How to Clean and Maintain Your Jeep Soft Top

jeep soft top

The biggest expense after your home is likely to be the cost of getting from point A to point B, statistics show. Your Jeep is a precious investment. Taking pride in it will help you keep its value. 

Sunlight and road grime are going to take their toll, especially on your jeep soft top. Whether you bought a jeep with a fabric top or decided to install a jeep soft top yourself, gear up for our tips that’ll show you the best way to keep it clean.

It’s not just as simple as just applying a bit of soap and water. Here’s everything you need to know. 

Make a Routine and Stick to It

Iconic vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler need looking after. Giving them a thorough wash once or twice a year isn’t going to cut it. You need to make time to clean your soft top every few weeks. You should also check it regularly for marks and damage. 

All this is a sound investment that’s likely to increase your soft top’s lifespan. Always try and use a specialist detergent. These tend to contain no oils. Those can stick to the surface and attract more grime.

Keeping your jeep in great shape will help it stand out from the crowd. The timeless design is the one every kid dreamed of. Go a step further and shop now for a lift kit to give your jeep even more cool appeal.

Is Your Jeep Soft Top Vinyl or Fabric?

It’s important to know this as vinyl and fabric may need different types of cleaning and protectant products. If you didn’t buy your jeep new, bear in mind previous owners or dealers may have replaced the top with a different type of material.

If you’re unsure, here’s a quick test. Take a small drop of water and put it on the soft top. Try rubbing the water in. If it begins to soak in then the top is likely to be fabric. If it smudges then it’s more probable that the top’s vinyl.

Vinyl Tops

Washing a vinyl top is as simple as cleaning the rest of your jeep. Use a gentle specialist shampoo. Some of these will also prevent mildew from growing on the surface.

Some car shampoos contain chemicals which can improve the bodywork’s gloss. These are great for paintwork but not needed for soft tops. You should use a brush with feathered bristles to free up dust and dirt from textured vinyl. 

Protecting Your Vinyl Soft Top

Once your jeep’s soft top has been cleaned, you can then think about using a product to shield it from harmful UV rays and cracking. This should also help repel dirt and is one of many ways to keep your jeep protected

Try not to apply a protectant when the weather is windy unless you are able to park it inside a garage. 

Even breezes can cause an overspray and help to attract more dirt before the protectant has had a chance to dry. You should spray your protectant around 10 inches from the top in sweeping motions.

Use a clean microfiber cloth to wipe the product over the surface. Ensure that any excess is removed from paint and glass. You should consider repeating the procedure about once a month.

Fabric Tops

The process is very similar to cleaning a vinyl top, although you will need to use products specifically made for fabric. There are cleaners available which can be used on both vinyl and fabric. 

Fabric tops will normally have been treated so that they automatically repel water and dirt. The effectiveness of this will decrease over time.

You should be able to take a view when washing your jeep. If water is penetrating the fabric then it’s time to treat your soft top with a protectant.

Protecting Your Fabric Soft Top

Make sure the surface is clean and dry. Shake the protectant well and spray evenly between fifteen and twenty inches from the fabric. You should use a gentle sweeping motion and take care not to saturate the surface. Apply up to three coats.

It’s important to let the product dry completely between each application. Depending on the outside temperature this would normally be at least ten minutes. It’s fine to let the soft top dry off in the sun. 

You should use a microfiber cloth to wipe away any excess spray from the paintwork or glass. A protectant should be applied about every six to eight weeks. This will help shield the soft top from the sun and repel grime as well.

Use the Right Brush

Choosing the right cleaning product and protectant is important but so is using the correct kind of brush. Get it wrong and you could end up damaging your soft top. You should always use a brush that’s recommended for the job

A specially manufactured brush will have appropriate bristles. These need to be soft enough to prevent causing damage but hard enough to give a thorough clean. A specialist horsehair brush is ideal for both vinyl and fabric. It’s soft and durable.

Cleaning the Windows

Flexible vinyl windows need extra care to prevent them from developing cracks, scratches, and yellowing. They are the part of your soft top which is more prone to aging.

You should always wash your Jeep in the shade and away from direct sunlight. Clean it in exactly the same way as you would the rest of the top. Then treat it with a protectant. There are products available which both protect and clean.

It is also possible to treat any damage with products that can get rid of scratches and cracks. Some of these can be used on exterior lights too.

All this is going to help stop the windows from fogging up and reduce yellowing which can make the windows look drab and lack-luster.

A Clean Bill of Health

Regular maintenance of your jeep soft top is not only going to keep it looking great, but it’s also going to help your vehicle keep its value. The secret is to clean and protect it regularly with the right products.

Read here for more tips that’ll keep your vehicle clean and looking as good as new.