Written By Car Bibles Staff
Published Oct. 28, 2019

Having a convertible is an amazing feeling. On a warm day, being able to bring your top down and let the open air of the highway rush over you is a feeling like no other. Unfortunately, on colder days, knowing that your soft top is cracking, growing mold or becoming tough and dirty is definitely not up there in the list of things we love about our convertibles.

That’s why you need the best convertible top cleaner options on the market – and who better to provide you with a solid list of convertible top cleaners than us? Below, we give you the rundown of the best soft top cleaner available. Not only that, but we discuss what makes a great convertible top cleaner and answer all your most frequently asked questions when it comes to keeping your convertible in top condition.

The Best Convertible Top Cleaner and Protectant

Hitting our top spot as the best convertible top cleaner is the 303 convertible top cleaner and care kit. Incredibly popular and loved by customers for providing effective and affordable cleaning for any soft top, this is a perfect choice for almost any convertible owner.

The premium cleaner works on all types of convertible tops without using harsh chemicals, while the guard works to rebuild the water repellency and helps to prevent future staining. Just be aware that the guard itself isn’t for use on vinyl or plastic types – and definitely tape off the baseboards,  etc. as this item can cause a sticky leftover mess on the rest of your car’s surfaces.

Key Features
  • Helps repel water
  • Cleaner and Guard
  • Highly rated
  • Protects against further stains
Specification
  • Brand 303 Products
  • Model 30520
  • Weight 2 pounds

RaggTopp is a well-known manufacturer of premium car cleaning products and this car soft top cleaner and protectant kit is no different. Coming with a 16fl. Oz spray cleaner, 14fl. Oz aerosol protectant both are incredibly easy to use and very effective on fabric tops. It also comes with a brush for helping to remove those tougher stains, while two microfiber cloths are also included to ensure your finish is as good as new.

While more expensive than some other options on our list, we feel that the finish provided by this RaggTopp soft top cleaner is worth every penny. Particularly as the product itself is completely biodegradable and will do no harm to the rest of your car, meaning there’s less concern over set up and cleaning.

Key Features
  • Complete kit
  • Product tested for 3 years prior to sale
  • Made with an antioxidant, low pH, no bleach formula
Specification
  • Brand RaggTopp
  • Model RT-KIT1
  • Weight 2 pounds

While this is created by Porsche, you can actually use this protectant and water proofer on plenty of different convertibles. You’ll need to be sure that your soft top has a darker color, as this aerosol is known to darken the top while protecting it – ideal for those with black or navy soft tops but not so great for those with lighter colors.

You’ll also need to purchase a cleaner beforehand and try to use this aerosol in areas that are shaded from the wind, in order to get good coverage from your canister. It is, however, fantastic for providing UV protection and helping to rebuild your car’s waterproof layer. All-in-all, it’s a great choice for keeping your convertible looking great and protecting it from the daily stains and dirt of travel.

Key Features
  • Designed by Porsche for Porsche
  • Helps build water repellant
  • Works on different car types
Specification
  • Brand Porsche
  • Model 000 044 000 91
  • Weight 1 pounds

This handy cleaner and protectant from Surf City Garage works wonders on all types of soft tops. Easily coming up as one of the best soft top cleaners on the market, it provides an added layer of UV protection while cleaning off the dirt and debris of the road, without too much elbow grease from yourself.

It’s also one of the most affordable options online today, as it provides so much value for money. Able to work on all colors, as well as fabrics and vinyl materials, this is a great choice for any user looking to get a quick, easy to use option in convertible cleaner and protectant.

Key Features
  • Cleaner and protectant in one
  • Highly rated
  • Works on vinyl
Specification
  • Brand Surf City Garage
  • Model 109
  • Weight 1.5 pounds

Another great cleaner and protector in one, this spray from Meguiar’s Wax is another fantastic option that works on all soft tops. Customers note that this option provides great coverage and is worth every cent spent. They also mention that using this with a good quality brush will help to work wonders over a standard cloth – particularly as, if you use a cloth, you may find that you need to rinse out the muck fairly often thanks to how effective this product is.

