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I need tips for cleaning a cloth convertible top

Paul G

Well-known member
Aug 27, 2001
Griffith, IN, USA
96 CE LT4 Convertible
I had a new black cloth top put on a couple of weeks ago. I washed the car this weekend to find some overspray or maybe road tar all over the car and the new top. It is like tiny black specks in the paint and on the top. I am going to claybar the paint. What is the best thing to use on the top?


Well-known member
Apr 18, 2002
Ringgold, GA
1994 Black on Black 6spd
Cloth Top

Try lacquer thinner or mineral spirits. I know it sounds harsh but it dissolves tar and the like very quickly. It will not eat your top, but try it in an inconspicuous spot to make sure it will not pull out any of the cloth’s dye. If it comes off on your rag it is removing dye. Usually it won’t hurt anything, I have only had it pull dye on a single Jaguar. Most domestic stuff is quite happy with these two chemicals. If it turns out that you can use it without pulling color onto your rag, simply saturate a spot on your rag and wipe gently over the spots. The thinner/spirits evaporates so quickly that it won’t soak into your top and the very little friction from wiping over it will help loosen the tar. It may take some time but it will be worth it in the end. If you pull color with the thinner and the mineral spirits you can use a diluted degreaser, just remember to keep your paint wet wherever the degreaser may run – wet the paint before you touch the car with degreaser. Regardless, of which chemical you use you will need to rewax wherever any of these has gotten on the paint. The thinner and mineral spirits will not hurt your paint as the paint is an enamel and acrylic base. But all three will take your wax off. If you are not comfortable with these options, just say so I will think on this further. Good Luck.

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