Convertible tops range in the type of fabrics used. Most tops use a standard thick cloth, whereas other types use plastic. Caring for the top begins when the vehicle is purchased. An older vehicle with a hard cloth top is more difficult to manage than an older vehicle that was properly maintained over the years. To soften a hardened cloth top, clean and waterproof the top routinely.
303 Convertible Top Cleaner works on soft-top convertibles, marine cloths, and even cloth tonneau covers. 303 chemically engineered the cleaner to operate without harmful or caustic cleansers to thoroughly clean soft tops without damaging it. RaggTopp also makes a cleaner that works on cloth and vinyl in a similar fashion. HAARTZ (the largest manufacturer of soft-tops for convertibles) endorses RaggTopp as one of the best products for cleaning convertible tops. Use the spray bottle variety of the cleanser for easy application. Spray the chemical directly onto the surface, use a soft rag to scrub the chemical into the material, and rinse with water from a hose.
Leatherique Rejuvenator Oil works best with vinyl, but leather upholstery functions just as well at softening a vinyl top. The product introduces various proteins and collagen into the material that reconditions the vinyl. The best application of Leatherique involves rubbing the product into the material by hand and allowing it to steam (allow it to set in a moist, warm environment). Armorall produces several vinyl and cloth restorers but operates using plasticisers. Armorall provides excellent results but repeated application causes the plasticisers to build up. Before reapplying, always thoroughly clean the material using a cleanser like 303 Convertible Top Cleaner.
True fabric protectors provide waterproofing and sustain the quality of the fabric over a longer period of time. 303 manufacturers products for a variety of applications including water proofing. 303 High Tech Fabric Guard offers water, stain proofing and UV resistance for cloth tops. The product uses no silicone, which may attract dust and soil creating a stain on the cloth. Cleaning the top thoroughly with a cleanser, rag, and water and then applying a solid water proofing softens the top while protecting it from harm. Repeated cleanings with a cleanser may be necessary to remove stains before applying a water proofer. Allow top to thoroughly dry before applying a water proofing agent.