It comes with the added bonus of working on all colors and materials without fuss and can easily clean up even the toughest stains. From hard water to bird droppings, you’ll find your soft top looks clean and spotless after using this soft top cleaner from Meguiar’s.

Key Features
  • Works on all types of convertible tops
  • Cleans and protects
  • Great coverage
Specification
  • Brand MEGUIARS WAX
  • Model G2016
  • Weight 1.1 pounds

Only suitable for use on black convertible tops, this option cleans and dyes the soft top – so it definitely shouldn’t be used to clean lighter colored soft tops. The foam applicator is included to help you get even coverage across your top while the mixture itself is environmentally friendly.

There are only 8 fluid ounces in this option, so you may prefer to buy two to ensure you don’t run out mid-way through your application, and you’ll definitely need to keep a clean cloth to hand, in case anything gets on the rest of your car. However, overall, customers absolutely loved this product and even those with cars as old as 45 note that the difference is almost immeasurable.

Key Features
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Pigmented with black to help rebuild color
  • Foam applicator included
Specification
  • Brand Forever Car Care Products
  • Model FB813
  • Weight 11.2 ounces

Perfect for canvas soft tops, this sealant is perfect for use after your cleaner to help keep your soft top waterproof and stain resistant. Also available in a liter option for those with 4-seaters, this particular option is perfect for smaller, two-seater vehicles – or buy the larger option if you’re unsure, as you may find you use a lot of this gel sealant in one go.

This is a fantastic choice for those with a fabric soft top as it is easily absorbed by the fabric and has been shown to provide a long-lasting finish. Use this on overcast days to avoid an uneven finish, from drying out too quick, then allow to dry completely before taking your newly cleaned and finished convertible out for a spin.

Key Features
  • For use after cleaner
  • Quickly absorbed
  • Seals and protects
Specification
  • Brand Protox World
  • Model ST22
  • Weight 1.12 pounds

Another cleaner and protector kit, this option from Chemical Guys is a highly rated choice that works wonders on your convertible top. Easy to use, with both options coming in a spray bottle to ensure even coverage without the hassle, this choice brings out stains and dirt with little to no effort from yourself.

Being slightly more expensive than many other options on our list, means that it doesn’t rate as highly when considering the cost effectiveness. That said, this is still a great choice that is loved by many customers for their simple and easy to use design and makeup. Just be aware that less is more when you apply, as too much sprayed on often means that it is less likely to last over time.

Key Features
  • Cleans and protects
  • Works with all color convertible tops
  • Removes and repels stains on all kinds of soft tops
Specification
  • Brand Chemical Guys
  • Model HOL_996-2PK
  • Weight 2.3 pounds

A great option for cleaning any type of soft top, this is a great choice for getting out those tough stains and mold spots, while adding a pleasant fragrance to your cars convertible top. With 100% of customers leaving five-star reviews, at the time of writing, you can be sure that this is an effective option that will only grow in popularity.

It’s currently also available at an amazing price, providing you with great value for money and ensuring you are left with a positive experience. This is particular the case when you consider how this cleaner already has grime-resistant properties, giving you a great look that works with or without the protectant.

Key Features
  • Repels dust and dirt
  • Perfumed
  • Very highly rated
Specification
  • Brand Griot's Garage
  • Model 10855
  • Weight 1.65 pounds

Great for both vinyl and fabric soft tops, this convertible top cleaner and protectant is another great choice that provides excellent value for money. Further cost effectiveness is added by the fact that option comes as a six-pack – great if you work for a garage, as a valet or simply want to stock up for future use.

This is an easy to use spray that provides great coverage, while customers love using this on their soft tops as well as plenty of other fabrics around their home and caravans. They also note that there is no unpleasant smells with this option and mention that you may need to go through a lot with each use.

