What are the best vinyl protectants for boat upholstery?

Just like cosmetic sunscreens, the best (and safest) boat vinyl protectants contain a natural mineral pigment like TiO2 (titanium dioxide) that reflect UV rays and don’t cause skin allergies.

Most protectants (and sunblocks) on the market, however, contain benzotriazoles or benzophenones (like oxybenzone) that absorb UV. These chemicals dry clear on your skin and vinyl, but they can cause allergies, are endocrine disruptors, and do nothing to conceal discoloration, stains or mold on your boat upholstery. What’s worse, such protectants require frequent reapplication, every 3-5 weeks. Marine vinyl (and your skin) are better served with a water-based formula that contains mineral pigments.

Rub ‘n Restore® is a water-based solution designed to condition, recolor, and protect marine vinyl and boat upholstery. It addresses common issues like discoloration, fading, stains from pinking or mold, and even conceals repairs. Rub ‘n Restore® does not require frequent reapplication, providing a more convenient and lasting solution.


Application is easy and efficient with a damp sponge. Prior to refinishing:

Less is more when it comes to application. Apply thin coats, only as needed. Once it feels dry, it is ready for another coat or use.

See for yourself how Rub ‘n Restore® stands up to the elements in this video review from one of our satisfied customers:

Cure Time

Cure time (where water does not temporarily discolor it) may take weeks, depending on humidity and temperature. Even if the finish has not had sufficient time to cure, most folks are pleased with its performance. Ensure water does not pool or stand on refinished areas for prolonged periods of time. The worst that may occur is slight discoloration of the finish, which often ‘dries down’. If it doesn’t, simply touch-up and allow more time to cure before exposure to water.

Choosing the right boat vinyl protectant is essential for maintaining the appearance and durability of marine vinyl. Rub ‘n Restore® offers a unique and effective solution with mineral pigments, ensuring lasting protection against UV rays, discoloration, and other common issues. The water-based formula, easy application process, and long-lasting results make Rub ‘n Restore® a reliable choice for boat owners seeking to enhance and preserve their marine upholstery.

Shop Our Products

If you’re wanting to change the color of marine vinyl, consider a heavier elastomeric coating like SEM®. As an Amazon Associate, we receive a small commission for referring this product. 


  1. Is there an instructional video or instructions on how to apply the products to repair marine vinyl boat upholstery damage like you show in the photo?

    • Absolutely, but I would work with a close-matching color. If our Camel or Honey aren’t good matches, I would send a sample for a Custom Color. You can learn more about this service or order swatches of our Camel and Honey here.

  2. I have a 100-year old leather suitcase that is beginning to rub off and disintegrate. How might I restore it or at least preserve what is left? Thanks.

  3. What color was used on the boat seats in your comparison picture under recolor boat upholstery. Also what ratio of prep and finish to color works best to restore sun dried vinyl

    • The first photo of the mold-stained seats was Stone with an accent stripe of Slate. The last photo of the yellowed seats were restored with Marine White. I’d do 4:1 up to 2:1 color:clear mix for the first coat only on very porous, sun-rotted vinyl. Use color alone for subsequent coats.

  4. I am amazed…we used the marine white on our 2004 four winns boat seats that the tops had gotten discolored. I sprayed it on the parts that needed touch ups and wasn’t happy with the color difference when I finished. I figured I would expand the re-dye for the entire seat the next day but when I got back to the boat, the color had cured and was now an exact match and made the seats look brand new. This stuff is amazing and I could not be happier…

    • Thanks for the feedback! Colors do darken as they dry (much like latex paint in your home). Spraying always gets an ultra-smooth result, but don’t be afraid to use a sponge for the base coat. It does a fine job of massaging color into the nooks and crannies, especially if the vinyl is porous and at all sun-rotted.

  5. Hello, you also mention using the SEM coating product for marine applications. I have discolored white sections in our boat vinyl (tan and white scheme) and overall all the vinyl needs to be reconditioned. We do use sunscreen (we try to not apply in or near boat but it happens and the transfer from skin is unavoidable) – what product do you recommend to achieve this? Thank you

    • Our Marine White is still a great solution. We sell a lot of it and don’t receive any complaints about poor wear even though most folks are using harsh chemical sunscreens. It’s just good to be aware of these products effects on upholstery and finish (not to mention your own skin).

  6. We have vinyl boat cushions that have some tears and micro punctures we’d like to repair. Once we use any of your products for repair/restoration, what cleaning and maintenance products are recommended? We would normally use a diluted, gentle detergent (simple green, dawn) for cleaning and marine vinyl UV protectant (303 Aerospace or similar) for protection. Thanks!

  7. I have vinyl coated nylon nets on my catamaran that are showing their age. They have lost some of their plasicols in the vinyl coating. Does your product restore some of the original flex?

    • We can’t claim our products will reverse damage and restore elasticity, but we’ve had a few customers remark that it has done so with their marine vinyl. Our products will sunscreen the material at least and restore appearance.


Leave a Comment