April 25th, 2006 by Danny the web stig
Soft tops, especially fabric hoods, are much easier to clean if you keep them in fairly good condition in the first place. It helps if you think about where you park. Don’t park under trees! Apart from the tree sap, birds have a tendency to sit in trees - and you know what birds do!
Also, take care when waxing and polishing your car. Mask out the edges of your hood with masking take if you have to, but avoid geting waxes, polishes or any othe product on your hood if it doesn’t belong there.
Cabriolet hoods are treated with a water and dirt resistant coating which will help you keep your roof easy to clean, but just like any other coating it will wear off over time, so it’s best to re-proof your hood about once per year.
With your hood proofed, and tree sap, bird poo and wax residue avioded, it’s actually fairly easy to clean. most of the time you can just wash it as you would the rest of the car. A normal shampoo or a wash-&-wax is fine to use. You may want to use a stiffer brush than you would use on your paintwork to get into the nooks and crannies, you can also use a bug-sponge, which is a fairly cause sponge by sponge standards… you cannot scratch fabric like you can paintwork, but don’t be too rought with it or you will cause lint.
If your hood is dry, you can use a vacuum cleanerto remove lint, fluff and hairs, you could also use a lint brush.
But still, over time, your hood will likely begin to look tatty. Hoods attract moss, lichen, mould and mildew. They also tend to fade… but all is not lost as there are products out there for care of your hood.
AutoGlym do a kit for cleaning and re-proofing your hood which is very good. But for the full shebang, Renovo International specialize in products for fabric and vinyl hoods, including dyes for recolouring (availible is several colours). These products really are superb and suprisingly easy to use. However, if you aren’t confident about redying your hood (I admit, it is fairly messy) then most valeters will provide this service.
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