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How To Clean A Plastic Convertible Window

It's not uncommon to see the rear window of a convertible top look cloudy, hazy or even worse, yellow. Sometimes it gets so bad, that the window eventually becomes brittle and breaks.

For many years now, plastic windows have been made from a 40 mil PVC plastic because they are affordable and effective. However, they are prone to aging and browning and if neglected, can become a safety hazard. The plasticizers in the plastic leach out over time allowing the plastic to become brittle and hard over time. A plastic window that's allowed to do this will become hazy and eventually become opaque making it impossible to see through.

Fortunately, it's not as hard as you might think to keep the window clear and in great shape. We'll show you two ways to keep those windows crystal clear.

Solution 1 will show you how to deep clean your convertible window if it has lost some of its clarity due to the accumulation of hard water spots, mineral build-up and road grime. 

Solution 2 will show you how to remove fine scratches and haze from the window restoring them to a like-new condition. 

Just remember while both of these solutions are very effective, they do not perform miracles.  If your window is yellow, cracking or severely cloudy, you might have no other choice other than to replace it.

 

Solution 1 : Deep Cleaning

Weeks, months or years of sun, hard water, road grime, air pollution, ocean air salt, sap and other environmental pollution can take a toll on your convertible window. The plastic material makes the window light which benefits your car's overall weight balance but the plastic lacks durability to deal with everyday driving. It's important to maintain with regular cleaning to keep it in optimum condition and maintain clarity. If you've neglected it for a while, follow this deep cleaning treatment to restore clarity.


What You'll Need:

 
 

convertible-window-before.jpg 
Before cleaning

convertible-window-5050-2.jpg
50/50 shot showing before and after


Step 1
 
Window should be clean prior to treating. Remove any dust and debris with a damp cotton terry towel.
 
 
Step 2

Working in the shade and making sure the window is cool to the touch, spray Plastic Deep Cleaner on to the surface and allow to penetrate for a few minutes then agitate with a 100% cotton terry towel. Rinse the towel in clean water as needed to remove dirt. Repeat until window becomes clear.

 
Step 3 

Finish by cleaning the surface with einszett Windscreen Clear and a microfiber towel. Microfiber towels are softer than a cotton terry towel when deep cleaning isn't required. It's also lint-free. Microfiber towels last for hundreds of washes and are a must-have in your cleaning accessory arsenal.

 
You are now complete!
 
 
 
Solution 2 : Haze and Scratch Removal
 

If the window is cloudy due to scratches and oxidation (haze), you'll need to polish the surface. This can be done using Paint Polish. You might ask why we would suggest using a paint surface polish on your convertible window. It's simple. Your car's paint finish is essentially plastic. The abrasives in Paint Polish "see" your convertible window and paint finish as the same type of surface. The abrasives in Paint Polish are just the right size and density to effectively polish the haze from your convertible window. Here's how to do it.


 
What You'll Need:
 
 
 
Step 1
 

Window should be clean prior to treating. Remove any dust and debris with a damp cotton terry towel. Make sure you are working in the shade and that the surface is not hot - preferably cool to the touch.


 
Step 2
 

Following the directions on the bottle label of Paint Polish, pour a small amount of the product on to a clean, 100% cotton terry towel and polish the window until most of the polish dries to a haze. Buff off residue with a clean side of the towel or with a clean microfiber towel. Repeat this process until the haze has been removed.


 
Step 3
 
After polishing, finish by wiping the surface clean with Windscreen Clear and a clean microfiber towel.
 
 
 

Preventive Maintenance Tips

 

 

Now that your convertible window is back to its original condition, here are some tips to keep it that way.  
 
 
Tip 1

Washing your car should be done on a weekly or bi-weekly basis for the typical daily driver. Allowing road grime, pollution, hard water, bird droppings, sap and so forth to accumulate on your window will only cause it to become cloudy again - not to mention what it will do to to the rest of your car's exterior surface.

 

 
 
Tip 2

In addition to washing your car, clean all windows including the rear plastic window of your convertible top with an ammonia-free glass cleaner such as Windscreen Clear. Ammonia-based cleaners are harsh and can cause haziness over time.

 
 
Tip 3

To prevent the surface from becoming cloudy, only use a 100% cotton terry towel that is plush. That means it has a thick pile - not the thin types you can buy in bulk. Better yet, use a microfiber towel for a scratch-free, lint-free finish. They can be washed hundreds of times and still remain soft. And to keep them that way, never use bleach or fabric softener when cleaning them.

 

DO NOT use shop towels, low quality cotton rags, paper towels, old t-shirts and flannels. They can cause micro scratches in the surface causing cloudiness and eventually damage.

 
 
Tip 4

Avoid carwashes unless they are touch-less systems. The brushes used in many carwashes not only scratch your car's paint finish but also the convertible window.

It's also a good idea to avoid hand carwashes where the workers drying your car are using low quality rags that can easily scratch your car's paint finish and the convertible window.

 

 

 
 
*Photos courtesy of einszett Authorized Dealer Detailers Domain
 
 
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