View Full Version : Convert.Top Cleaner?

05-08-2002, 07:15 PM
What do some of you folks use to clean and condition the convertible tops on your cars?

I'm looking for ideas on two different types of tops.....one for vinyl tops (like on my Miata) and another for true canvas tops (like on my Spridget).
At the moment I'm thinking Armorall for the vinyl top....other than soap and water, I can't think of anything to put on the canvas top.


05-08-2002, 09:28 PM
Aeronca- Do NOT use Armor All on the ragtop of any of your cars. It builds up and leaves a film. If you put the top down and leave it that way for a while-especially if it's warm and sunny out, as it often is when ragtops go down-it melts off and leaves streaks and puddles in the folds of the top. Not a pretty sight. For cleaning vinyl tops, I've used diluted Simple Green (waaay diluted) with decent results, but have only done this once in three years. Havent found anything I like as far as protectants go.

Ken G
05-08-2002, 09:43 PM
This leads to a related question. My 1925 Rover 16/50 (convertible) has a new top made of black canvas; it was installed by my cousin in England before I shipped the car to San Francisco. I don't intend to go out in the rain, but the car was standing outside during a shower, and I was slightly worried that the canvas seemed to absorb a lot of water and took a long while to dry. None came through, but I think it would in heavier rain. Should it be water-proofed in some way, and if so, what with?

Ken G

05-09-2002, 11:27 PM

My MGB's top is pure white (thats the idea, anyway) and I resorted to using a vinyl/leather cleaner designed for seats - seemed to work pretty well (keep in mind I was trying to get small areas clean off a white surface, I don't know if it will do anything to a darker top).

I've also had some success with Blue Coral (I think) convertible-top cleaner. It goes on like any other spray-cleaner, worked pretty well on the white top and tonneau.

Lastly - I've used Mother's Convertible Top Cleaner on my MGTD replica. The top is similar to what you might find on a boat, it's a thin textured vinyl material, cloth-like underneath. Mother's CTC is a heavy solution that sprays on but suds (similar to a shampoo). After you get the top sudsed up you spray it off and dry it with a towel.

I don't like Armor-All on anything by the way. I used to use it a lot but there are dozens of better products on the market. On the TD-replica I used STP "son of a gun" (pretty sure thats what it is, it's vanilla scented and comes in a yellow bottle). I put a very light coat on the top and worked it around with a cloth. The top is 26 years old but looks new and doesn't have any oily residue.

One other comment on convertible tops - there are several different plastic polishes and cleaners out there that people use on plastic rear-windows and side-curtains. I've even used Meguire's Hi-Tech Yellow Wax on my MGB with a lot of success (always "looks" perfectly crystal clear afterwards and nothing sticks to it). Recently I started using "Helicopter Bubble Cleaner/Polish" by "Arrow", available at a lot of airport FBOs and pilot-supply houses. I never liked it on the airplane or helicopter plastic, but on the MG and Migi the plastic windows look terrific - and it's easy to use.

05-10-2002, 08:19 AM
OK.....no Armor All for me (I'm not crazy about it either....everything seems greasy afterwards). I'll try "Son-Of-A-Gun" and see how that works.

As for the top, I'll look for the Mother's or Blue Coral....the Miata has never had *any* kind of special cleaner (it's a year old last month) so I'd better start using something.

I've used ("borrowed form the airport guys") airplane plexiglas cleaner for the Spridget back window...seems to work good and I'll keep doing that (I usually place a towel against the window when I drop the top in that car....that make a big difference in window life). The Miata back window is glass so it's not a issue.

Still not sure about the Spridget canvas top....someone recommended the stuff they put on tents, available at camping supply stores...I might try that.

BTW Scott, did you see the MGT picture I posted on your "BCF Cards @ Daytona" thread?

[ 05-10-2002: Message edited by: aeronca65t ]</p>

05-10-2002, 05:16 PM
No - I hadn't seen it, but have now images/icons/smile.gif

Before I forget - I usually use aircraft windscreen cleaner/polish (not Mirror Glaze, but the name escapes me) on my "wind wings" side windows on the TD - works terrific... but for the flexible thin plastic I use that spray-cleaner.

Read my next post for a windshield/glass cleaning tip too.


06-23-2003, 01:44 PM
hi Try the renovo's cconvertible car care products www.renovointernational.com (https://www.renovointernational.com)

Mark Noeltner
06-23-2003, 04:18 PM
I highly recommend 303 Aerospace Protectant (https://www.303products.com/main.php) for your vinyl top after you have it clean. It does an excellent job of protecting against sun damage. I just use soap and water or maybe a little Simple Green to clean my Miata top, then the 303. You won't find it at most auto parts stores. I found it at a Spa and Pool supply. It's used heavily in that industry to protect vinyl pool and spa covers.

Check over at miata.net and you'll see that a lot of people there use 303 and love it. They have a cleaner also, but I haven't seen that locally and haven't tried it. But the Protectant keeps my Miata top looking brand new even in the desert sun.

06-23-2003, 10:13 PM
303 is fantastic, although pretty expensive compared to the usual stuff out there. I cleaned my top (white) with Blue Coral convertible top cleaner tonight - got a lot of dark dirt out of it, then went over it with a cloth dampened with 303. About 30 minutes later it looked absolutely brand new but felt dry.

Works great on tires too, make them always look new, not "dressed up".

06-23-2003, 10:59 PM
I had bought the "Mother's" cleaner......but I'm going to look for this "303" stuff. Thanks!

06-24-2003, 08:26 AM

303 Aerospace Protectant is a "protectant" and not really a cleaner. It's not cheap though, be forewarned.

I'll take pictures of a tire done with 303 compared to a "dressing", the stuff works great. Doesn't last in the rain unfortunately(it soaks into the tire but the outer-most layer needs to be replenished).