Key Features
  • Cleaner and protectant
  • Works on vinyl and canvas
  • Pack of 6
Specification
  • Brand Blue Magic
  • Model 707-06PK
  • Weight 7 pounds

Best Convertible Top Cleaner Buying Guide

What to Look Out for When Buying a Convertible Top Cleaner

  • Size

The size of your new convertible top cleaner needs to be enough to cover your entire soft top in one go – lest you struggle with an uneven coating and the need to buy another bottle of the same make and model. Don’t forget that each cleaner and/or protectant will have a different coverage level, so you might need to check with the coverage that each product leaves, so as to get the best size for your needs.

  • Chemicals

You always be aware of the chemicals that are present in your cleaner, as some can be harmful to you – especially if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. However, there is an increasing need to make products with friendlier ingredients, with the best options being those that have no bleach, for example.

If not, you’ll need to ensure that you apply your cleaner in a well-ventilated area so that you are less likely to inhale any nasty chemicals. Less chemicals also mean that it’s less likely to cause any problems with your car. For example, those with bleach can get rid of mold and mildew – however, they are also more likely to stain your soft top and leave you with an ugly, uneven color on your convertible top.

Finally, you’ll also need to check whether there are any restrictions in the state that you’re in – especially for states such as California, which is known to be very stringent with which chemicals are accepted.

  • Effectiveness

Naturally, every cleaner and protector is going to have a different level of effectiveness. This can be based on the quality of ingredients and the general makeup of the product you’re using – so check with previous buyers to see if your new item will do the job it’s intended to complete, or whether it’s better for occasional top-ups.

  • Material

The material your soft top is made of will affect which type of cleaner and protectant you should buy. The two most popular options are vinyl soft tops and canvas convertible tops, and both of these require different levels of upkeep.

As such, some convertible top cleaners are best suited to a particular materials, so be sure to check with the manufacturer that the option you’re interested in is suitable for your needs. We talk about the differences and requirements required for each, below.

  • Color

While most of the options in our Top Picks are suitable for all colors and soft top types, some will use a dye within them in order to get the best result for their needs. Darker options will do well with those that have dyes kept within them, while they are also more likely to be affected by soft top cleaners with bleach in them. Meanwhile, lighter tops might find it a little more difficult to get the same level of finish, as they will lack dyes.

  • Fragrance

You’ll notice that some of our Top Picks come with different fragrances. This is great if you prefer to avoid the typical smells of cleaning products. However, you should be aware that bleach and citrus can both damage your cars’ soft top, so be sure to avoid these when purchasing your new cleaner.

  • Reviews

The reviews are easily one of the most important factors to consider when buying a new convertible top cleaner. These will give you most of the information that you need, should the product descriptions be lacking the info you need. They will also give you some great hints and tips as to how best to use your new product, which can be a great help if this is your first time buying a soft top cleaner.

Finally, they’ll also be able to indicate any options that you should avoid, as well as how good the customer service is. This is great information to know if you’re worrying about the level of aftercare or simply want some more help before you use your cleaner for convertibles.

Why You Should Use a Soft Top Roof Cleaner & Protector

As we’re sure you know by now, the fabric used on a soft top is very different to the rest of the car. With the different fabric comes different needs – yet you need to work with these needs in order to maintain the waterproof and secure aspects of your convertible top.

Over time, your soft top can become dry and brittle, as well as increasingly dirty from the standard dirt and debris that you’re likely to come across on the road. To combat this, using a good quality cleaner and protectant will keep your soft top at it’s best. This way, not only will your car remain secure and comfortable, you can also keep it looking great and working perfectly.

With your soft top being susceptible to the constant heat and UV rays of the sun, it’s the area of the car which is most likely to suffer from problems during use – especially as it’s unlikely to be in constant use. There’s nothing worse than going to ride your car on a sunny day, only to discover that your soft top is breaking and struggling, while looking moldy and dirty. Thus, using a convertible top cleaner will help to avoid the damage created through daily use, as well as making your soft top look great.

