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Jeep Soft Top: Storage & Maintenance Tips

A Jeep soft top is a popular accessory for Jeep owners, as it allows them to enjoy open-air driving while being protected from the elements. Proper storage and maintenance are essential to ensure its longevity. This article will cover proven and tested practices to help you store and keep your Jeep soft top in tip-top shape.

Here are some tips for storing and maintaining your Jeep soft top:

  • Clean it with mild soap or a specialized cleaner.
  • Periodically inspect its condition.
  • Ensure where you keep it is free from pests and away from direct sunlight.
  • Follow OEM instructions for storage and removal.

Other steps are involved in properly caring for your Jeep soft top, especially come winter season.

We will touch on widely recognized practices and insights gathered from experienced off-roaders. We will also discuss upkeep protocols, how to store them, and what makes them significant. So stick around and continue reading this article.

Black Jeep Wrangler Soft Top With a Bike Rack

How to Store a Jeep Soft Top

Over the years, Jeep soft tops have significantly improved, incorporating higher-quality components like Sailcloth and Twill fabrics and stronger attachment mechanisms into its designs. Despite these enhancements, these add-ons have yet to actually last a lifetime and become impervious to natural wear and exposure to the elements — which brings us to the gist of this guide.

Clean Before Storing

Before storage, it is crucial to clean your Jeep soft top thoroughly. Use a mild soap or specialized cleaner designed for convertible tops.

To do this, gently scrub the soft top using a soft brush or sponge, paying attention to any stains, dirt, or debris. Rinse off the soap or cleaner with clean water, ensuring all residue is removed. Allow the soft top to completely air dry before storage.

If you notice mold or mildew growth, use a specialized cleaner or a mixture of vinegar and water to remove it. Ensure the soft top is completely dry before storage again (also applies if you are storing it for the first time).

Avoid taking your Jeep soft top through an automatic car wash regardless of material. The reason is that spinning brushes and high-impact water sprays may do more harm than good to your soft top and windows (especially if the latter is made of thinner material like vinyl).

Check out my other article on bringing your Jeep Wrangler soft-top through a car wash and alternative ways to clean it.

Fold and Remove

If your Jeep soft top is not too soiled, you can skip cleaning and remove the soft top from your Jeep before storing it. Follow OEM instructions for proper Jeep soft top removal, as the process may not be as straightforward as you would like depending on the Jeep model you own. This prevents potential damage or wear during storage, especially creases from a haphazardly kept soft top.

Nonetheless, here are some steps to follow if you want to have a general guideline for the removal process.

Removal Steps

  1. Access the header latches by unclipping the sun visors. Click the latches open (note that older Jeeps may have clip retainers above the front and rear doors).
  2. Fold back the front of the soft top, being cautious of the hinge mechanism. Keep your fingers away from the metal bars and pull the fabric back to prevent crushing it with the hinge.
  3. Open the swing gate at the rear of your vehicle. Unzip or undo the channels of the back window. Roll out the bottom retainer bar, tilt it, and pull it out.
  4. Lift the snap-in fasteners on the bottom rear corners of the back windows and the grommets at the top to remove the quarter windows. Undo the channels, leading and bottom edges, and slide them rearward off the c-channel at the top.
  5. Locate the latches on the bars, usually marked with a yellow rubberized cap, just above the front of the rear windows. Press the latch down and slide the top back on the railing until the latch folds over itself.
  6. Rest the U-shaped frame on the back of your vehicle and secure the bars with the fastener strip. Close the tailgate to complete the removal process.

In addition to proper folding, avoid storing your Jeep soft top under direct sunlight, which can cause the material to deteriorate (if not shrink). Shrinking of the soft top material tends to happen more during the winter than in summer, as higher moisture levels in the air eventually lead to thermal contraction of the Jeep soft top material.

