How to Clean a Convertible Top
How to Clean a Convertible Top


A convertible vehicle is bragging rights with horsepower, often an exhilarating mix of beauty and performance. Convertible owners love the experience of driving their open-air rides on beautiful days, but when inclement weather rolls in, a convertible top becomes a necessity to protect from the elements.

These status symbols may be fun and pleasing to the eye, but improper care of the delicate convertible top material can leave it looking ragged and worn, diminishing the beauty of the vehicle. Whether fabric or vinyl, convertible top material should not receive the same care as the painted surfaces of a car. It's not as durable as the fiberglass or painted steel of the rest of the vehicle and should be treated with delicate care and protection.

Unprotected convertible tops or ones which don't receive regular maintenance will deteriorate much more rapidly, leading to unappealing appearance and possibly leaks. While vinyl tends to withstand the elements longer, fabric convertible tops are chemically treated to repel water and contamination. However, over time these protectants will wear off. If you see any wet spots where water has accumulated or penetrated the fabric, your convertible top is overdue for a protectant treatment.

You should clean your convertible top at least once a month, and follow cleaning with a convertible top protectant. Common household cleaning products containing ingredients such as bleach, alcohol, vinegar, and ammonia can be damaging to the fragile surface of your convertible top. Harsh cleaners will quickly deteriorate fabric or vinyl, while ammonia and alcohol will dry the fabric and give the vinyl a dull, cloudy look.

To clean and deodorize your convertible top, you should use a non-abrasive cleaner that won't damage fabrics or vinyl. Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner cleans thoroughly without harsh chemicals, and won't leave behind harmful residue that could ruin the protectant, and discolor or diminish the look of your top.

Directions For Cleaning a Convertible Top

When in doubt about a surface, including convertible top back-windows, always spot test first. When cleaning heavy soils, pre-wet the surface. This helps the Simple Green penetrate soils and makes it easier to wash clean.

  1. Mix your Simple Green solution. Dilute about one ounce of Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner with one cup of water in a spray bottle.
  2. Apply the Simple Green solution. Spray the surface of the convertible top, in small sections to avoid drying too soon before rinsing. (It takes longer to rinse if allowed to dry.)
  3. Gently scrub with a soft bristle brush or non-abrasive scrubbing pad to help to loosen dirt.
  4. Rinse with clean water. Hose off if cleaning the whole car, or rinse by wiping with a damp microfiber pad or non-abrasive cloth to ensure a residue free surface if just cleaning the roof.
  5. Dry with a clean microfiber pad or non-abrasive cloth.
  6. Apply protectant. Use a protectant specifically designed for convertible tops.


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