Owning a boat means maintaining a boat. The salty air is a harsh mistress, and without care, your boat will suffer. All surfaces need attention, from fiberglass to teak to vinyl. In order to keep your boat looking great, you need to keep your vinyl clean, free of mildew, mold, tanning lotions, and the like.
In this article, review the Best Marine Vinyl Cleaners available. We’ve also got a Buyer’s Guide to give you additional context for your choice. We’ll start with a comparison table to get oriented, and then jump in with the Best Boat Vinyl Cleaner, the Marine Vinyl Cleaner by 3M.
Best Boat Vinyl Cleaner
Our Top Pick: 3M Marine Vinyl Cleaner
Key Points at a Glance
- Cleaner, protectant, and conditioner
- Protects from water, weather, grime, and stains
- Non-toxic formula
Our top choice is this marine vinyl cleaner from 3M, and it combines a reasonable price point with ease of use and excellent cleaning characteristics. One of the best things about this product is that it saves you money since it plays the role of three different solutions: cleaner, conditioner, and protectant.
When using this 3M seat cleaner, you won’t have to fumble around with three different bottles any longer or follow a complicated order so that the result can come out. All you have to do is squeeze a little bit of this gel out of the bottle and onto a microfiber cloth and then slowly apply it to your boat seats or whatever surface you intend to clean.
Other than cleaning and protecting, this 3M vinyl cleaner also features restorative properties. If you have any old or worn upholstery on your boat, it will shine like new when you apply some of this marine vinyl cleaner. This solution is also designed to shield your boat seats from the effects of the water and the weather.
This solution has been formulated so that it’s non-toxic, so you won’t have to worry about wearing any gloves or other protective wear when applying it to your vessel. Versatility is another huge advantage to this product, as it can be used with a wide range of different surfaces, including wood, metal, tile, nylon, fiberglass, and more.
Despite being so capable, this 3M vinyl cleaner features a reasonable price point, though we’d recommend picking up a larger bottle since its 3-in-1 formula means that you’ll be using it everywhere.
This is the best boat vinyl cleaner available.
- Gives vinyl a protective treatment
- Cleans vinyl to keep it looking new
- Restores natural sheen
- Formulated for tough marine conditions
- Easy to apply formula for use on vinyl and leather
Key Points at a Glance
- Biodegradable and non-toxic
- Safe for use on carpets and plastic
- Prevents the growth of mold and mildew
In second place, you’ll find the Vinyl Sauce cleaner from Boat Bling. It performs similarly to the previous product from 3M, though it features a different format and a slightly higher price point. It really is closely on par with the 3M cleaner, and is an excellent alternative option. Boat Bling is a great brand, and made our list of the Best Boat Wax as well.
This versatile cleaner can be used to clean off vinyl, but it’s also formulated to work well with leather, making it an excellent option for boats with more luxurious upholstery. This cleaner is also safe for use on carpets and plastic fixtures, so it can be used to keep most of your boat’s interior clean.
The formula of this seat cleaner is also meant to be as safe as possible since it uses non-toxic ingredients and is biodegradable. Another thing we loved about this cleaner was how powerful it is. The Boat Bling vinyl cleaner was designed to make it through a tough layer of grime, and even the dirtiest surfaces can be cleaned up with a few sprays.
Vinyl Sauce can also be used on painted surfaces without any fear of damaging the paint. As we mentioned earlier, the only downside to this product is that it’s a little more expensive than competing products which do a similar job. Keep in mind that it’s sold in multiple sizes, though.
The Vinyl Sauce is our runner up choice of the best marine vinyl cleaner.
- Removes dirt, sunblock, oils, and mildew
- Safe on vinyl, leather, plastic and carpet
- Helps prevent mold and mildew growing during...
Key Points at a Glance
- Cleaner and protectant
- Leaves a glossy sheen
- The spray bottle is easy to use
If you’re looking for a quality vinyl cleaner, but you also want to save some money on your purchase, this product from Meguiar’s is an excellent choice. Unlike other cleaners in the same price range, this one also features protective qualities, so it will be sure to stave off wear and tear.
