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Looking at those scratched-up plastic windows that are no longer transparent is an eyesore. These soft top windows are notorious for getting smudgy and full of scratches and it isn’t easy to restore them to their former glory. That is, unless you know the things that the pros have passed on in this article.
Here, you will learn in detail how to clean and maintain your soft top windows like a pro. Let’s dive deep into everything you need to know. But first, you should know what exactly it is that gives your Jeep’s windows so much trouble.
Jeep Soft Top Windows’ Worst Nightmare
The culprit behind the damage to your Jeep’s soft top windows is none other than dirt. It may be in the form of mud or maybe just a tiny layer of particles on the surface. The real damage is not done while the dust simply sits there, but rather when you try to wipe it off.
Yes, you read that right, the windows get damaged when you try to clean them. That is, of course, if you try cleaning them in the wrong way.
The best way is to rinse them with soapy water and let the dirt mix with the water and flow out of sight. Once everything is soaked in water and has turned soft, you can then use running water and a microfiber cloth to wipe off the remaining dirt gently.
Washing Techniques to Maintain it From Day One
As you likely already know, prevention is better than the cure, so it’s important to maintain your Jeep’s soft top windows from the very first day to keep them looking like new even after a long time.
But even in doing so, it’s still inevitable that some scratches will make their way onto your windows regardless of how much you take care of them. That’s when restoration comes into play.
Here are some tips and tricks that you need to consider when washing your Jeep. These tricks will not only keep your windows protected, but also keep the Jeep itself looking amazing.
Using Different Cloths
Don’t use the same cloth on your windows as you use to clean the rest of your Jeep, as it will have accumulated a lot of dust particles that are highly likely to damage them. When you are done with the lower extremities of your Jeep, that’s when you move upwards.
You can leave the windows to be washed in the end, having left them to soak in the meantime, allowing the dirt to be removed with ease.
Always make sure to use a microfiber cloth for cleaning your windows, too. And not a dirty microfiber cloth either; always ensure you use a clean one with zero dust on it.
The Dual-Bucket Method
The most important thing that you should know, always – and I repeat always – use the dual bucket method.
Have a bucket with soapy water and another bucket with plain water where you rinse your soapy cloth after giving it a wipe on your jeep.
You can use this method for your whole jeep, but have separate buckets for the windows or refill with the fresh water and soap after you are done with the rest of your Jeep.
Don’t Move Your Cloth in Circles
You should only ever move your cloth in circles when applying polish and wax. But when cleaning your Jeep, never move the cloth in circles; always wipe it in straight lines.
Mind the Temperature
Whenever you are cleaning your Jeep, make sure that you aren’t in direct sunlight or in a freezing cold place. The temperature should be mild, especially for the polish material to really do its job properly.
These windows get brittle in winter and there’s a risk that you might end up damaging rather than cleaning them, so there may no longer be windows left to clean. That’s definitely not what you want.
Never Wipe Dry Surfaces
Have you ever wondered why your vehicle tends to fade in color and loses its shine after some time? Well, the sun plays its part alright, but it’s also from having wiped your dry jeep once in a while.
On those days, it may have been getting late and you may have had to be somewhere, and your Jeep looked a little dirty so you quickly wiped off the dirt with a dry cloth on its dry surface. Unfortunately, that’s likely the cause behind some of the scratches and fading color.
Always Use Some Protection Wax or Liquids for the Windows
These protection liquids are plentiful in the market and will keep your window protected for a longer time. It helps make a protection screen, an anti-static one.
The protective layer will not only keep the windows protected from the sun but will also prevent dust from settling onto them.
When applying these waxes, this is one of the few times when you can move the cloth in circles. Once again, make sure that you use a clean microfiber cloth.
Washing Techniques if Your Windows are Damaged a Little
Follow the method of cleaning the windows thoroughly as mentioned above. Once the windows are completely dust-free, then follow the procedure below.
Find Some Scratch Removal Products
You wouldn’t want to go for the cheapest option out there, nor do you have to go for the most expensive ones. Just use a reasonably priced product and then get to work.
Tape the Area Surrounding Your Window
The products for window scratch removal shouldn’t come in contact with the fabric of your soft top, so make sure that you have covered the surrounding area before you get into the cleaning process.
Fine Scratch Removal
When you have your window prepped and dust-free, this is when you can use a fine scratch remover polish instead of the normal ones. These polishes have extremely small-sized pieces of grit in them that will help to remove the finer scratches from your Jeep.
You should use horizontal and vertical motions when applying the polish. Take a little on the cloth and gently start wiping the surface, and don’t leave any place unchecked. This is a time-consuming process and you should expect to do multiple rounds of it.
Because it’s such a strenuous task, you could also try attaching some polishing/buffing balls to a drill and running it on the slowest setting. This will make the job easier and less painful.
After you are thoroughly done with applying and wiping a couple of times, you can then apply the normal fine polish and repeat the same applying and wiping routine and the windows will soon enough look close to brand new.
- You can choose to use a dual action polisher with foam pads, which also do a very good job.
- Some premium quality brands for cleaning your windows aren’t always worth it, but they are likely to give a little better result.
Procedure When Your Windows are Totally Damaged
You can use the methods mentioned above while adding another liquid termed heavy scratch remover, and make your way to the fine scratch remover and then to the plastic polish. But if you want the best results, you can opt instead for a Dual Action Polisher.
The dual action polisher will generate less heat and thus wouldn’t leave circular imprints on your window, and with the random motion, it’s much better than a normal drill.
Find a Dual Action Polisher
There are many brands available on the market, and you should aim for a reasonably priced one. Don’t go for the cheapest option, as it won’t be up to the mark.
Choose a Brand of Polish
From experience, the Best Top brand has never disappointed us, so you can go for that, but if you have another preference then you can of course go with that as well. At the end of the day, it’s all about how much effort you put in while applying and wiping, and if you do so consistently time and time again, you are bound to see good results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are These Window Polishing Products Any Good?
Yes, these products are specially designed to make sure that the windows remain scratch-free for longer. They have antistatic properties that help keep dust away and therefore give your windows long-lasting protection.
Should I Get a New Soft Top Because it Looks Old?
No, you would just be wasting money. Why go for a new one when you can easily have it totally transformed and have it look close to brand new.
You simply need some plastic reformer/shiner/scratch removal products and after applying and reapplying them, you can restore your soft top. It’s not just the windows that you can restore – other materials are available that can even give a deeper color to the fabric of your soft top and make it look more fresh and attractive.
Should I Clean Using Warm or Cold Water?
Both of these are acceptable, but warm water is going to have better results as it will better lubricate the surface and the dust will then be easier to remove.
At Which Point Will I Know That the Soft Top Windows Can No Longer Be Saved?
Even if your windows have scratches and there is a lot of haze, that’s no problem; they can still be saved. But if your windows have turned green, that’s when you are in trouble.
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