Cleaning the convertible top? Not in the convertible car wash

4 minute reading time
Cabrioletkap reinigen? Niet in de cabrio wasstraat
The car wash is handy….but not for your convertible. The car wash can affect your convertible roof.

Just past the car wash and get nice and clean again! Of course that sounds ideal, but unfortunately this is not so wise. I would also advise against the special 'convertible car wash'. If you have a nice convertible, you want to keep it that way. So why is the car wash a bad idea? Read on quick!

Convertible through car wash? Greater risk of leakage!

Going through the car wash with your convertible increases the risk of leakage. Your convertible roof will not immediately leak. But the hood does get a lot of use.

Do you have a new convertible? Then nothing will happen any time soon. The canvas of the convertible top is then still well protected. The stitching is still good. The rear window film is still strong. The risk of leakage is high after all!

This is because the fabric of a convertible roof consists of several layers in almost all cases. These layers are glued together. You can never see what the condition of this adhesive layer is. This adhesive layer can be cured, in particular by UV radiation. Initially, the cloth is nicely attached. But due to the mechanical stress of the car wash and the cleaning agents, that layer can come off. The outer layer of the convertible top is treated with a protective coating. This coating makes the fabric water-repellent and dirt-resistant. The agents used in a car wash are made to quickly loosen dirt from the hard surface of a car. That is very different from the vulnerable convertible cloth.

Convertible car wash is not suitable for convertible cloth

Why is the canvas of a convertible roof affected by cleaning the car wash? This is because products in a car wash have not been specially developed for convertible cloth. They are car cleaning agents. They are often strong cleaners, so that they can quickly remove a lot of dirt from the car.

I have been the owner of Ultramar since 1998. I have seen thousands of boat covers, convertible tops and tents pass by at this professional sail and tent laundry.

What I know because of that is:

  1. convertible canvas is more fragile than most boat covers and tents.
  2. convertible cloth must therefore be cleaned carefully
  3. convertible cloth must be protected in the right way
  4. the wax in the washing program is not suitable for protecting the cloth.

Convertible car wash: no control over the washing process

Some car washes indicate that they are especially suitable for convertibles. That seems like a solution. But that's not it!

These are usually the so-called 'rag launderettes'. Rags are indeed less harmful than the revolving brushes. However, there is a problem. The car wash machine simply runs its program. The pressure washer and the brushes do not take into account the condition of your convertible top.

  1. Is the canvas already worse due to UV rays?
  2. Is the rear window a little harder?
  3. Is the stitching a bit worse?
  4. Is the glue layer not so good anymore?

The machine doesn't care. He does his thing and after a few minutes it's the next one's turn. Also, the rinse time is often much too short. As a result, residues of the cleaning agent remain on and in the cloth. These residues of cleaning agent easily attract dirt again. And it is precisely on that dirt that mold and green deposits can easily grow.

It doesn't matter whether it's spinning brushes or a rag car wash. The pressure of the brushes can cause the convertible cloth to tear in places where the stitching is already bad.

Wash convertible top? A plastic rear window is extra vulnerable

Not only the convertible cloth of your convertible roof is vulnerable. The hood also has a rear window.

Is this made of plastic? Then the rear window can be damaged much faster than with normal cars. This is mainly because the plasticizer decreases. The glass is then more fragile. Sometimes a bit 'milky' and opaque. It is best to clean a plastic rear window by hand with water and a soft cloth. Optionally, you can treat the plastic window with a boat polish or Teflon-based car polish. This gives good protection.

Also to prevent damage to the rear window of your convertible, it is therefore not recommended to go through the car wash with your convertible.

Cleaning the convertible top with a glass rear window

A glass rear window is less vulnerable than a plastic rear window. Such a rear window can withstand the forces of a car wash. But I'm only talking about the glass itself!

The pressure on the window puts more force on the stitching and bonding. With an older convertible top, the risk of damage is greater and the window can come loose.

Do you have rear window heating? Then pay attention to the vulnerable plug connections. These should not get damp.

Cleaning the convertible top, what is the best way?

You can easily clean a convertible top yourself. You do this by always working in a few simple steps.

Here are the steps:

  1. Clean the convertible top with water first
  2. Then clean the convertible top with Sprayhood & Tent Shampoo
  3. If necessary, clean with Power Cleaner
  4. Impregnate and protect the canvas with Sprayhood & Tent Protector

Read here how much you need to clean your convertible top

Cleaning convertible top? Read the 21 best tips

Would you like the best practical tips for cleaning your convertible top? Then read here further.