Cleaning Boat Seats with Magic Eraser (Is It Safe to Use?)

cleaning boat seats with magic eraser

There’s just something about a pristine boat that triggers the reward pathways of the brain. That’s something any pontoon boat owner would agree with. But try as you might, those open waters and UV rays will do everything they can to work against you, leaving your boat with stains and discoloration that might have you trying every cleaning trick in the book.

Vinyl pontoon boat seats can be particularly tricky, especially since they almost always come in white or light beige. And while there are lots of cleaning hacks floating around the internet, magic eraser is one of the most popular. The question is - does cleaning boat seats with magic eraser actually work?

Does Magic Eraser Work Well for Cleaning Boat Seats?

First off - it’s worth talking about Magic Eraser as a cleaning agent. Otherwise known as melamine foam, Magic Eraser is made from formaldehyde-melamine-sodium bisulfite copolymer. While it has found a rightful place as insulation and soundproofing material, it’s biggest benefit has been in cleaning.

The stuff feels smooth to the touch, but under a microscope, it actually works like a fine sandpaper. When you rub it against a surface, it leaves little ‘shavings’ kind of the same way an eraser would when you rub away pencil markings.

This ultra-fine sandpaper texture is what gives it its cleaning power. The little microscopic bits that come off quite literally fit into little divots, grooves, and pits in the surface you’re trying to clean. In doing so, the stuff removes otherwise ‘permanent’ marks like crayon, marker pen, and grease.

So, does it work well for pontoon boat seats? 

Well, the short answer is yes, it does. Lots of boat owners have successfully used Magic Eraser to get rid of stubborn stains and even mold and mildew off of vinyl boat seats, making it a great choice for a deep clean.

But that doesn’t mean you should pull out that block of Magic Eraser every time it’s time to clean your boat. Remember that Magic Eraser is abrasive in nature, which is why it works so well. Every time you rub it over your vinyl seats, you’re essentially scrubbing away a very, very thin layer off of the surface which is why the stains come off so well.

With that, it’s important that you pull out your Magic Eraser only when there are tough stains that you can’t remove any other way. Otherwise, you might find yourself quite literally sanding down your vinyl and making them look dull over time. You'll be needing to replace your pontoon seats sooner rather than later, and that's not good!

How to Clean Vinyl Boat Seats with Magic Eraser

mold and mildew stain remover

Perform a Preliminary Clean

Before you get rubbing, you’re going to want to perform a preliminary clean on your boat seats. That means scrubbing away any stains and discoloration with a cleaning agent that’s formulated for the job.

The CLR PB-CMM-6 Mold and Mildew Stain Remover works great for vinyl and may remove up to 90% of mold and mildew stains so you won’t have to work too hard with your Magic Eraser.

Spray some on your seats and leave it to sit so it can work its magic, so to speak. If you don’t have any of the CLR stuff on hand, you might be able to get away with vinegar, water, and baking soda.

Gently Scrub Away the Stains

Take a soft bristle brush and gently work away those stubborn spots you’re trying to get rid of. Remember that you don’t want to overdo it since scrubbing too hard can scuff up your vinyl seats and leave you with dull spots later on.

If you don’t want to take your chances with a brush, you can always use a soft, clean cloth to rub the stain remover and make sure it gets the spots you’re trying to treat. The key here is to avoid as much abrasion as possible.

Wipe and Inspect

After cleaning up with stain remover, use another clean cloth to wipe away the formula. Make sure you get all of it off so you can see the effects it has had on your seats.

Are the spots still as prominent as before, or have they been significantly reduced? If you think you could go in with a second cycle of stain remover, then feel free to do so. The reason for this is because Magic Eraser should be more of a last resort because of its abrasive nature. So if you think you can completely get rid of stubborn stains without having to use it, then that might be ideal.

Use your Magic Eraser

So, you’ve tried traditional cleaning methods and stain remover, and it’s just not working. Now it’s time to whip out the Magic Eraser. There are lots of companies that manufacture Magic Eraser, but you really can’t go wrong with well-known brands like Mr. Clean.

Try our the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber.

The secret with Magic Eraser is that you’ll want to work in small, tight circles, moving over stubborn stains gently and repeatedly. Remember that it’s going to leave some residue on the surface, so it helps to rinse off the stuff with a soft, wet rag.

Seal with Protectant

To prevent those stubborn stains from forming in the first place (and thus reducing the need for abrasive cleaning materials like Magic Eraser), make sure you treat your seats with some protectant. This simple step can keep your vinyl seats looking fresh and clean for longer, significantly reducing the development of discoloration and stains.

Where Can’t You Use Magic Eraser on a Boat?

mr clean magic eraser

Well, the answer is pretty simple - anything that’s shiny. Magic Eraser might be tempting to use on anything and everything on your boat because of how efficiently they can clean and how instant the results are.

But they can deal serious damage over time and turn things like fiberglass, clear coat, and even stainless steel dull over time. If you don’t want to scuff up all of those shiny fixture, better stick to a cleaning agent that’s formulated specifically for the job.

Just Like New

Cleaning boat seats with Magic Eraser might just be the answer to your stained dilemma, but a fair warning -- that stuff can scuff up your seats if you use them too often. Make sure you save the Magic Eraser for those dire times and instead invest your effort into protecting your seats and preventing stains from forming in the first place.

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