A Jeep is one of the best vehicles you can consider for off-road driving. Not only is it cool and stylish, but this type of vehicle has immense power that allows it to traverse rough terrains. But, while driving, your Jeep is expected to pick up a lot of dust, scratches, and bird droppings that can ruin the integrity of the windows. For that reason, you need to find the best way to clean Jeep soft top windows to keep them clean and shiny.
You see, your Jeep’s soft top windows cannot be treated like regular windows. These are made of plastic, which is quite challenging to maintain due to their high susceptibility. For that reason, proper cleaning and maintenance are required to improve the life and the overall shine of the windows.
In our short guide, we’re going to discuss how exactly you’re supposed to clean your Jeep’s soft top windows to remove the scratches and the cloudiness without ruining its integrity.
But First, Which are the Different Types of Soft Tops?
Before we proceed to our main topic, we would like to stop by and discuss a little bit about the different types of soft tops. The reason why this is important is that soft tops are a must-have in most Jeeps. They’re responsible for protecting you against inclement weather.
Since they’re exposed to lots of abuse in the process, they can easily wear out forcing you to get a replacement. In that regard, here are four main soft-top materials you need to be aware of.
The first material we’ll be discussing is vinyl. Mostly found in the earlier versions of the Wrangler YJ, vinyl is the thinnest fabric that is used in making soft tops. It has a glossy plastic feel that makes it stylish and very easy to clean.
The best thing about vinyl is that it’s water and UV resistant making it a smart choice for such endeavors. The worst thing about it, however, is that it’s too noisy when driving due to its lightweight of just 18 ounces.
If you’re looking for a thicker fabric that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, then denim is perhaps a better option. First, denim is a hybrid of cotton and polyester. Since these two fabrics are breathable, a special vinyl coating has been added to make them all-weather resistant. Weighing in at 23 ounces, denim is thicker hence a quieter option.
Sailcloth is another major option that’s hugely preferred among most Jeep models. Its major success comes in its weight of 28 ounces, which substantially exceeds that of vinyl and denim. The main reason by sailcloth is heavy is due to its three-layer construction that consists of two outer layers of vinyl and one inner layer of polyester/cotton weave.
Its double vinyl layers provide outstanding water and UV resistance while its heavy weight makes it quieter than both vinyl and denim.
Weighing in at 30 ounces, twill is considered the best fabric for use in most Jeeps and sedan cars. Its thickness makes it relatively quiet when driving, preventing you from hearing the loud noises that are common with most vinyl and denim soft tops.
How to Clean Your Jeep’s Soft Top Windows
Now that we’ve discussed some of the common soft-top materials that are available, our next step is to guide you through a detailed step-by-step process on how to clean your soft-top windows. But, before you begin, there are some things you should avoid during the cleaning process.
- One, avoid using a high-pressure washer as the delicate plastic windows are not designed to withstand a high amount of force
- Avoid cleaning your Jeep in direct sunlight
- Avoid cleaning your Jeep’s soft-top windows in an automatic car washer
- Avoid using harsh cleaners and bleaching agents. Cleaners that contain alcohol, ammonia, and other abrasives should be avoided
Gather Your Supplies
- A hose and a bucket
- Warm water
- Car wash shampoo
- Plastic cleaner
- Polish kit
- Microfiber cloths
Step One: Start With the Top
Although this guide is specifically focused on cleaning your soft-top windows, we suggest that you start from the top going downwards in a systematic way. At least this way, you’ll make the cleaning process less tedious.
- So, start by mixing warm water with a car wash shampoo in a bucket. Next, cover the seams and edges of the soft top to prevent water from getting inside.
- Pick a hose and spray the top of the soft top with water. This will help to remove dirt and dust particles from the surface before you start scrubbing.
- Next, use a ladder or step on the Jeep’s wheels to start cleaning the top. Apply the foamy solution on the soft top and use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the soft top.
- Once you’ve neutralized all the dirt and stain from the soft top, pick a hose and spray clean water on the top to get rid of the foam. Use a dry polyvinyl towel to absorb any excess water before allowing the soft top to air dry naturally.
- Once the soft top is dry, pick a hydrophobic protectant and shake it for 30 seconds. Spray the protectant on the soft top until you’ve covered the entire fabric.
- Use a soft dry cloth to massage the soft top to allow the protectant to settle. The reason why a protectant is necessary is that it guarantees the longevity of your soft top by making it both water and UV-resistant. Secondly, it helps to repel dust and mildew from forming on your soft top.
Step Two: Rinse off the Windows
Start by spraying the windows with cool water to get rid of any surface dirt and grime. Here, you need to avoid wiping the windows directly using a damp cloth as you can risk scratching the plastic windows. Once the surface dirt/grime is rinsed off, use a damp cloth to dry the windows.
Step Three: Clean the Windows
So, once you’ve rinsed the windows, add the soapy solution you made earlier inside the sprayer. Spray the soapy solution on the windows. When you’re done, use a clean microfiber cloth to wipe off the excess water. Squeeze the microfiber towel using your hands and continue wiping the windows.
Step Four: Apply the Plastic Cleaner
Once you’ve dried the windows entirely, it’s now time to add a bit of a plastic repairing solution to give the windows a shinier finish. To do this, shake the can containing the plastic cleaner then spay directly on a clean microfiber cloth.
Use the cloth to wipe the windows in a gentle circular motion. When wiping, avoid applying too much pressure as this can scratch the windows. When you’re done, use a fresh microfiber cloth to wipe any excess residue from the windows.
Step Five: Apply the Protectant
So, once the windows are entirely dry, get ready for the last step, which is applying the protectant. Spray the protectant directly on the windows then allow it to settle for around 5 minutes. Finalize by wiping the solution using a clean microfiber cloth.
The reason why you need to spray a protectant is to improve the window’s ability to withstand dust, water, and the sun’s rays.
As you can see, cleaning your soft-top windows is a simple process that barely takes an hour to accomplish. With the right cleaning ingredients, this process can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. The best thing about it is that you won’t risk scratching your windows as the process is safe and very gentle.
So, in case you’ve been seeing scratches on your soft top windows anytime you clean them, then this guide has offered you a simple step-by-step procedure that you can refer to.