This guide will take you through step by step how to clean and waterproof your VW Beetle convertible soft top using the ProtexWorld soft top cleaner and waterproofing complete kit. While we are using a Beetle to demonstrate the kit, it is applicable to any fabric, mohair or canvas convertible soft top.
The kit comprises two main products, a cleaner and a waterproofing solution. With the complete kit you also get a cleaning brush, a drying towel a couple of microfibre clothes and two applicator brushes.
The Beetle used in this demonstration has had a fairly hard life being parked outside for 15 years and used on a regular basis. On a quick initial inspection the top was very dry, dirty and dusty with plenty of green mildew build up, bird mess and lichen stains as shown on the photos below.
On a roof this dirty you need to set aside a good couple of hours to thoroughly clean and waterproof your top and if you don’t have a garage then aim for a warm sunny day.
Like most jobs the better the preparation the better the end result will be. Start the clean by removing any excess dirt from the hood using the cleaning brush, paying particular attention to seams and other areas where dirt and mold may build up.
Then lightly dampen the roof with a fine mist spray using a spray bottle or fine hose pipe spray.
Then using one of the applicator brushes apply the cleaner to one half of the roof and allow to soak in for five minutes.
After five minutes gently scrub the top using hot tap water, paying particular attention to seams and other areas where dirt and mold may build up.
It’s worth mentioning at this point that the Beetle roof shown in these photos had a particularly dirty top. Even when faced with very stubborn stains, do not be tempted to use strong solvent or bleach based products, and NEVER attack your soft top with a jet washer as this can easily cause irreversible damage.
As the photo above shows the cleaner combined with the soft top brush really released the green mildew on the top of the hood where rain had settled over the years. In this case it was just a matter of following the cleaning procedure, working a small area at a time and repeating (in this case 2 times) the process until the soft top is clean.
Finally, thoroughly rinse the top until all of the foam is removed, and then use the drying towel to remove the majority of the moisture. Then leave to dry, on a decent day this should take about an hour.
The following photo shows the before and after shot – in this case with a very dirty top and a car with black bodywork the entire car needed a good clean once the top was cleaned.
Now that your top is clean it’s time to apply the waterproofer and protect it from the elements. This is applied by brush, starting in the middle and doing the whole top in one go. If any waterproofer is spilt or flicked onto the glass or bodywork, remove immediately with the other clean microfibre cloth.
To keep your top looking good we recommend that it is waterproofed every six months if the vehicle is kept outside or every year if kept in a garage.
The photo below shows the canvas top after it has been waterproofed and after a light shower, as you can see the water beads up nicely preventing water and dirt from ingressing the canvas.
The final photo shows the Beetle roof in it completed dry state - cleaned and waterproofed and ready for more years of motoring.