This versatile solution is designed to clean vinyl, rubber, and plastic, so it isn’t as versatile as some of the more expensive vinyl cleaner varieties. Meguiars always makes good cleaning products, and the Marine Vinyl Cleaner is no exception. It brings your boat seats back to life!
This cleaner is formulated with a conditioner, so it will keep your surfaces in top shape, even after it has been applied. The conditioner is designed to prevent surfaces from fading or cracking, especially if they’re exposed to the sunlight for an extended period of time.
The convenient spray bottle makes it easier to apply this cleaner and protectant, as you can spray it directly on to hard-to-reach places and then use a cloth or a bristle brush to work it in. When it comes to value for money, this cleaner is your best option.
- PREMIUM INGREDIENTS: A complex blend of premium...
- NATURAL SHEEN: Leaves vinyl, rubber and plastics...
- SURFACE PROTECTION: Conditioners help prevent boat...
- SPECIALLY FORMULATED: Formula geared toward the...
- EASY TO USE: Convenient spray trigger allows you...
Best Aerosol: Shurhold Yacht Brite YBP-0701 Serious Shine Aerosol
Key Points at a Glance
- Leaves a high-gloss finish
- Features anti-static and UV-inhibiting ingredients
- Comes in an aerosol can
For those who prefer their vinyl cleaner in an aerosol can due to their ease of use, Yacht Brite from Shurhold is likely what they’re looking for. This vinyl cleaner is designed to clean surfaces while leaving behind a protective covering that will protect vinyl and other materials from wear and the elements.
An anti-static and UV-inhibiting formula will ensure that your boat’s surfaces are fully protected from all kinds of damage. Once the coating has been applied, it will also repel water from the surface that it’s on, preventing potential damage from having it soak in.
This product is formulated to remove dirt and stains from a wide range of surfaces, and it can be used to clean both the interior and the exterior of your boat. Unlike some other vinyl cleaners, this one is just as good at cleaning hard surfaces, and it leaves behind a glossy shine that doesn’t feel waxy.
While this cleaner is a little more expensive than some of the other options, the pressurized can that it comes in makes it much easier to apply in tight spots. Overall, if you don’t mind paying a little bit extra for the convenience of the aerosol container, you’ll be sure to like this vinyl cleaner.
- Cleans, polishes and protects
- Contains UV inhibitors and anti-static properties
- Provides high gloss and a UV protective coating...
- Use in the car and RV, around the boat or in the...
- 14 ounce aerosol
Best Protectant: 303 Aerospace Protectant
Key Points at a Glance
- Superior UV protection
- Spray bottle
- Leaves a matte finish when dry
The 303 Aerospace Protectant is one of the pricier vinyl cleaners on this list. That’s because it’s specially formulated as a protectant, rather than a cleaner. For maximum effectiveness, this product will have to be coupled with a purpose-made cleaner. What makes this product worth the price is its sheer effectiveness as a long-term protectant.
Along with lasting longer than other kinds of vinyl protectants, this product also does an excellent job of keeping your boat’s surfaces from wearing away. Since the Aerospace Protectant won’t have to be applied as frequently as cheaper products, it may even save you money in the long run.
This protectant features UV blockers that prevent the underlying surface from fading or cracking due to constant exposure to sunlight. Unlike some of the other protectants, this one features a matte finish. Still, it’s up to personal preference whether or not you prefer it to the glossier finishes left behind by other products.
The spray bottle makes this protectant easy to apply, and the powerful formula keeps your boat in the best shape possible. If you want to keep your boat as protected as possible and you don’t mind the slightly higher price tag, we’d recommend 303’s Aerospace Protectant.
- Powerful UV blockers prevent fading, cracking and...
- Dries to a clear matte finish
- Restores lost color and luster
- Safe and effective for: vinyl, Plexiglas, carbon...
