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  • Soft Top Cleaning

    I've cleaned my tan soft top twice now and can't seem to get rid of some darker stained areas especially below the rear window. It almost looks like mildew and is accentuated when wet. Do I need a stronger cleaner, stiffer brush or do I have to live with it? Car has 15k and the top in general is looking good except for these spoty areas.

    Gary

  • #2
    Re: Soft Top Cleaning

    most people don't reccomend it but I take mine sand soft top to the spray car wash and have been stain free for 3 years I spray it with the pre soak the soap then rinse I have had no negetive effects
    TEXAS THUNDER PLANNING COMMITTEE

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    • #3
      Re: Soft Top Cleaning

      I have a Cashmere with the Light Stone top. I had the same thing on mine. Drove me crazy, I tried everything, I tried the carwash with presoak, Raggtop Cleaner, 303, even tried Woolite. Seems like I could get some of it, dried looking nice but still visible when wet. Not long after, the spots that showed wet would start to get darker again.

      I started researching, found a website of Haartz, one of the leading
      makers of the cloth / canvas top material. I was able to ask the question and get help with cleaning mine. Seems it was actually mildew, all my claening was taking care of the surface mildew, but not killing it's growth in the weave of the canvas, and more visible when wet. Soon all I had killed was growing back due to not killing it down in the weave.

      Their solution freaked me out. But I decided to try it because I had reached the point of replacing the top. Their soltution was mix 1/4 cup of Raggtop Cleaner, 1/2 cup of bleach, yes bleach, and 1 gallon of water. The bleach is what freaked me out. They assured me, wet the top first, sponge the cleaning solution all over, let stand for minium of 20 minutes, don't let it dry, if you need, keep sponging on to keep wet. Then rinse it throughly. It worked, I had to do a few spots a second time. My top looks like new, it even cleaned up the areas where the creases are from folding. I followed it with a good washing with the ragtop cleaner to make sure there was no beach residue left.

      After it dried good, I was amazed the difference, didn't beach or change the color at all. I put several applications of the water proofing / sealant on. It looks like it did three years ago when I bought the car.

      It's nerve racking to put bleach on the top, but I trusted Haartz and tried it. I would do it again if needed. I'm tryingh to be more diligent cleaning and putting on the sealent.
      sigpic
      Bradford + TOTM April 2009 05 Thunderbird Cashmere #702 /1500 , ' 04 Acura TL, '79 Buick Electra Limited, Landau Coupe, '67 Mustang Convertible

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      • #4
        Re: Soft Top Cleaning

        Bradford:
        What you say about the meldew being deep in the threads makes sense. I went to their site and yes they do recommend using bleach. I'll give it a try. Did you test an area first?

        Gary

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        • #5
          Re: Soft Top Cleaning

          Gary, I did test a spot, I actually tested the band below the rear window. It was the worst with spots / mildew. I figured it it did discolor, at least it would be a full piece rather than a spot in the middle of another area. I believe the color of my top may be naturally lighter than yours. Now that I'm not scared of it, I probably would have left it on a little longer before rinsing and washing off.

          Let me know how it turns out, I hope you have the luck I did.

          Brad
          sigpic
          Bradford + TOTM April 2009 05 Thunderbird Cashmere #702 /1500 , ' 04 Acura TL, '79 Buick Electra Limited, Landau Coupe, '67 Mustang Convertible

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          • #6
            Re: Soft Top Cleaning

            I wonder if this method will work on the Sand colored soft boot cover as well? I may try and report back with results

            Thanks for the info!
            Mike & Jana
            Evening Blk./Evening Blk./Light Sand
            1 of 23
            Ordered 4-29-04
            Built 5-24-04
            Purchased 8-31-04

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            • #7
              Re: Soft Top Cleaning

              I'll have Margaret try this method when we get back from LA next week. Gotta come up with something or we will be installing a black rag top on a PCR.

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              • #8
                Re: Soft Top Cleaning

                I was scared to death for the time it was soaking on my top. But I was over the spotty, filthy top. I figured if it didn't work, I'd put the hardtop on and have a new top put on. I'm a bit obsessive / compulsive about my cars and want them clean at all times.
                sigpic
                Bradford + TOTM April 2009 05 Thunderbird Cashmere #702 /1500 , ' 04 Acura TL, '79 Buick Electra Limited, Landau Coupe, '67 Mustang Convertible

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                • #9
                  Re: Soft Top Cleaning

                  Mike / PaBlkBrd

                  Forgot to put this in my last post. Be careful with the bleach on your boot. The tops are canvas, cotton, tight twill. My '05 boot seems to be more synthetic and might be damaged by bleach. I cleaned mine with resolve carpet cleaner. Worked great, but my boot wasn't extremely dirty.
                  sigpic
                  Bradford + TOTM April 2009 05 Thunderbird Cashmere #702 /1500 , ' 04 Acura TL, '79 Buick Electra Limited, Landau Coupe, '67 Mustang Convertible

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                  • #10
                    Re: Soft Top Cleaning

                    Yep, I hear ya........I may knock down on the bleach amount, you can always add more.
                    Mike & Jana
                    Evening Blk./Evening Blk./Light Sand
                    1 of 23
                    Ordered 4-29-04
                    Built 5-24-04
                    Purchased 8-31-04

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                    • #11
                      Re: Soft Top Cleaning

                      Originally posted by Bradford View Post
                      I'm a bit obsessive / compulsive about my cars and want them clean at all times.
                      I thought I was too. There are people on this site who have taken obsessive/compulsive to a whole new level.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Soft Top Cleaning

                        Gary - I don't know what year TBIRD you have but I have a cashmere with the light stone top and it had the black marks that I could not get out and Ford Service department could not get out.....so FORD REPLACED MY TOP and I chose to replace it with a black top and I am happy with it. Good luck.
                        Happy Trails

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                        • #13
                          Re: Soft Top Cleaning

                          Johnny: I have a 05 black w/sand. The top is tan (or sand). There's only minor mildew but before I put a sealer on I want to get it looking as good as I can, hopefully after that I won't have to deal with it again. I've only had the car for a month so I'm still in the learning stage but I like things done right.

                          Gary

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                          • #14
                            Re: Soft Top Cleaning

                            Bradford: What about the bleach residue from rinsing the top--does it damage the paint on the car body? Using bleach near painted surfaces sounds pretty scary!

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                            • #15
                              Re: Soft Top Cleaning

                              I kept the body flushed with water before rinsing the top down and washed the car thoroughly after. The car was still beading water good from the previous polish / waxing. I was going to do a good detailing,that's when I decided to really get after the top first. After the top was clean, I cleaned the body good with a clay bar, then Klasse polish. The bleach was really diluted as it washed down over the car. I guess time may tell if any long lasting damage was done. I hope not.
                              sigpic
                              Bradford + TOTM April 2009 05 Thunderbird Cashmere #702 /1500 , ' 04 Acura TL, '79 Buick Electra Limited, Landau Coupe, '67 Mustang Convertible

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