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How To Properly Clean Your Convertible’s Soft Top

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2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible. Clean your convertible's soft top.
The Chevrolet Camaro Convertible
Photo: Chevrolet

If you drive a soft-top convertible, you need to give the roof specialized care in order to keep it in good condition. Try your hand at these easy tips to clean your convertible’s soft top and maintain its showroom appearance, come rain, snow, or shine.

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Identify the material

Before you begin cleaning the soft top, you need to determine if it’s made of vinyl or fabric since the type of material affects the cleaning methods you can use. Place a water droplet on the top, and rub it in. If the droplet smears, the material is vinyl. If it soaks in, the material is fabric.

Grab the right cleaning supplies

You can clean most soft tops using your regular car-wash detergent. However, for the best results, select a cleaner specifically made for vinyl or fabric. Avoid using ammonia, bleach, waxes, and buffing compounds on your soft top. No matter which solution you choose, test it out on a more hidden area of the top to make sure it doesn’t create any unwanted effects before washing the rest of your roof.

The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible. Clean your convertible's soft top.
The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible
Photo: General Motors

Be gentle

You can either carefully hand wash the top or take your convertible to an automatic car wash, as long as it doesn’t involve a high-pressure water spray. If the top has a plastic window, polish it with a specialized cleaner. If the window is glass, clean it as you would any other car window, but make sure not to get any glass cleaner on the rest of the top.

Get rid of spots

To remove spots from a fabric top, massage them with a stiff-bristled brush, using only soap and water. For stains that won’t budge, utilize a fabric-top cleaner, making sure to apply it to the whole top to have a uniform look. If you have a vinyl top, you can wipe away spots with a vinyl cleaner and a soft cloth.

Prevent sun damage

After cleaning a fabric top, use a water-repellent treatment to prevent it from leaking on a rainy day and keep UV rays from causing damage. Liquid protectants also protect vinyl tops from harsh UV rays.

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By following these steps, you can keep your convertible’s soft top clean and in good shape for a longer period of time.