Store the Soft Top

Properly storing your soft top is essential for its longevity and protection. Find a clean and dry storage area, preferably indoors, such as a garage or shed, to shield it from the elements. If outdoor storage is necessary, use a soft top storage bag or cover to safeguard it against UV rays, dirt, and moisture.

Additionally, ensure that the storage space for your Jeep soft top is free from pests or rodents that could potentially damage it. Avoid putting heavy items on it during storage, as this can lead to permanent damage (or creases, at the least).

If you reside in an area with harsh winters, I recommend removing and storing the soft top to prevent damage from cold temperatures, snow, and ice. Lastly, store the soft top in a climate-controlled environment to prevent freezing or cracking.


Jeep Wrangler Sport Soft Top

Regular Inspection

Inspect your soft top for tears, loose stitching, or worn-out zippers. Additionally, check the hardware components, including latches and fasteners, to ensure they are in good working condition.

If any issues are identified, it is crucial to address them right away to prevent further damage and maintain the overall integrity of your Jeep soft top.

As for hardware inspection, here is a general checklist you can follow to ensure you do not miss anything that could potentially go wrong with your soft top and its hardware and attachment aids:

  • Visual Examination — Begin by visually inspecting the hardware components. Look for any signs of damage, such as rust, corrosion, or excessive wear. Also, check if the metal finish of the latches and fasteners is being worn down where the components come in contact.
  • Tightness Check — Ensure all bolts and screws are securely tightened using an appropriate wrench or screwdriver. Check each fastener individually to make sure it is snug. If any hardware is found loose, tighten them to help maintain the stability and security of the soft top.
  • Functionality Test — Next, test the functionality of the hardware by opening and closing the soft top per manufacturer’s instructions. While at it, ensure all the attachment points, hinges, and brackets work smoothly without binding or resistance. If you notice any difficulties or abnormalities, further investigation may be required.
  • Wear and Tear — Pay attention to any signs of wear and tear on the soft top fabric caused by contact with the hardware. Telltale signs include fraying, tearing, or holes around the attachment points. Depending on how bad the hardware is causing damage to the fabric, it may need to be adjusted, repaired, or replaced.

Lubricate the Hardware

Some Jeep soft top hardware components, such as hinges or latches, may benefit from occasional lubrication. Consult the OEM’s guidelines to determine if lubrication is recommended. If yes, use the appropriate lubricant. Again, lubrication helps ensure smooth operation and reduces the risk of excessive wear on your soft top.

Lubricate the zippers, latches, and hinges regularly using silicone-based lubricants to keep them moving smoothly and prevent corrosion. Avoid using petroleum-based variants, as they can damage the soft top material.

Proper Cleaning of Soft Top Material

Cleaning should not only take place before storing your Jeep soft top but also in between storage periods and climactic changes. The reason is that the fabric of your soft top can still accumulate dirt, debris, and moisture even when stored, which then turns into mold and mildew growth when disregarded.

To prevent this outcome, proper use of soft top cleaners and protectants on your soft top is necessitated, as detailed in the steps below:

Choose the Right Products

Select a soft top cleaner and protectant specifically formulated for the fabric material used in your soft top — whether it is vinyl, denim, Sailcloth, or Twill. If unsure about the product of your choice, read the product labels or refer to OEM guidelines to ensure compatibility.

Pre-Cleaning Preparation

Before applying the cleaner, remove any loose debris, dirt, or leaves from the surface of the soft top using a soft brush or cloth. This will prevent scratching the fabric during the cleaning process.

Cleaning Process

Once you have eliminated superficial dirt and debris, apply the soft top cleaner to the fabric per product instructions. Typically, you will need to spray the cleaner directly onto the fabric or a clean, soft cloth or sponge.

Gently scrub the fabric using a circular motion, paying attention to areas with stains or heavy soiling. Avoid using excessive force to prevent damaging the fabric.

