If you own or are looking to buy a Jeep Wrangler, you might want to know if you can take your soft-top Jeep through a carwash. Cleaning your car through a carwash can often be quick and easy, but a standard carwash is usually more suitable for cars with hard outer materials such as metal, steel, and hard plastics. Soft top Jeeps often have sensitive materials that may require special care.
Table of Contents
- Is it safe to take a soft top Jeep through a carwash?
- Types Of Carwashes You Should Avoid
- How Should I Wash My Soft Top Jeep?
Is it safe to take a soft top Jeep through a carwash?
You should not take your soft top Jeep through a standard carwash since brushes and cleaners could damage your car. Alternative options like a touchless car wash might be fine if there is light contact with the soft top and gentler cleansers are used.
A carwash may have completely automated features or include hand washing in the process. Cleaning and drying can be automated or done manually, so you should check with the carwash staff to ensure you know what they’ll be doing.
Parts of a carwash that scrub your car are often too abrasive for external soft top fabrics such as vinyl, twill, denim, sailcloth, and composites. We’ll go over methods you can use to wash your soft top Jeep more gently and safely.
Types Of Carwashes You Should Avoid
Any carwash that uses rough contact and chemicals should not be used to clean your soft top Jeep.
It might be difficult to remember all the types of carwashes that are available, so it is best to check with the carwash staff to ensure their carwash is safe for your car.
Some carwash staff may not know if their carwash is harmful or not for your soft top Jeep, but you can at least follow general guidelines when looking for a suitable carwash.
Though deeper digging may be needed to figure out what kinds of cleansers and other chemicals are used in a carwash, you can learn a great deal about a carwash just by looking at it as a car goes through it.
If thick and heavy brushes are used, whether it’s through automated machinery or a person manually scrubbing a car, you should avoid using that carwash since the brushes might scratch, tear, or cause other damage to the soft top.
Here are some common types of carwashes that might use abrasive equipment and substances to wash cars:
Automated carwashes have been around for decades and are now available in many varieties.
Some automated carwashes take cars through a tunnel-like cleaning system where the car goes in one end and out the other.
Other automated carwashes have a similar drive-in feature, but they have more of a garage style where you drive in and out the same end.
There may be other forms of automated carwashes, so you should take note of the cleaning features within the carwash to not confuse them with a carwash that is safe.
Since a fully-automated carwash doesn’t have the ability to sense shapes and parts of a car, it has to use more open-ended cleaning techniques to thoroughly clean most cars.
Automated carwashes are designed to clean as broad a variety of cars as possible, which generally means cars with durable exteriors.
Though a soft top Jeep might be considered durable overall, the soft top fabrics may not be able to hold up to the rough cleaning process of an automated carwash.
Some automated carwashes also offer hand wash services, so if you can’t access other cleaning services, you might be able to buy a custom hand wash solution that will work for your soft top Jeep.
The cost of a hand wash might be considerably more expensive than an automated carwash since it will likely take longer and require more staff to hand wash your car.
Abrasive Hand Wash
Many hand washing services might work well for your soft top Jeep, but certain services might be too stringent in their methods, which might not be safe for your car.
If a hand washing service uses cleansers that are meant for sturdier materials like metal, steel, and plastic, they could damage your soft top even if they don’t apply much pressure.
Also, many hand washes will use more than their hands to scrub your car.
They might use brushes, sprayers, and clothes that might be too rough for your soft top materials.
If you are not sure if the hand wash service is capable of cleaning your soft top Jeep with the required care, you should ask a manager and see what they have to say.
If they are not certain if their hand wash will be safe, you should avoid using that hand wash service.
A touchless carwash is generally a car cleaning service that uses high-pressure water spraying to clean cars.
There is usually less abrasive contact with cars since brushes and clothes aren’t used for scrubbing.
However, a touchless carwash with very high-pressure sprayers might produce enough force to damage sensitive soft top materials.
The water sprayers at a touchless carwash might also contain harsh chemicals mixed in with the water that might be harmful to your soft top.
Even though some soft top materials might seem strong to the touch, they are typically not as durable as standard auto body materials that can take much more of a beating.
How Should I Wash My Soft Top Jeep?
When washing your soft top Jeep, you should consider your specific soft top materials and use cleansers that are appropriate for them.
Soft tops are often composed of multiple layers, so you should be mindful of each layer when cleaning your soft top all around.
Since the external layers of your soft top will face more exposure to the elements, they will often be more rugged than the interior layers.
To make sure safe cleaning products and techniques are used, I prefer to wash my soft top Jeep by myself when I have time.
When I am short on time or just don’t have the energy to do a good job at cleaning and drying, I’ll look to specialists to take care of the job for me.
Wash Your Soft Top Jeep On Your Own
Washing your car at home helps to ensure everything is done with the proper care and attention to detail.
Carwashes will sometimes be in a hurry to get customers through and not do a thorough job cleaning your car.
Add in the extra requirements for your soft top Jeep, and that could spell disaster for your car.
The idea I like to use when cleaning my soft top Jeep is to keep things simple.
I’ll generally use a low-pressure hose to spray down my soft top and apply some liquid dishwashing detergent or another mild soap cleanser.
There are many specialty cleansers formulated to use on a soft top, but they can often be expensive and unnecessary for a thorough cleanse.
Hire A Soft Top Cleaning Specialist
If you don’t have the time to clean your soft top Jeep, there should be cleaning specialists you can hire to do it for you.
Cleaning specialists should understand the delicate nature of your soft top and be able to clean and dry everything safely.
These cleaners may offer more than just soft top cleaning, so it might help to look at professional cleaners first, then see if they can provide the soft top cleaning you need.
If they can’t provide the service, they can probably lead you to a service in your area.