How to Clean & Maintain Convertible Soft Tops

Written by darla ferrara
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Most modern convertibles tops are made of a durable polycyclic canvas or vinyl. These tops, designed to fold back and leave the car open to the air and light, look impressive but can be susceptible to leaking and stains. A cloth top of a convertible car, or ragtop, provides specific challenges for cleaning and maintenance. The material used has a tight weave that tends to gather dust. The dust settles into the weave and creates friction that wears on the surface, much like sandpaper.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Non-detergent-based auto shampoo
  • Spray bottle
  • Water hose
  • Soft brush
  • Micro-fibre towel

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Instructions

    Cleaning the Top

  1. 1

    Wash the soft cover once a month with non-detergent-based auto shampoo that does not contain gloss-enhancing oils. The fabric of your convertible top will absorb the oils, causing dust to collect. Dilute the cleaner as indicated.

  2. 2

    Treat stains, such as bird droppings, before washing. Apply the cleaner, full-strength, directly on the spot and let the solution soak for a few minutes.

  3. 3

    Rinse the top thoroughly with cold water and apply the dilute cleaner. Use a soft brush to agitate the soap and loosen dirt. It is best to avoid fabric materials that will leave lint.

  4. 4

    Blot the top dry with a synthetic microfibre towel. Do not rub or wipe the fabric.

    Cleaning the Plastic Window

  1. 1

    Rinse a microfibre towel and wring out the water.

  2. 2

    Take the damp towel and fold it into a square. Wipe in one direction across the window, then turn the cloth and wipe again, using the clean side of the square. Keep refolding the towel to work with a clean surface.

  3. 3

    Rinse the cloth as needed.

  4. 4

    Make sure to wipe the inside of the window as well, using the same method.

Tips and warnings

  • Cloth tops are water-resistant but not necessarily waterproof. Check with the dealer about special waterproofing treatments.

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