How To Clean A Convertible Top: The DIY Guide

To continue enjoying your convertible in optimal condition, you need to care for the fabric or vinyl top properly. Routine maintenance becomes simple and easy when you have the right products, tools, and knowledge. Here are the guides on how to clean a convertible top for your references!

Undoubtedly, the convertible car is a beautiful combination of style, engineering, and fun. But how do you take care of your convertible top? Find out exactly how in this blog post, where we cover fabric versus vinyl, cleaning, protecting, stain removal, and mildew removal.

Determine If You Have A Fabric Or Vinyl Convertible Top

Convertibles come in two main types: fabric and vinyl. The first step in servicing is to determine what’s wrong with your vehicle. Of course, you can check your car’s owner’s manual or VIN to find out, but if you can’t find the information you need, use the quiz below.

You can test the front of the car by following these steps:

  • Take a teaspoon of water and pour it over the hood of your convertible.
  • Rub water on the top of the hood.
  • If water seeps in, it’s most likely cloth or canvas. If it looks smudged but doesn’t soak in, it’s probably vinyl.

How To Clean A Convertible Top?

Before starting work, prepare these utensils and tools to make the cleaning process go better. Note that these are just some of our recommended supplies. You can have whatever you want to make the process go as smoothly as possible, no need to follow any instructions roughly.

You should only clean the convertible when it is dirty. Unnecessary cleaning can cause premature wear of the material. It’s always a good idea to be cautious about making mistakes, so if your convertible’s hood isn’t dirty yet, spray it with a strong but gentle jet of water.

However, you should not use a pressure washer when cleaning the top. There’s no reason to use that much pressure and if you get too close, you can fray the fibers and look ragged. Alternatively, you can vacuum the top of the fabric to remove any dirt from the yarn, but remember to do it gently.

When washing, do not use any soaps with waxes or shine enhancers. They will be absorbed by the material and attract dust. In addition, it may prevent proper bonding between the switchable material and any protective agents you may apply. Furthermore, do not use ordinary washing gloves as the fibers can break and stick to the fabric. This is a huge pain to remove, so save yourself the trouble.

  • Wash in a cool and shaded area.
  • Wash the entire top. Do not spot clean as this may lead to discoloration.
  • Wash away dirt
  • Add foam on top or spray a convertible top cleaner.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush to stir the soap.
  • Wash thoroughly until no soap remains.
how to wash a convertible car
You should only clean the convertible when it is dirty. (Photo: Dubizzle)

How To Protect The Convertible Top?

Your convertible can withstand the same extremes as your car paint. So it’s always important to protect it. Just like polishing your car, you should apply an extra layer of protection to the soft top of a convertible.

This will keep the front end of your car looking like new, prevent the fibers from deteriorating, and most importantly, prevent leaks.

You can start the process smoothly by getting a suitable protecting solution for your vinyl and fabric convertible top. If you have a fabric top, we recommend using a premium fabric protectant. This product is specially developed for top enthusiasts and true convertible professionals to protect and maintain vinyl soft, fabric convertible tops, and plastic windows from damaging factors.

  • Start with a clean and dry convertible.
  • Cover windows or paint with newspaper and tape to avoid overspray.
  • If possible, do this indoors as light winds can stir up dust and debris, hindering the protection process.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions!
  • In general, you should lightly spray the protectant over the entire fabric surface.
  • Do not saturate the converter head.
  • Allow 15-30 minutes for the product to dry before applying a second coat.
  • Reapply as needed.

How To Remove Stains On A Convertible Top?

If there is a stain on the hood, you should remove it as soon as possible. Use an all-purpose cleaner and a soft-bristled brush. Spray cleaner on the stain and shake gently. Next, use a hair wash to suck out the dirty water.

Repeat this process as needed. If you do not have access to a washing machine, use a wet/dry vacuum instead.

How To Remove Mold On The Convertible Top?

If your convertible has mold or mildew, getting rid of it should be fairly straightforward.

  • First, apply the soft top cleaner to the entire soft top and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
  • Next, reapply the fabric cleaner and scrub with hot water and a gentle brush. Always wear a mask when doing this because mold spores can be a health hazard.
  • Finally, rinse your soft convertible top thoroughly.

You may have to repeat this entire process until you are satisfied with the result; it depends on how bad the condition of the upper part is and how hard you worked!

How To Restore Color To The Convertible Top?

To restore the color of your convertible top, you should use any of the high-quality color restoration/solutions for fabric and vinyl top.

These products are designed to restore color to your faded canvas convertible soft top in your mid-size sports car. They are specially formulated to restore the faded color of soft tops and provide a strong and even finish that penetrates deep inside your canvas roof.

It is best to apply the product in cool or cloudy conditions so that the drying time is not too fast and it does not cause an uneven paint finish. Shake the solution well and decant an adequate amount of the product into a separate container to apply to the soft face.

how to protect convertible top
To restore the color of your convertible, you should use any of the high-quality color restoration/solutions for fabric and vinyl top. (Photo: Detailed Image)

Then, starting from the center and working outward, apply the restorer quickly and evenly with a clean paintbrush, being careful not to spill any onto the car’s paintwork. Let stand for 3 hours for the restorer to dry and repaint if necessary and allow to dry for another 3 hours. Do not leave it in a damp place until the restorer is completely dry.


If you follow these simple cleaning instructions correctly, your convertible top can look and function like new for years. While this may depend on your cleaning method, good results will always await you at the end of the day if you focus on the details and do it carefully. Rain or bad weather won’t discourage you after you’ve cleaned, restored, or repaired your convertible. Now that you have the cleanest convertible, get out and enjoy it with a fun drive.