In this article, you read about how to correctly clean, re-colour and waterproof your top. Avoid the top 10 most common mistakes.
1. DON’T use the wrong cleaner
Snow foam is great fun to use and the majority of soft-top care products are too strong for cleaning your fabric or canvas top, often resulting in fading and damage. Indeed this is the case when using wash and wax products and general household cleaners. While they’ll help remove some green mold they don’t contain mold inhibitors preventing its return. On the flip side using sterilizing tablets will kill the mold but won’t clean the top. So make life easy for yourself and use a product designed to kill the mold and clean the top in one go.
2. Follow the product instructions
So you’ve gone to the trouble of getting the right cleaner with a mold inhibitor. Well here’s how to use it properly. Brush the top first to remove any loose dust and debris then dampen the top and brush the cleaner on working one small area at a time. It’s important to leave the cleaner to work for a few minutes before lightly scrubbing with hot water. Never carry out the cleaning process in direct sunlight and take your time around heavily soiled areas which may require a second clean. Two or three gentle cleans are always better than one harsh clean which ends up damaging the top.
3. Never use a jet washer or car wash
Of all the mistakes it is the most common. Jet washers should never be used on any soft top because they can cause irreversible damage. Jet washers due to their excessive power can also damage stitching and seals. The same can be said for car washes the water pressure can be too high, cleaning brushes too stiff, and the cleaning chemicals too strong causing fading and damage after cleaning your top.
4. To colour or not to colour
The question to ask yourself is does it need re-colouring or can I go straight to the waterproofing stage. A good clean and waterproof is usually all that’s required. It’s always worth remembering that a good waterproofer will slightly darken and even out of the colour of the fabric or canvas greatly improving the look of the top.
5. The top MUST be clean when re colouring
If you’re going to re-colour your top it must be as clean as possible. Even if it looks clean you’ll be surprised at the amount of gunk that comes out when you do clean it. Before you start make sure you have enough product. We suggest 500 ml should be enough for a two-seater sports car and one liter for a seater. Make sure that your soft top is thoroughly dry before applying the restorer. Color the top in one go or you’ll risk getting tide marks. Do not apply the restorer in direct sunlight. Use a brush to apply the restorer as opposed to a spray gun because it makes for a more efficient penetration and a much better result.
6. DON’T use the wrong waterproofer
There are two types of waterproofers solvent-based and water-based. We recommend using a water-based product. While solvent-based products will waterproof your top. Once applied they are almost impossible to remove. So if at a later date you wish to apply a water-based coloured restorer it will likely react with a solvent-based waterproofer giving a hard and white frosty effect. Also, good quality soft tops are made up of two layers of fabric with a thin waterproofing layer of rubber in between using a solvent-based waterproofer could dry out and perish this important layer of rubber.
7. DON’T spill the waterproofer onto the glass or bodywork
If possible spend a few minutes at the start of the colour restoration or waterproofing process to mask the roof. If this is not possible just work slowly applying with a brush wiping away any spills as you go. Leaving it until the waterproofer has dried will make it extremely difficult to remove.
8. Apply the waterproofer with a brush
As with the cleaner and restorer, you’ll get a much better application using a brush rather than a spray and for the best results, you need to apply two coats. Remember as a general rule for a two-seater sports car you’ll need 500 ml and for a larger four-seater car one liter.
9. DON’T test the waterproofing too soon
We get a few excited customers who apply the waterproofer let it dry for 15 minutes and then attack it with a hosepipe and expect to see the magical beading effect. All waterproofers need a good 24 hours to dry properly and be fully effective. So please be patient.
10. DON’T forget to maintain your top
Remove any bird mess with clean water or a baby wipe and reproof every six months preferably in the autumn. We hope you find these tips useful.