- Cleaner Size: 32 oz.
Boat Vinyl Cleaner Buyer’s Guide
Who Should Buy a Boat Vinyl Cleaner?
Boat vinyl cleaners are typically purchased by boat owners, but you may be surprised to hear that they’re versatile enough to be used in a wide range of applications. Along with cleaning the upholstery on your vessel, you can also use it in your car or RV to clean off any similar surfaces.
Along with cleaning up vinyl, some types of cleaners can be used with other kinds of surfaces, though you should always read the label to make sure that the solution won’t do any damage. Whether you use your boat for fishing or simple pleasure cruises, keeping it clean will make it more enjoyable for passengers, and it will look nicer.
Other than cleaning your vinyl, many cleaners will also protect it from wear and tear as well as UV damage from the sun’s rays. This can improve the lifespan of the vinyl on your boat, potentially saving you money in the long run as it won’t have to be replaced as soon.
Even if you have a relatively old boat with worn-out surfaces, a thorough cleaning with some vinyl cleaner will allow you to restore their luster, making your boat look as good as new. Other than seats and upholstery, most types of vinyl cleaner can be used with cushions, covers, sails, plastic, wood, metal, and more.
Important Features to Consider
Type of Cleaner
The first thing to consider is whether you need a simple vinyl cleaner or a 2-in-1 cleaner and protectant. If your boat doesn’t have to put up with saltwater or relatively harsh conditions, then you may not need to pay extra for a vinyl protector. On the other hand, protective cleaners are a smart choice for fishers and customers who use their boats more frequently.
When buying some vinyl cleaner, you’ll typically get a better deal when you buy a larger amount at a time. We would recommend trying smaller bottles from various brands until you find the best one for your needs, and then go ahead and buy a large size. This ensures that you won’t end up with a bunch of vinyl cleaner that doesn’t work for you.
Vinyl cleaners come in many different forms. Traditional cleaners come in liquid or gel forms and are applied with the use of a microfiber cloth. Other types include aerosolized cleaners, which can be sprayed onto surfaces with relative ease and spray bottle cleaners, which are similarly easy to apply.
Non-Toxic and Biodegradable
When searching for the best vinyl cleaner, you may also want to look for a product that is non-toxic and environmentally friendly. Toxic cleaners can be hazardous to apply, and if you spend a lot of time on your boat, they may even pose a health risk to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I apply a vinyl cleaner to my boat’s surfaces?
The frequency with which you use vinyl cleaner will depend on a variety of factors, including how often you use your boat, the weather you sail in, the kind of water that you’re in, how you store your boat, and more. It also depends on the type of vinyl cleaner that you’re using, and most will instruct you on how often they need to be reapplied before their protective coating wears off.
What is the best way to apply boat vinyl cleaner?
The best application method depends on the kind of cleaner that you’re using, but most of them should be gently worked into the vinyl with a microfiber cloth. Conditioners and protectants should be sprayed onto the surface and then allowed to sit for a few minutes before wiping off any of it that remains.
Do you need to use a vinyl cleaner before using a protectant?
If the vinyl surfaces on your boat are dirty, then you will have to use a cleaner before applying protectant, as protectants aren’t designed to break down grime. Any dirt that remains on the surface when the protectant is applied will reduce its effectiveness, so cleaning is an essential step.
Do I still need to cover my boat when using a protectant?
While a protectant will help keep the surfaces of your boat clean and resistant to wear for some time after application, you will always want to cover your boat when you put it into storage. For one thing, the untreated surfaces on your vessel will still wear at their regular rate, and leaving your boat uncovered will also wear away the protectant coating faster.
Other Products We Looked At:
Much like the previous vinyl cleaner from Meguiar’s, this product features a similarly affordable price point, so give it a look if you want to keep your boat looking spiffy on the cheap. As you can guess by the name, this cleaner leaves behind a glossy, almost mirror-like glaze after you use it to clean off your boat’s interior.
