get complements from everybody. Unfortunately I don't have any good pics or I would show you. It is SO hot here in Atlanta this weekend I am not going to the lake.
                sigpic
                1991 Chaparral 2000SL
                Volvo Penta 5.7 SS Duoprop

                A bad day on the water beats a good day doing almost anything else!

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                • #9
                  Re: cleaning white vinyl upholstery

                  Ok, I went at it with a stiff nylon bristle brush and RV black streak remover (Full Timers Choice brand) straight from the spray bottle. It actually worked pretty good for everything but the black specs. I used it because it is what I has on hand. The contents are labeled alkaline detergent and noted as safe for everything. Took off 23 years worth of grime from sweat and suntan lotion and dirty feet. Next opportunity I will try bleach on the black spots. I bought some 303 protectant to finish it off. Man that stuff is expensive, $20 for a pint. Yikes.
                  1989 Malibu Skier EuroF3, 5.7 Comp Ski Mercruiser IB
                  1999 Cobia 194 CC w/ 130 Yamaha 2 stroke

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                  • #10
                    Re: cleaning white vinyl upholstery

                    the magic eraser is like taking sandpaper to your vinyl. it will clean it, however it will remove the protective outer layer of the vinyl to do it. I use starbrite or mequires
                    Cheesehead boating the Gulf Coast of FLA 27.51° N, 82.53° W

                    1988 Cruisers Rogue 2420 -VP 290 DP now powered by custom 468 - https://forums.iboats.com/forum/owner...988-rogue-2420

                    Past Boats
                    1970 Wooster Hellion - Merc 9.8
                    2002 SeaRay 190BR - 5.0 - A1G2 - "Cheeseheads in Paradise"
                    1984 Avanti 170DLI -3.0 stringer- "Ship Happens"

                    What’s behind you doesn’t matter.Enzo Ferrari

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                    • #11
                      Re: cleaning white vinyl upholstery

                      Spray Nine does a great job on white or light vinyl. And it does a good job on mold stains.

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                      • #12
                        Re: cleaning white vinyl upholstery

                        Originally posted by Scott Danforth View Post
                        the magic eraser is like taking sandpaper to your vinyl. it will clean it, however it will remove the protective outer layer of the vinyl to do it. I use starbrite or mequires
                        Assault Squadron NINE
                        River Assault Division NINETY-ONE-1966

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                        • #13
                          Re: cleaning white vinyl upholstery

                          Magic Eraser or more aptly the generic version where you get twice as many for less money can do some unintended damage to a lot of surfaces. I only resort to it for toe nail polish on the sun pad that seems to easily come off my wifes pedicures. Also, when the seats do come clean, a new microfiber cloth and warm water with no chemical cleaner does wonders after a week on the boat. I follow up with Meguiars Rubber and Vinyl Protectant with a sunscreen.
                          2002 Chaparral 220 SSi
                          350 MAG MPI
                          Bravo 1

                          2011 Yamaha FX Sho

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                          • #14
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                            Re: cleaning white vinyl upholstery

                            For all of you that are writing to not use Mr. Clean Magic Erasers on your vinyl....THANK YOU!! I run an upholstery shop and have been telling people that for years , especially here on iBoats, and it's tough to get some to listen. As noted, it will remove the protective layer of the vinyl and allow excessive damage to start. It might be OK to use if you're getting rid of the boat, but if you want it to last another year, I would leave it alone.

                            I always use soap & water and Clorox Clean-Up on the tough spots. It's only 1% bleach and will not harm the material or the stitching.
                            2001 Carver Voyager 374 'Stick's Competition'

                            Something tells me I should be on the water....

                            If I answer your upholstery questions, it's only because I've been doing it 20+ years...

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