View Full Version : Cleaning light-colored vinyl stick cover

12-05-2008, 07:27 PM
My son and I are getting down to the details in our TR3 restoration and one of my jobs was to try and ressurect the ragtop, tonneau cover and stick cover that came with our $500 miracle car. The ragtop and tonneau are black, made by Amco and are probably 15-20 years old. They were all dusty and stained, but a days' worth of soap, elbow grease, and 3M vinyl restorer took care of the black items quite nicely, but the stick cover was white and proved to the be the real pain. Even after scrubbing and soaking in bleach for an hour, that white vinyl just refused to come clean. It appeared as if years of grease, paint, etc was caught down in the wrinkles of the vinyl and nothing would dislodge it. Figuring I didn't have much to lose, I decided to try a solvent that would (hoepfully) leave the vinyl intact while getting that crud out of the wrinkles. From past experience I knew that acetone was a big, big no-no since it dissolves vinyl, styrofoam, and just about anything else it touches, so I decided to try lacquer thinner and that worked like a champ.

I poured some lacquer thinner in a small jar and used an old toothbrush, dipping the brush in to the jar and then working the vinyl in 1-2 inch areas with a circular motion. I'd do about a square foot and then go over the cleaned area with a sponge, some dishwashing soap, and hot water to get rid of the thinner.

Here's a pic of what I started with - keep in mind this was after scrubbing with two types of soap and a scrub brush:

...and here's what it looked like after the toothbrush/lacquer thinner was used and washed off:

Thought I might post this in case others need to clean up some stubborn vinyl. Good ventilation strongly recommended!

Geo Hahn
12-05-2008, 08:40 PM
Thanks! I have an old white tonneau that was to nasty to use. I will see if lacquer thinner can revive it.