Cleaning Plastic/Vinyl Windows

bottlesFollowing our “Canvas Straps Damage Clear Windows” article, David asks “Could you tell me the best way to clean the windows on our boat (not the glass) but the plastic”.

There are many products on the market for cleaning the clear plastic/vinyl windows on your boat.

After trying many of them (some “green” and some not so “green”), we decided there had to be something better, easier, still environmentally friendly and something that wouldn’t harm us, as we breathed in the fumes.

A few years ago, we were so excited when we found the answer.

just-a-spritzWe found that we only needed heavy duty cleaners once in a while for heavy duty cleaning. For everyday cleaning, just plain old water worked better than all the cleaners we tried.

But, there is a trick. You fill a spray bottle with water and spritz the area to be cleaned—just a spritz—not too much. Then you have to use a clean “microfiber” cloth to wipe it clean. If you have a lot of dust, wash it with just plain water and microfiber cloth, then wipe off the water and use a clean dry microfiber cloth to finish. A dry microfiber cloth works best.

You will be amazed at the results, as we were. No odor, fumes, streaks, preparation or cleanup. Water is free and readily available. The microfiber cloths can be purchased just about everywhere now—hardware stores, department stores, box stores, grocery stores. They vary in price but are quite reasonable and reusable. Some packs come with a variety of colours allowing you to assign a colour to specific jobs. For example; we use white for clear vinyl windows, blue for galley and green for dirtier jobs like fiberglass etc. Then, you don’t mistakenly pick up a cloth with sand in it that will scratch the vinyl.

microfibre-clothsJust be sure to use clean microfiber cloths and not too much water spray. If the cloth ends up too moist, use a clean dry one to finish. If you have spider dirt, wet it well and let it soften first. You may have to use a little “elbow grease” for these types of stubborn spots, or scratch it with your finger nail through the microfiber cloth.

When cleaning, be sure to wash in the washing machine with hot water and no fabric softener.

This method is quick, easy and effective so you will be able to keep all your boat windows (plastic, vinyl and glass) clean all the time.

P.S. Using microfiber cloths and a spritz of water works really well at home too on windows, mirrors, shower enclosures etc. It’s quick and easy.

See our article “Too Many Cleaners” for more information.


2 thoughts on “Cleaning Plastic/Vinyl Windows”

  1. Thank you for the window cleaning micro cloth/water tip. I will try it. But…. mice got to them and peed on the plastic vinyl windows. They’re yellow and around the edges and dried in over the winter. Any suggestions you have for that would be so appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Mona
      It would be best to wash your vinyl windows in mild boat soap and water first to wash out the pee. You may have to soak for a while. Then hang them to dry. Use the microfibre cloth tip to polish afterwards. Another tip is to hang your canvas and vinyl windows vertically either in the boat or at home next winter. This way, there is nowhere for the mice to nest.

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