Instead, use your cleaner to shift out the dirt and grime on your soft top, before applying a protectant to seal over your soft top. This will help to waterproof your top, as well as help to resist any dirt and grime during your drive and, finally, providing your car with a UV protective layer, to stop the damage caused by UV rays.

Vinyl vs Canvas Convertible Tops

  • Vinyl

Vinyl soft tops come with a range of pros and cons. For example, you might notice that a vinyl top is more likely to hold shine, as well as being better suited to repel water and muck from the road. However, they are also more susceptible to the weather, often becoming dry, cracking and peeling under the hot sun.

Once this happens, you’ll need to replace your soft top, as there is no repair kit available for vinyl tops – just complete replacements. Thus, having a cleaner and protectant is vital to maintaining the overall health of your vinyl top.

  • Fabric

Cloth tops on your convertible are hit and miss on how visually appealing they may be, and their overall aesthetic is based more on personal preferences. They are less likely to repel water as cleanly and frequently, meaning that they don’t do as well in wetter states, unless kept under cover for the majority of their time. This ability to hold moisture also leads to more instances of mold and mildew.

They do not, however, crack or peel in the same way as vinyl and patch jobs can work, which is more cost effective. In order to avoid having to patch up your soft top, however, it’s best to stay on top of the cleaning and be sure to add a good layer of sealant or protectant, once you’ve finished cleaning.

If you aren’t sure whether you have a vinyl or fabric soft top, the best way to tell the difference is to place your hand on your convertible top. If your top has more of a plastic feel, it is likely to be vinyl – while fabric tends to feel more like a tent material. If you’re still not sure, then it’s best to take ask your local garage or service center to double check this for you.

You can also use some cleaners and protectants on both materials, so if you’re not sure but don’t want to head to your local center, then opt for a cleaner and protectant that is suitable for both types.

How to Use Convertible Top Cleaner and Protectant

Before you get started, check to see whether there are any restrictions on your cleaning equipment. For example, some cleaners and protectors require you to apply their products in a shaded area, or in a well-ventilated area. Follows the directions given to you on the bottle as appropriate before using your convertible top protectant or convertible top conditioner.

  1. Begin by prepping your roof – for fabric tops, you’ll need to wet the entire area. Meanwhile vinyl tops will require you to hoover over the area, to shift any dirt or loose debris, before wetting the area.
  2. Canvas soft tops will now need to have a quick brush down, which will shift the dirt and grime that has built up from driving.
  3. Starting from the middle and working outwards, you should apply your cleaner and use a soft-bristled brush to work the cleaner into both types of convertible tops.
  4. Allow the cleaner to sit in place for around 15 minutes, once your entire top has been covered and gently brushed.
  5. Using a hose or a sponge and clean bucket of water, wash down your top, ensuring you clear all of the cleaner from the entire area.
  6. Allow to dry thoroughly – this may take as long as 48 hours, depending on the type you buy.
  7. Next, use your protectant or sealant in a similar manner to above, working from the center of the soft top to the outer sections.
  8. Do not wash off this layer, unless the manufacturer’s instructions tell you to do so.

Of course, these are general guidelines and further advice should be sought from the manufacturer if you are struggling or the instructions you are given differ from our own.

Our Top Pick

We love the fact that the 303 Convertible Fabric Top Cleaning and Care Kit comes with both the cleaner and the guard at an incredible price. Not only are you receiving plenty for your money with the 16oz bottles, but both work remarkably well. While the guard can’t be used on vinyl tops, the cleaner works on all fabrics and makes your soft top come up almost like new.

Customers love how easy this option is to use and how well it brings out dirt, while providing an extra layer of protection when using the guard – all without the use of harsh chemicals. This is a great choice if you’re looking for an affordable, effective solution that doesn’t take multiple applications to get your car coming up new.

Source:

  1. Vinyl Vs. Cloth Convertible Top – It Still Runs

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