Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How to Keep Your Convertible’s Soft Top Looking Great

convertible top being wiped off

As you take a look outside your living room window you notice something odd - the crocuses are beginning to bloom. Ah, that means spring is around the corner, and spring means road trips. This year, in addition to the usual around-the-house spring cleaning duties, you decide to add in another chore - spend some time getting the top on the convertible looking great.

Soft top convertibles are the most common style of convertible cars. Soft tops are usually cheaper than hard tops to repair give a more authentic “convertible” look and feel. The main downsides are insulation and security. But they do provide protection from the elements and are easy to fold back when you want to feel the wind in your hair.

Convertible soft tops come in two types: vinyl and fabric (usually canvas). Although different in appearance, they are similar when it comes to cleaning. Cleaning your convertible top is no different than cleaning the rest of the car.

Part 1 of 3: Clean the top of your convertible thoroughly

Materials Needed

person using a soft brush to clean top

Step 1: Clean the soft top. Clean your vinyl or fabric top with water and gentle car shampoo such as TechCare Gentle Car Shampoo. Use a brush that has extra soft scratch free bristles. A popular brand is Mothers.

hand spraying top and cleaning it off

Step 2: Use a convertible top spray. If your top is especially greasy or has dirt that won’t come off with ordinary washing, get the top wet, and spray a convertible top cleaner such as 303 Tonneau Convertible Top Cleaner over the dirty area. Both of these products break down road grease and dirt.

Step 3: Brush the top. After you’ve sprayed the convertible top cleaner on the soiled area, use the brush to get rid of the dirt.

person rinsing down convertible

Step 4: Rinse the top. After you’ve cleaned your top completely, rinse it down to make sure all of the dirt has been removed.

Step 5: Apply a protectant. Once the top is dry, use a protectant keep the UV rays from the sun from fading the color and texture of the top. RaggTopp makes a spray that protects the look of your top.

Part 2 of 3: If you have a fabric top be sure to check for leaks

Step 1: Check for leaks. Taking care of a fabric convertible top is essentially the same as taking care of vinyl. However, fabric can crack over time and begin to leak.

  • If your top starts to leak, spray it with convertible top fabric guard, which is a water repellant.

Part 3 of 3: Make sure the window is clean

person cleaning of the rear window

Step 1: Clean the windows. It’s easy to forget that the back window also needs to cleaned. If your car is an older model, the window might have turned a bit yellow.

  • To fix the decolorization of the window, use a plastic care product such as Diamondite Plasti-Care, which is used to clear plastic surfaces such as windows, and headlights. If you keep on top of taking care of your convertible’s soft top it will extend its lifespan considerably. Chances are if you own a convertible you care about keeping it in good working order so don’t forget the fabric or vinyl top that keeps you and the inside of your car protected from the elements.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
How Long Does a Fuel Filler Neck Last?
Getting gas from the pump to your gas tank is the only way to keep a car going. The fuel filler neck is a metal tube that is welded to the...
How to Renew Your Car Registration in Oklahoma(DELETED)
Having your car registered with the Oklahoma Tax Commission is an important part of driving legally in this state. You will need to do this within 30 days of moving to Oklahoma...

Related questions

Q: Convertible top not working

The problem could be with the convertible top module, hydraulic system, cables or latches. The diagnostic procedure for your top says to start by checking for diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) in the convertible top module. Then, the convertible top limit...

Q: Alarm goes off after replacement of battery - 1995 Saab 9000

This requires Saab-specific expertise to reset the alarm system. Check with your Saab dealer, an independent Saab repair facility, or a professional mechanic, like YourMechanic, with this Saab-specific expertise.

Q: How do I properly wash my truck?

Your truck will need to be cleaned regularly. To ensure proper results, do not use any non-recommended car wash or towels. To clean your 2012 Ford F-150. Rinse your vehicle with lukewarm water. Spray off the underbody and clear...