View Full Version : Removing Upholstery Stains

07-06-2006, 12:17 AM
My family convinced me to leave the cover off of the boat this weekend to let it "air out" while we were camping. I had to leave the boat with the in-laws last week, and the cover got some mildew on it. I'm not sure if the boat was parked wet in the shade or what because I didn't drop it off or pick it up. I know that I have not had this problem with it parked in the driveway where it can dry. I bought some Tilex and that seems to remove the mildew from the cover. Does anyone have any suggestions on preventing mildew or removing mildew? Has anyone ever had a problem with certain products damaging the cover? I have purchased the cheapo cover but the in-laws did not have it to put on. The boat will not leave home without it from now on.

Back to the original reason for the post. I did decide to leave the cover off because I didn't want the mildew to continue to spread into the boat. The tree leaves and who knows what else got into the boat. Monday before putting the boat in the water, I had to take about two hours to drive to the car wash and vacuum and clean the carpet because I didn't want all that crap ground into the carpet once I got it full of people. That took so long and delayed me getting on the lake until after 12 so I didn't have time to clean between the cushions. Now I have some nice neon green stains on the upholstery. Some of the stitching is also discolored. Anybody have any good products for cleaning and removing stains from the upholstery and stitching?

07-06-2006, 04:39 AM
Try Spray-nine or 303, both products work well.

good luck, E

07-06-2006, 12:04 PM
Double ditto on those two recommendations.


07-06-2006, 12:30 PM
Go buy the Majic Erasers. They work wonders on all kinds of stains and dirt in the vinyl. You can get them in the household cleaning section of walmart or like stores.

07-06-2006, 01:19 PM
Originally posted by three6ty
Go buy the Majic Erasers. They work wonders on all kinds of stains and dirt in the vinyl. You can get them in the household cleaning section of walmart or like stores.

Put them in a ziplock bag and keep in your boat bag.
Get the stains/grease/red clay/pen/'lousy black stains from the swim platforms' off right away.

NH Moomba
07-06-2006, 08:40 PM
I have to admit I am not very good at cleaning the boat and often it gets put away wet so I have had more than my share of mildew issues. I have found the magic erasers work well but fall apart very easly. There is another brand that has the microfiber foam on one side and a blue foam on the other that works just as well but holds up much better. I recently had to have my rear locker re-stitched and brought it to a canvas awning shop. He sold me some powder that you mix with water. Using it with the magic eraser thing was a miracle. There were mildew stains that I have scrubbed at for years and given up on and this almost completely eliminated them. I left it in the boat which is at our camp so I cant tell he name of it right away bit it was ESCO or something like that. When you mix it up the water turns blue and smokes like a witches brew but then turns clear when it is ready to use. It does not seem to be caustic and the guy tells me it is safe for the stitching. He gave me a lecture about using bleach and Tilex. This stuff works great.


07-06-2006, 08:59 PM
Who makes spray nine or 303? Are these sold anywhere or are they Marine specific?


07-06-2006, 10:22 PM
303 can be purchased at most marine stores such as boaters world, west marine. I have even seen it at sports authority.

I have to also give props to the magic erasers.

I also really like the babes seat soap. It really cleans the vinyl well.


07-06-2006, 11:00 PM
Knights Marine Spray Nine is available from all the boating superstores and online.

Here (http://www.overtons.com/cgi-bin/overtons/detail/pdetail2.cgi?r=detail_view&item_num=23020&fcat=2Y1 E)

Here (http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/producte/10001/-1/10001/72444/0/0/spray%20niine/All_2/mode+matchallpartial/0/0)

And cheapest - Here (http://www.boatersworld.com/product/178060117msk.htm)

The "erasers" do work - but I worry they are removing the thin clear topcoat of the vinyl.

Oh, and always wipe down your vinyl with water after any deep cleaning - then dry, and apply 303 protectant.


07-06-2006, 11:55 PM
These stains are from berries and tree leaves that got between the cushions and then it rained. Its almost as if the juices dyed the upholstery. I have tried multiple cleaners as well as bleach with no luck. My local boater's world did not have 303 in stock but I'm ordering some today. What's the chances that I will have better luck with the 303 than the stuff I've already tried.

I wonder what the cost of reupholstering some of the removable cushions as well as the back deck lids would cost?

07-07-2006, 12:05 AM
tnboarder, my girlfriend made sandwiches for the kids and put their names on the ziplock bags to id whose they were. Well she used a sharpie to put the names on. Needless to say I pick up a empty ziplock and I see my sons name in the vinyl that had bleed off the bag.

I used some babes seat soap and it helped somewhat. Then magic eraser and a little more. Then heck with it and enjoy the boat. Long story short, a month later of sitting in the sun when we are out at the lake you can no longer see it. The sun bleached it out.


07-07-2006, 12:12 AM
The only problem is mine are between the cushions which do not get much sun. I thought the same thing about maybe with the water in there over time it will take care of itself. I am meticulous about cleaning my boat and it's frustrating having a month old boat with stains all over the cushions. I will never depend on someone else to take care of my boat again.

07-07-2006, 12:17 AM
You can usually find either or at any given marine center.

and some more links


07-07-2006, 01:29 AM
Originally posted by TN_Boarder
The only problem is mine are between the cushions which do not get much sun. I thought the same thing about maybe with the water in there over time it will take care of itself. I am meticulous about cleaning my boat and it's frustrating having a month old boat with stains all over the cushions. I will never depend on someone else to take care of my boat again.

