Cleaning marine upholstery: tips, advice and professional services

The upholstery is what we call the system that makes our couches, seats and chairs comfortable. Everything that we sit on is supported by a wooden, plastic or metal frame. It’s the upholstery that comes between us and the frame, allowing us to comfortably rest on that hard frame for up to hours at a time.

Upholstery includes the leather covers, fabric, padding, coils, springs or webbing that is fastened onto the wooden or plastic frame.

Marine upholstery is the same as upholstery; the only difference is that it’s tougher than the usual. This is because marine upholstery is designed for use in boat seats, so it has to be able to endure direct sunlight and different types of weather or temperatures. It also has to withstand being exposed to water whether it comes in spray, droplets or really very large amounts. The normal upholstery will crack or split under these conditions.

It should also be mentioned that marine upholstery can also be used for seats in convertibles or top-down cars or furniture that is often left outside.

What Makes Marine Upholstery Tough?

Instead of the usual stuffing, closed-cell foam is used for the cushions. This is covered by vinyl or any material that can resist UV rays and extreme temperatures.

The zippers on the covers are usually made of nylon and not any metal and any sewing is done with Dacron thread. If used in boats this type of upholstery should only be fastened using stainless steel hardware to marine-quality wood.

The entire system is designed to keep water out, not to absorb it and dry quickly.

Cleaning Marine Upholstery

You may think the upholstery won’t get dirty or dusty just because your boat is on the water and not in the road, but it actually can. Poor maintenance can lead to the buildup of dirt and this may soon lead to damage like wear and cracking. You don’t want water entering the seat as this may lead to mold in areas you can’t normally reach.

To clean off any mildew or mold that may have accumulated on the upholstery you will need scrub it twice with different mixtures.

First, mix a small amount of ammonia with one and a half cups of water and half cup of hydrogen peroxide. Dip a brush into the mixture and scrub the upholstery. Be sure to use latex gloves.

After that, mix two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid into half a gallon of water. Dip the brush into this mixture and scrub the upholstery again.

After it has been cleaned you can apply a coat vinyl protectant. This will keep the upholstery from drying and cracking under the sun, make sure you get one that is really designed for vinyl otherwise it won’t be of much use to you.

Upholstery in boats should be cleaned twice a year.

You may not always have the time, the tools or the patience to deal with cleaning marine upholstery, especially if there is a lot to be cleaned and you haven’t done so for a long time. The good news is that we do and we can guarantee we do a good job.


Address 1:

3/7 Grosvenor Place, Brookvale NSW 2100

Address 2:

PO Box 7374, Warringah Mall NSW 2100