How to Clean a Vinyl Roof

Common on cars such as convertibles, vinyl roofs will last for years with the proper cleaning and care. Unfortunately, tree sap, bird droppings, excess heat, the sun, and improper care can take their toll on the vinyl roof, leaving it grimy, stained and faded. The longer tar, sap, and bird droppings sit on the vinyl, the greater the chance of permanent stains. Fortunately, you can clean a vinyl roof using inexpensive and common car cleaning products.

Wet the vinyl roof with a water hose. Use the pressure from the water to push debris -- such as leaves and small twigs -- off the vinyl.

Mix the appropriate amount of car shampoo with water in a 5-gallon bucket. Each brand of car shampoo has its own specific mixing instructions. Follow the directions printed on the label.

Rub tree sap with a cotton ball saturated with nail polish remover. Continue rubbing until the tree sap is dissolved. Rub a paste made of 1 part water and 3 parts baking soda over the area affected by the tree sap, and scrub clean with a damp cloth.

Wet a clean sponge in the car shampoo mixture and begin scrubbing the vinyl roof clean. Scrub tough-to-remove stains and bird droppings with a soft-bristled brush.

Rinse the vinyl roof with a water hose. Let it air-dry. Repeat the process whenever you clean the car.


Refrain from cleaning vinyl roofs with harsh or abrasive cleaners and cleaning tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Water hose
  • Car shampoo
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Cotton balls
  • Nail polish remover
  • Baking soda
  • Cloth
  • Sponge
  • Soft-bristled scrub brush
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About the Author

Amanda Flanigan began writing professionally in 2007. Flanigan has written for various publications, including WV Living and American Craft Council, and has published several eBooks on craft and garden-related subjects. Flanigan completed two writing courses at Pierpont Community and Technical College.