How to Clean Your Convertible’s Top

Written by Julie Lant on July 05, 2018

It’s summer and you just picked up a sweet classic convertible. The gorgeous 1965 Ford cherry red Mustang convertible looks beautiful. The paint has been cared for, the mechanics are golden, but the soft top… oh woe is me., the soft top definitely lacks lustre and downgrades the beauty of your ride.

If you want to bring that convertible top back to the same level as the rest of the classic after that soft top suffering from years of neglect, you’re in luck. You’ve got a couple of options ahead of you.

Here’s the simple solution: Search, find and buy a 1965 Ford Mustang convertible top that’s in great condition or that has been restored.

Or you can put a bit of the ol’ elbow grease into it and clean it yourself. The process is very simple, but requires some TLC.

Use a neutral soap with warm water and a soft, non-abrasive brush. You’re going to want to work the soap and water in circular motions to lift and dislodge the dirt that’s set into the roof material. You should start to see a small lather build if the soap/water ratio is right. Feel free to play with the mix to reach optimal lather, while ensuring enough water to keep things fluid. You’ll likely start to see a mixture of dark and lighter circular traces appear from your cleansing motion. This is good!

Rinse the area you’re washing often with warm water. This makes your progress more apparent and will enable you to see the areas still requiring your attention. Once rinsed, do wipe away the excess water with a soft, absorbent rag… and repeat.

Yes, it may be slow going if the dirt has been left to accumulate. You may even have to do it twice or three times to get it to a level of cleanliness you’re satisfied with. After the entire top has been washed thoroughly, rinse the top completely to ensure all soap residue has been flushed away. Wipe down to dry.

If after moving through the process, your top still leaves a little to be desired, you may need to up your cleaning arsenal. That being said, you should absolutely avoid any harsh or volatile household cleaners or solutions containing bleach. However, there are many commercial cleaning products available should you need to rid your top of some more stubborn dirt build up.

As always, should you have questions about which products can or should be used on your soft top, seek out your classic car care professional.


Happy scrubbing.

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