I let mine sit out one afternoon, about 3 weeks after we got it, to dry out (sun is so much better than anything man can achieve).

Well, had 3 little spots where some form of pollen had fallen. Mustard looking stains. The ones in the back were redyed by dealer, the one up front they tried to fix, but, didnt work so well. Its between the upright bow piece and the front bow cushion. No one else can see, but "I know its there".

I feel your pain...

07-07-2006, 06:24 AM
I have not used the 303 cleaner, only the protectant. I can tell you that I had cleaned my old boat top to bottom for sale. I tried everythig to get it as clean as possible for potential customers. After about 2 months, I had to go back and do it again - by this time, I had my new boat, and the reccomendation of spray nine - I used it on the old boat, and stains that had been there for years just melted away! It eats them. Pretty amazing stuff !



07-09-2006, 10:17 PM
Hi Andy, if you remember the name of that stuff, let me know. I have a few stain/discolored spots I can't get clean.


NH Moomba
07-10-2006, 09:38 PM
I will be heading up to the camp next week and will check it out and get back to you.


07-11-2006, 01:10 AM
I can now attest to the Marine Nine being able to get Acai Juice stains out (off the vinyl and the stiching) - that stuff is VERY purple !

Had a friend come out mid day (101 degrees) and bring fresh smoothies... yummy !!! - but bad for the boat. Gotta love this stuff.


NH Moomba
07-20-2006, 03:41 PM
I am writing this from my boat! It seems one of my neighbors has left their wireless network wide open and I have broadband access from out on the lake. Way cool that I can VPN into work and get stuff done while floating in the boat. If only they made brighter LCD screens that I could see better in the sun. Anyways, I prommised somebody I would tell them the best stuff I found to remove mildew stains. It is from a company called IOSSO and is called Mold and Mildew Stain Remover. It comes in a powder form that you mix with water. Use it with a Magic Eraser and it worked wonders on my boat. I got it from a canvas awning shop. Here is a link I found on Google.



07-20-2006, 03:59 PM
Funny, (or not so much) I have those same friggin stains ... front bow cushion between the hull and the seat chushion little greenish yellow spots. they drive me bonkers. Ive tryed the marine spraynine...no luck, Im gonna try the magic eraser and see if that makes a difference. I was also told when I bought the boat that I should be careful because suntan lotion or sunscreen can discolour the upholstery.
Has anyone experienced this I always make people put towels between themselves and the cushions!

07-20-2006, 04:02 PM
Don't waste your time with the "Magic" Erasers. Already tried with no luck.

07-20-2006, 04:10 PM
Its just one of those things... they are there, you cant see them I meticulously inspect them all the time now looking for new stains... you would think there must be a way.
and i still dont know what they are from

07-20-2006, 04:26 PM
I did figure out what caused mine. The trees at the camp ground we frequent constantly drop these tiny spores that when crushed create a nice neon green stain. I had a bunch of them in the floor of the boat and on the ski platform and I noticed when I picked them up they were very easily smashed into this green stain on my fingers. Luckily I was able to clean all the stains off the carpet but I guess I left the ones on the upholstery a little to long. Moral of the story is, I always put my cover and my cover cover on as soon as we park the boat at the campsite, whether just arriving or coming off the water regardless of what the weather is. I also got the upholstery dealer number from SC and I am going to give them a call about bleaching, recoloring, or replacing the upholstery on the stained cushions and what it would cost. I will keep you posted.

07-20-2006, 04:38 PM
Thanks TN good luck with that maybe you will get lucky and they will have a magic stain remover for you!!

let me know how it turns out


07-22-2006, 10:36 AM
I wanted to recommend to you a product that has really worked well for me on boat clean up. The product is called "Sharp Shooter" and is made by 3M. When I uncovered my boat after winter I had some mildew in a few places on my seats and the sharpshooter took off the majority of the spots. The few spots that I could still see after cleaning faded and aren't visible anymore. This stuff works good on the seats, hull and dash. I have trouble finding it at anyplace other than my local boat repair shop. They swear by it too. I was told that Academy might carry it but I'm not sure of that. ( If anyone knows where to by the stuff, let me know) I do have a spot on my seat from a life jacket lying on the seat through winter. I have a monster tower and I didn't want to lay it down directly on my seat for winter storage so I left the life jacket between the seat cushion and the tower. Bad idea. Letters from the life jacket faded onto my seat. I need to try the " Magic Erasers" mentioned in the other posts. The Sharp Shooter removed most of the stain but not all.

Good luck, Cliff

02-19-2012, 01:14 PM
Last year after winter I uncovered my boat to find alot of mildew. I took everything out then scrubbed and cleaned the boat out. After cleaning i could still see small traces of mildew. I tried just about every cleaner I could think of. I think magic eraser are awesome, but it didnt work for this job. However they will work for most big jobs. i have used them for multiple applications also. Alot in my house. Anyways, I eventually took my boat to a detail place and asked them to do a test on a spot to see if they could get it out. because i had already did all the hard work in cleaning the boat. I just had some spots that I needed taken care of. Even the stuff they had wouldnt take it out. Last but no least I was at Academy sports store and seen Starbrite mildew stain remover near the marine cleaners. I figured that it couldn't hurt to try. I sprayed all my seats with this spray and rubbed in with my hand. I couldnt believe how great it works. I would highly recommend this stuff.

02-20-2012, 02:37 PM
That Starbrite is on sale right now at Wholesale Marine: