Cleaning and maintaining a Jeep soft top is just a part of the 4×4 life. A soft top contends with all sorts of weather conditions, from extreme cold to searing hot temperatures, yet we expect it to last a life time. Get a feeling for how to clean a Jeep soft top and your top will reward you again and again.
You can get extended years out of your soft top, but that means using some elbow grease and some of your time to take care of it.
Cleaning Your Jeep Wrangler Soft Top
It’s important to keep your Jeep’s top clean as best you can. Even everyday air and rain has chemicals in it, not to mention the sun’s UV rays, so while a top may look clean, it will still have some dirt and contaminants on the material.
Depending on how dirty it is, the first thing to do is to wash it with straight water. No cleaners, no chemicals, not just yet. You only need water and a soft towel to remove the top layer of dirt and materials from normal driving. A bucket and a hose can do just fine.
After that initial quick rinse, you can use a cleaner. But not just any cleaner. It’s very important you don’t use harsh detergents or common cleaners you might wash your car with. Soft tops are made from vinyl and woven materials, unlike the steel body you’re used to washing.
One great cleaner we carry is the Bestop Soft Top Cleaner (Part Number 11201-00). It will break down and clean dirt that’s gotten into your soft top, but without harming it. The cleaner is also biodegradable.
The windows need special attention since they aren’t glass, but a vinyl type material. This means they can scratch easily, and some household cleaning chemicals can actually damage them. Bestop makes a cleaner (Part Number 11203-00) that is gentle on soft top windows and also acts as a polisher. With regular use, this will keep your windows clear for better visibility.
Maintaining Your Jeep Soft Top After Cleaning
With a fresh understanding of how to clean a Jeep soft top and windows, let’s discuss the importance of keeping them looking good and helping them better deal with outside weather and the constant battle with the elements.
If you have a Bestop Twill top, Bestop makes a special protectant (Part Number 11207-00) that safely repels dust, dirt, grease and even mildew. It can also help prevent cracking and fading due to UV rays. This is a safe chemical to use and doesn’t contain destructive silicone or petroleum solvents that might harm your twill top.
Don’t have a Bestop Twill top? No worries. There’s a Bestop protectant for traditional soft tops (Part Number 11202-00) as well. You still get a great protectant that will help prevent cracks and hardening of the top material and will help against UV rays.
After you cleaned and protected your soft top, be sure and clean and lubricate your top’s zippers. This will make putting your top up and down go a lot smoother with less chances of a zipper snagging or getting damaged. The Bestop Zipper Cleaner (Part Number 11206-00) cleans and lubricates at the same time.
With just a little bit of your time, you can have a soft top that stays almost like new for a long time.
A soft top is an investment on your Jeep. While none of them will last forever, every year you can get out of a top before having to replace it is money in the bank.
Money that can be well spent on other aftermarket Jeep accessories for the weekend trails.