All You Need To Know On How To Clean Soft-top Roof Cars

Modern-day convertibles can be grouped into two main categories: hard tops and soft tops. Hard-tops are preferred for their structural security and insulation, but that doesn’t mean soft-top convertibles don’t have their own charm. As attractive as they are, soft-top convertible roofs may require more effort to maintain. That’s mainly because the fabric of these roofs is prone to absorbing moisture which can attract mould or mildew and all types of dirt and grime.

A convertible car with soft top roof

If you’ve been scouring the internet, you should probably have found dependable solutions on how to clean your car interior or how to fix water damaged leather car seats. But how can you keep your soft-top roof car clean? You just got lucky again. We’re here to walk you through how to tackle mould and algae on convertible cars with fabric tops and how to make them waterproof to avoid future headaches. Ready? Start your engines!

How to get rid of mould from your convertible soft top

Even though car care for cabriolet top enthusiasts requires a wee bit more hard work, that doesn’t mean you can’t work smart. So, the first order of business before getting down to deep cleaning your fabric hood is to ensure the top isn’t made from vinyl. If you’re not sure about the kind of material you’re dealing with, that’s okay. To identify a fabric roof from a vinyl one, all you need is a glass of water. 

Walk up to your prized possession and pour a few drops of water from the glass onto your roof. Use your fingers to try and rub the water in. If you notice the roof absorbing the water – congratulations, your convertible hood is made from fabric. On the other hand, if the top doesn’t absorb the water, then you’re dealing with a vinyl cover – in which case you should fast-forward to the third heading of this article.

Spraying with a protectant the convertible soft top roof

Here’s a handy list of materials you should have before embarking on this rag top cleaning adventure:

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Microfiber towel
  • Appropriate cleaning product
  • Fabric protectant for car roofs
  • ​Face mask
  • ​Scraper (plastic)
  1. It’s best to put on a face mask for this part of cleaning your fabric top. Grab your plastic scraper and set out removing any contaminants stuck to the top of your convertible. This includes stuff like bird droppings. Once you’ve managed to loosen all the debris, use the hand-held vacuum to clear it out. Doing so will also help suck up dirt, loosened spores, and other contaminants
  2. Fill a bucket with hot water and use a mug to wet the top well. Next, pour the required amount of car shampoo on the fabric and scrub the entire area well with the soft-bristle brush. This step will help root out any deep-seated microbes that may lead to the re-emergence of mould. Note, it’s best to check for rips, tears, or unbonded rear windows before washing your hood to ensure the process goes over smoothly
  3. Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in a bucket. Pour the mixture over the fabric hood with the help of a mug while scrubbing with the brush. The white vinegar will help eliminate any left-over traces of mould.
  4. Once all the mould stains (or any other type of stain) have disappeared, hose down the roof until the convertible top cleaner has been washed away. Try to avoid using power washers for fabric covers because they can damage the material over time. 
  5. Use the lint-free microfiber towel to pick up any excess moisture off the roof. Mop up as much water as you can from the entire roof and allow it to air dry.
  6. Once the roof is completely dry, park your car in the garage before working on adding the fabric protectant. Vacuum the surface of the roof, and use a lint roller to pick up any stray fibres. 

Next, read the instructions of the branded fabric protectant and follow them down to a T. Fabric protection is an essential part of safeguarding your coupe‘s cover because it’ll help repel water and humidity – which can help promote the growth of mould. 

How to weather-proof your convertible roof

Not everyone’s a pro when it comes to looking after car detailing,  polishing paintwork, or weather-proofing a soft-top car. But, if you’re not comfortable with reproofing your coupe‘s cabriolet for fear of damage – don’t stress.

a red soft top roof

This section will walk you through how to go about applying fabric protectants to your roof to keep it safe from harmful influences like UV rays, acid rain, tree sap, etc. Not to mention, a high-quality protectant will also make your fabric cover water-resistant – keeping it safe from mould or mildew.

  1. It’s best to reproof your convertible’s fabric top after giving it a thorough wash with suitable detergents. Also, try avoiding any shampoo or soft-top cleaner with ingredients like bleach or ammonia because they can damage the fabric over time or lead to discolouration
  2. Once the roof is completely dry, move your car to a covered location where flying debris like dust won’t interfere with the process. Once the vehicle is indoors, use a vacuum or a lint roller or get rid of any loose fibres or dust on the hood to prepare it for the soft roof protector. 
  3. Don a pair of nitrile gloves before working with a soft brush or microfiber pad and UV protectant. This will keep your hands from getting sticky and will help you work faster. It’s also best to undertake the soft-top roof weather-proofing process on a warm day to ensure the protectant dries up like it’s supposed to. 
  4. Once the fabric is clean, grab your fabric protectant, mist the microfiber pad (or paintbrush) and roof according to the instructions, and get to work. Be careful not to use too much of the product or oversaturate the fabric, as this won’t give you the results you’re looking for. 
  5. Work on the roof of your car in sections. For bigger roofs, we recommend five or six sections and four for smaller ones. Doing so will help you to cover the entire roof without any repetitions or mishaps. 
  6. Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe any traces of the protectant from paint or windows. It’s also a good idea to wash the applicator (microfiber pad) in between coats. Once the first protectant coat is dry, get to work on the second coat on the car roof in the same manner. 
  7. Once the third coat of protectant has been applied, allow it to cure for at least 48 to 72 hours before getting the roof wet again. That’s it, your convertible soft-top clean, proof, and cure operation is complete!

Getting rid of algae from a cabriolet roof

To all our readers with vinyl convertibles – we’ve not forgotten you. The process of washing a vinyl-top convertible is much the same as fabric covers. Although there’s one distinct difference – the type of detergent or cleaner meant for vinyl tops is different, and it’s best not to use a scrub or scraper to remove debris while washing. 

Instead, try using a microfiber pad to loosen any stuck remains like bird poop while rubbing in the soft top cleaner. Once the roof has been rinsed down, use a microfiber cloth to dry the roof and don’t forget to apply the vinyl treatment (similar to fabric protectant) to ensure your roof doesn’t lose shape or colour. That means you can go over the instructions for fabric cabriolets and follow them as is, except for the differences mentioned here.

A vintage convertible car with a soft top roof

Convertible motoring is a passion for many car lovers. However, real-life responsibilities can sometimes interfere and keep you from giving your soft-top the care it deserves. Thankfully, you now have the option of turning to our DIY convertible top cleaner guide or professionals to keep your convertible looking the way it deserves. No matter which method you pick – your car will end up being the winner. 

Coming next: Learn how to get scratches out of your car for a neat look.

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