It can be used to clean vinyl, as well as other synthetic surfaces, including plastic, rubber, and urethane. This cleaner has been formulated to break through thick layers of dirt and grime, so you’ll be able to get through even the toughest of stains with a few sprays and a bristle brush.
Despite being a budget choice, this vinyl cleaner comes in a convenient spray bottle that makes it easy to apply. It’s recommended that you let this cleaner sit for a few seconds before you start to work it into the surface that you intend to clean, especially if the grime is relatively thick.
One of the only issues that we noticed with this vinyl cleaner was that it was a little less effective at removing things other than dirt, including wax and different kinds of residues.
Key Points at a Glance
- Heavy-duty formula
- Works on vinyl, plastic, rubber, and urethane
- Comes in a spray bottle
The TriNova boat vinyl cleaner is designed to provide additional protection from UV rays, so it’s perfect for boat owners who have their vessels spend a lot of time in the sun. The protective formula in this cleaner will prevent the upholstering and interior of your boat from cracking, weathering, or fading due to the effects of sunlight.
This versatile formula can be used on a range of different surfaces, including vinyl, plastic, rubber, carbon fiber, leather, and fiberglass. Other than your boat, you can use this solution to clean your car or RV as well. This protective spray will also prevent dust from accumulating on surfaces and will stop stains in their tracks.
Even if your boat is relatively old, this spray will revitalize any surfaces that you spray it on, bringing back both color and shine and keeping your boat looking brand-new. Like most other cleaners that come in a spray bottle, this one is relatively easy to apply.
This protective spray even features a slight coconut aroma, which is a nice change compared to the chemical scents that many other vinyl cleaners feature. If you’re specifically looking to protect your boat from the sun, then this is the right vinyl protectant spray for the job.
Key Points at a Glance
- Formulated to stop UV rays
- Restores old vinyl
- Easy to apply due to spray bottle
Another affordable choice, Babe’s Seat Soap boasts a reasonable price point and is designed to help chew through dirt, grime, and leftover suntan oil on your seats. This product is formulated to work with the most common marine seat materials, including vinyl, plastic, and leather.
Along with the cleaning ingredients, this product features a base solution that is meant to condition the seats that you’re cleaning. This will further reinforce the material and allow it to withstand additional wear and tear.
Thanks to the inclusion of a spray bottle, applying the Seat Soap is as easy as squirting some onto the seat that you wish to clean and then working it into the material with a cloth, brush, or towel.
This seat cleaner comes available in 1-pint and 1-gallon sizes. Overall, this vinyl cleaner just isn’t as versatile as our top budget pick, despite being a little more expensive, so it’s hard to recommend it over the alternative.
Key Points at a Glance
- Cleans vinyl, leather, and plastic
- Cleans and conditions
- Available in 1-pint and 1-gallon bottles
The final product that we’re going to review today is 303’s Boat Cleaning Spray. While this solution is a little more expensive than some of the other choices, it offers enhanced performance that allows it to get through the toughest layers of dirt and grime.
Along with cleaning off vinyl surfaces, this spray has some minor protective qualities, as it will prevent the material from cracking or yellowing. This is because 303’s Boat Cleaning Spray features ingredients that provide UV protection, preventing gradual damage by sunlight.
This spray also doesn’t streak when applied, so it will leave the interior of your boat looking like it did in the showroom.
Further improving this product’s versatility, it can even be used to clean off the hull of your boat, though it won’t work as well as a dedicated heavy-duty cleaner. Unfortunately, the high price of this vinyl cleaner means that it couldn’t earn a spot in our top five choices
Key Points at a Glance
- UV protection
- Doesn’t contain alcohol
- Comes in a 32 oz spray bottle
Boats can take a lot of work to keep maintained, and even small details like keeping the vinyl in good shape will go a long way towards reducing maintenance costs in the long run. We hope that this guide has helped you pick out the right boat vinyl cleaner for your needs, and we’ll see you out on the water.