Cleaning a convertible's white top.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Dec 01, 1993

Dear Tom and Ray:

Do you have any secret formula for getting a convertible top white? Right now it is just "dingy" white.

TOM: Well, whenever I need to whiten-up the top on my '63 Dodge Dart, I just park it under the power lines where all the pigeons sit. I just have to hope they've been drinking a lot of milk that day.

RAY: Actually, your dealership or an automotive detailer can probably restore your convertible top for you, Barbara. Or, if you're feeling daring, you could try it yourself.

TOM: It's a little bit tricky. When dealerships and detailers do it, they use a full strength cleaner (similar to "Janitor in a Drum," "Soft Scrub with Bleach," or other stuff you can buy in your supermarket). But they're careful to run water from a hose over the top as they scrub it. The danger is, if you're not constantly diluting the cleaner with water, it could run down the sides of the car and streak the paint.

RAY: If you try it and it doesn't work, the other option is to "re-paint" the top. They actually call it "dying" rather than "painting" since the top is fabric. But your local body shop ought to be able to dye it for you for about $100. And if you ruined the paint while trying to clean it, you can have them repaint the rest of the car at the same time.

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