Rinse and Dry

After working the lather of the soft top cleaner, rinse the fabric thoroughly with clean water. Make sure to remove all traces of the cleaner from the surface. After which, allow the soft top to air dry completely before going to the next step.

Application of Protectant

Once the fabric is dry, apply the soft top protectant (again) according to the product instructions. You would want to spray the protectant evenly onto the soft top during application. Use a clean, soft cloth to spread and work the protectant into the fabric, ensuring even coverage of the soft top’s surface area.


After applying the protectant, use a separate clean, dry cloth to gently buff the fabric. This helps remove any excess protective product and enhances the shine and appearance of your Jeep soft top.

Repeat the above cleaning and protectant application process periodically or as recommended by the OEM of your soft top. Regular maintenance will help maintain the fabric’s appearance, durability, and protection against UV rays, dirt, and mildew. Note, however, that the frequency of cleaning may also depend on your Jeep soft top’s fabric material and manufacturer.

Winter Care

To mitigate the effects of shrinkage and ensure optimal fit and performance of your Jeep soft top during winter, I recommend following proper storage and maintenance practices. This includes keeping the Jeep in a sheltered and heated environment when possible, avoiding prolonged exposure to extreme cold, and periodically inspecting the soft top for any signs of wear or damage.

Following OEM guidelines for care and maintenance can help maintain the longevity and functionality of your Jeep soft top throughout the year. Also, never leave the soft top on your Jeep during winter, as this can lead to the brittling of your soft top’s fabric material.

While shrinking is inevitable given extreme cold weather, it is typically temporary and reversible. This is why veteran Jeep owners recommend letting the soft top sit, warm up, and stretch (for a whole day, at least). As temperatures warm up, the material of your soft top should regain its original dimensions and flexibility — provided your soft top is not that old yet.

The drying process just described should do the trick for you come replacing the soft top on your rig. But if the shrinkage persists or becomes excessive, you may want to look into other issues, such as age, wear, damage, or improper installation of the soft top.

Jeep Soft Top Storage Bags — Top Picks

  • Mopar Soft Window Storage Bag
  • Mopar Half Door and Window Storage Bag
  • MasterTop Soft Top Window Protection Roll in MasterTwill® Fabric
  • Quadratec Soft Top Storage Hanger
  • Rugged Ridge Soft Top Storage Boot (view on Amazon)
  • Rugged Ridge Soft Top Storage Bag
  • Smittybilt Jeep Soft Top Storage Bag

Conclusion — How to Store and Maintain Jeep Soft Tops

Jeep Parked Near a Grass Field

In summary, here are some of the best Jeep soft top storage and maintenance tips:


  • Remove the soft top before storage, if possible, to prevent damage.
  • Find a clean and dry storage area, preferably indoors, to protect the soft top from the elements.
  • If storing outside, use a soft top storage bag or cover to shield it from UV rays, dirt, and moisture.
  • Avoid putting heavy items on the soft top during storage.
  • Ensure the storage area is free from pests or rodents that could damage the soft top.


  • Clean the soft top regularly using a mild soap or specialized cleaner and a soft brush or sponge designed to remove stains, dirt, and debris from convertible tops.
  • Inspect soft top hardware, such as bolts and screws, to ensure they are tight, not excessively worn, and not causing damage to the canvas or window material.
  • Use specialized soft top cleaners and protectants to clean and maintain the fabric material.
  • Avoid taking your Jeep soft top through automatic car washes to prevent damage.
  • Clean vinyl windows with a vinyl window cleaner and protect them with a storage bag when removed.
  • Keep soft top window zippers clean and lubricated to ensure smooth operation and prevent damage.
  • Regularly inspect the soft top for tears, loose stitching, or worn-out zippers, and address any issues promptly.

While these processes may initially appear demanding, the rewards will outweigh the effort and patience required for this repetitive task when performed consistently. Considering all factors, proper storage and upkeep of your Jeep soft top will ensure you continue to enjoy al fresco riding on your trusty rig for many years.