Convertible tops are made from either a tightly woven fabric material, or a synthetic vinyl material. Both of these materials will be subject to abuse from the weather, bird droppings, tree sap and moss or algae for example. If left neglected and uncleaned convertible tops can become heavily ingrained with these deposits and contaminants which may prove to be very difficult to remove later on.
It is also important to treat your convertible top after a thorough clean for a number of important reasons. Firstly the material your top is made from isn’t 100 % waterproof and is designed to breathe. This means that if neglected, over time water may begin to work its way through the material showing up as interior leaks. Treating your convertible top helps to protect it from harmful rays from the sun which over time can lead to a drying out and discoloration/fading of the material.
Finally, keeping your top clean and protected helps to keep it supple and slightly elastic ensuring no premature wear will occur during operation. If a top is neglected to be regularly cleaned and protected, but is still regularly used, the back and fourth movement of the roof parts will begin to prematurely wear the material and may even lead to the top splitting or tearing in critical areas which will be costly to repair.
If your convertible top has not been cleaned for a long time and is heavily ingrained with dirt and deposits it should be initially thoroughly cleaned to remove all these ingrained contaminants and then subsequently treated/protected with a suitable product. Once your top has been thoroughly cleaned, or if your top is new or already in a clean condition it should be regularly cleaned & maintained when the rest of your vehicle is washed/cleaned.
Once a week or twice monthly will ensure your top is kept contaminant free, simply reapplying a protective product as the protection diminishes. If you are unsure if your top needs treating a good application of a designated protection product once every couple of months should ensure your top stays sufficiently protected.
It is important to note that while a normal shampoo product can be used for regular cleaning and maintenance of your top, a wax based product however should not be used as the actual wax part of the product is designed for paintwork only and would not work well with a convertible top material.
A designated convertible top cleaning product or a diluted all purpose cleaner should be used to initially thoroughly clean your top. A soft bristled brush is effective in working product in and should be stepped up to a stiff bristled detailing or nail brush to help remove more ingrained and stubborn dirt & deposits.
For regular maintenance a normal non wax based shampoo product can be used. Your convertible top should be dried off with a soft micro fibre or designated vehicle drying towel. You can also regularly vacuum your top to remove light deposits but nothing more than a soft bristled brush attachment should be used otherwise you may run the risk of scratching or marking the material.
When treating & protecting your convertible top, depending on the type of product being used you may need to use a sponge or micro fibre applicator pad to the apply the product, then a damp micro fibre towel to remove any overspray/residue.