How to clean tree sap off your boat seats

Tree sap is one of the most common causes of damage to vinyl boat seats.  It can get on vinyl seats while the boat is uncovered or if a small portion of the cover comes loose, exposing the vinyl.

The real problem with tree sap is that it melts easily into the seats in the sun or hot weather, making it next to impossible to clean off.  It is best to take preventative measures to keep tree sap off your boat whenever possible and to clean it off quickly if it does become a problem.

Keep tree sap off your boat seats

Keep your boat covered when not in use.  It is also a good idea to do a thorough check of your boat when you pull it out of winterization.  Tree sap has a sneaky way of getting in through even the tiniest of holes in your boat cover.  Also, if you leave your boat uncovered for a while to dry out after use before covering to prevent mildew, do a quick inspection before you put the cover on.

How to get tree sap off your boat seats

It is best to use a citrus-based cleaner without bleach to clean tree sap off your vinyl seats.  If that isn’t working, and you need something stronger, try using methyl hydrate.

Removing Mildew

Mildew is one of the most common problems with vinyl boat seats.  It often grows on seats when boats are covered because it thrives in warm, dark, damp places.  Mildew ends up smelling and looking bad, and it can eventually break down the vinyl your seats are made of.  It’s best to take measures to prevent it whenever possible and clean it up quickly once you realize it’s become a problem.

Avoid mildew on your boat seats

After an outing, try to let your boat dry out before you cover it.  It is a good idea to let it sit with the storage compartments open to dry well before covering for extended periods of time.

When you do cover it, be sure to stick in a moisture absorbing, mildew prevention substance.  You can buy buckets of commercially produced mildew prevention solution or you can try one of many popular household products.  A tin or two of charcoal bricks (not match light!) works very well.

If mold is allowed to grow it will also penetrate the vinyl and over time it will not be able to be removed, the only thing left to do is to re-dye or replace.

Get mildew off your boat seats

You should use a mold and mildew killer and cleaner to stop mildew in its tracks and prevent it from continuing to grow.  You can buy these at any gardening store and most marine suppliers.