Preservation & Rejuvenation

Enter Text

Preservation of New Upholstery:

The procedure outlined below will impregnate the vinyl with preservative conditioner, so protecting against oxidation, color fade and mildew/algae.  Also, the surface coating of SILKENSEAL™ will  protect  against stains from air pollution, suntan oil, newsprint, ballpoint etc. Compared to untreated upholstery, exposure to the sun will not result in build-up of  surface stickiness due to transmigration of plasticizer to the surface of the vinyl.

1. Use a small ball of white paper towel, to sparingly wipe over the surface with appropriate Cleanser-Conditioner to impregnate the vinyl with anti-aging conditioner. [ Note: NEUTRAL CLEAR™ can be used on any color, but is preferred for “earth-tone” colors (brown, beige etc). SEA GLOW™ is best for preventing yellowing of white upholstery but is also suitable for blue, red or other "bright" colors]. Then use water-wetted white  paper towel to wipe over the surface so as to neutralize the cleanser and remove excess conditioner. Finally towel dry and seal the surface with SILKENSEAL™.

2. Maintain the surface by rinsing with water and wiping with microfiber cloth. If the surface has become very dirty first use copiously water-diluted ISLAND GIRL Pink™ Cleanser before water rinsing. Finally, wipe dry with towel or clean microfiber cloth. Periodically (e.g. once per month) reapply a fresh coating of SILKENSEAL™ and every 6-12 months  repeat the entire process above.

Striped vinyl upholstery restored by ISLAND GIRL®'s  SEA GLOW™


These procedures have been perfected over some 20 years, with regular vinyl upholstery, horseshoe lifesavers, lawn furniture and closed cell foam cushions provided by Bottomsiders LLC.

Note: When cleaning, do NOT not place on plastic bags, newspaper etc. from which the print may dissolve and produce stains. We found that years ago at a boat show demo!

Restoring Very Dirty and/or Old Upholstery including vinyl webbing:

Step #1:

Apply the Cleanser-Conditioner (chosen as above) on a small ball of white paper towel, then quickly use the same piece of towel to wipe off superficial grime. This initial "pre-cleaning"  prevents the possibility of dissolved dirt (such as bottom paint dust) soaking into the underlying vinyl, so producing new stubborn stains.

Step #2:

Reapply cleanser to the surface and allow to soak for some minutes ( only 30 seconds in direct hot sunlight).  In order to penetrate the "grain" of vinyl upholstery, we recommend use of 3M Synthetic Steel Wool. Use the grey, ("000" grade) scuff pads for most purposes but for very soft vinyl use the 3M white ("0000") pads.  The pads are torn edgewise and the torn edge used in a "chopping" motion into the grain, to remove ingrained grime and superficial mildew stains.

Step #3:

Wipe off with a fresh white paper towel swab, soaked in additional cleanser - this will "draw up" dirt and stains into the towel.  Look at the swabs to see how well the dirt is being transferred and to determine sensitivity of the surface (transfer of any underlying color). Some cheap vinyl-coated cloth shows a lot of transfer and cannot be strenuously cleaned more than once. "Horse shoe" lifesavers and vinyl table cloths also have a very thin vinyl coating.

Repeat the process. Some stickiness may be present due to partially broken down (shorter) fragments of vinyl polymer that are dissolved (partially or completely) in the cleanser. Repeat the above process until this stickiness becomes negligible and the paper towel swabs are coming up clean.

Next, neutralize the cleansing action by wiping over with water-wetted paper towel. Finally apply one or two coats of SILKENSEAL™ to seal the surface. The vinyl will now have  "as new" color and a silken sheen, that is maintained under most conditions of use.

Procedure is shown in the video below.  The video at right shows that our products are superior to those made by two major manufacturers.

Care of Closed Cell Foam Cushions

When cleaning Bottomsiders™ or similar  closed cell foam cushions, use water with dish soap or ISLAND GIRL Pink™ diluted at least  1:100 with water (a stronger solution will attack the pinstriping dye).  A microfiber cloth helps penetrate surface grain without scratching. The vinyl of these cushions is sprayed onto the foam and is both very thin and very soft. DO NOT USE ANY TYPE OF SCUFF PAD. Use of solvents or our cleansers used undiluted should be avoided since the striping and logos on the cushions are made with a vinyl dye that is partially soluble in our cleansers. Some suntan oils and insect repellants also attack the vinyl dye if it is not protected by a coating of SILKENSEAL™ .

However, in order to preserve the cushions against sun damage and mildew, the cushions may be very quickly  wiped over with our Cleanser/ Conditioners (we used SEA GLOW™ on our white cushions).  The product is then quickly neutralized by water-wiping, toweled dry and sealed with SILKENSEAL™

[Note: Microfiber cloth is exceptionally safe and has microscopic "capillaries" that "suck up" water or oil much more than a regular towel or sponge. Indeed, for mild cleaning, it is often unnecessary to use any cleaning product at all, just water]

Stains, their prevention & removal:

An outer coating of SILKENSEAL™ will prevent staining of upholstery by newsprint, airborne pollutants, rust, suntan lotion and more.

ISLAND GIRL® Cleansers will remove stains that other products cannot, but only stains that are NOT chemically combined with the underlying vinyl molecular structure.

Apply the appropriate Cleanser-Conditioner to the stained area and allow to soak. Then attempt to "Draw up" the stain, using a small ball of paper towel soaked in more of the cleanser. If the upholstery is grained, use the torn edge of a 3M synthetic steel wool scuff pad (grey, "000" grade). Use with a "chopping" motion to penetrate the grain. This is particularly important for removing superficial mildew stains. On very soft vinyl, the 3M white ("0000" grade) pad should be used.

On white upholstery, use of SEA GLOW™  is preferred, since the blue fluorescing agents will make minor stain residue "disappear" in the presence of daylight.

Stains that cannot be removed: Stains from creosote, tar, marker pen and some paints may irreversibly combine with the vinyl molecules and become permanent. The vinyl of upholstery is usually too thin to allow the draconian methods (strong solvents, sanding etc) that can work on the very thick white vinyl of boat fenders and cowl vents. Here, the use of a good quality vinyl paint is a less expensive alternative to replacing the upholstery.

Mildew: Although our Cleanser-Conditioners can prevent the growth of mildew and algae, they, nor any other product, CANNOT remove deep-seated mildew stains. The only alternative is to replace the upholstery or apply a vinyl paint.