Cleaning Guide: Clear Vinyl

Maintaining a clean boat is a given for any owner, but the vinyl fabric on your boat needs extra attention. Clear vinyl, whether it’s a full enclosure, dodger, or window is continuously exposed to UV, salt, and other various chemicals that turn the material yellow and cloudy. Being proactive about cleaning and protecting your clear vinyl will always be easier than trying to remove spots and clouding, and also helps extend the life of the material. Here’s your guide to easily and effectively cleaning your boat’s clear vinyl components.

Gentle Clean

If your boat is exposed to salt water, give it a freshwater rinse as often as possible, since salt deteriorates the material. No matter where your boat lives, use high quality, gentle soap and a soft cloth on a weekly basis to keep your vinyl clean. Be sure not to use detergents as they’ll dull the surface. Just gently scrub the clear vinyl using a clean, soft cotton cloth and soap, spray it down, and then use a new, dry cloth to dry it.

Deep Clean

In addition to its weekly clean, your vinyl needs a little extra care to protect it from environmental factors. Every 3-4 months, apply a protective paste that leaves a more substantial film but not oily. This is more time consuming than a simple clean, but worth the extra effort. Apply the polish to a soft, cotton cloth, and buff the clear vinyl in a circular motion. Once the polish dries, use a new cloth to buff the paste out until the vinyl is shiny.

Protect Your Vinyl

Over time, your vinyl will be subject to scratches and dings. Although these aren’t completely avoidable, taking advantage of a protective cleaner once a month can help. Use a protectant specifically made for vinyl windows and other plastic products; otherwise, your vinyl will degrade over time. Put the protective cleaner on a soft cloth, wiping quickly over the vinyl. Like the deep clean paste, use a new cloth to buff out the protectant for an ongoing shine.

What to Avoid

Being aware of chemicals that destruct your vinyl can help you in the long run. During your weekly cleans, avoid generic products like potent cleaners, polishes, scratch removers, or any other product made for regular, uncoated vinyl. This will exponentially shorten your vinyl’s lifespan. If used regularly, protectants with petroleum solvents can cause hazing, the crystallization of the polymer. Using these solvents can also strip the protective coatings and leach surfactants.

Spraying sunscreen and bug repellant in your vinyl’s vicinity is detrimental. Simply ask your guests to use these products in an area that won’t reach the vinyl. These chemicals, along with vinegar, canvas water repellents, silicones, and solvents, can ruin and diminish clear vinyl.

All Vinyl Fabrics carries a wide spectrum of vinyl materials, and we want to help you find the right one for your boat. Contact us or explore our selection of vinyl grades, colors, and textures. If you want to speak to one of our vinyl specialists, call 877-618-4695 today.

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