Hazy and scratched vinyl Jeep windows look awful. Simply cleaning and maintaining your Jeeps’ soft top windows is one thing, but when they get cloudy, scratched, and hazy you can’t simply wipe them clean. You’ll obviously want to restore them back to shiny, clear, and easy to see through.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to properly clean your plastic Jeep windows regularly, how to prevent scratches and cloudiness, and what’s required to restore cloudy soft top windows back to like-new clarity.
Regular Soft Top Window Cleaning And Protection
Cleaning your Jeep windows should obviously be a part of washing your Jeep regularly. There are a few tips we want to point out that will help you understand how to keep them looking better longer by preventing scratches and UV damage.
Ideally, you’ll want to be doing this in warmer weather. Most Jeep owner manuals recommend the temperature to be above 54° F (12° C) if possible. However, in this process avoid doing it in an area with too much sun. Doing so can dry things too fast. Shade is always preferred when washing or detailing any vehicle. Also note, this is not the time to whip out the pressure washer. A Jeep soft top isn’t designed to stand up to that amount of force. I like this garden hose attachment when I’m not using my pressure washer.
Step 1 – Washing Your Vinyl Jeep Windows
When you’re washing your Jeep you should at a minimum be using a microfiber wash mitt. You may think it doesn’t make much of a difference between using a terry cloth towel or microfiber but it really can be a big factor.
Microfiber is an amazing product that provides quite a bit of protection from scratching when washing your vehicle.
Scratches happen most often when you’re touching your vinyl windows. As you wash, dirt, sand, and other abrasives collect on whatever you’re using to wash your Jeep.
If you’re using a good quality microfiber wash mitt, these abrasives will get trapped deep in the nap of the microfiber as opposed to just sitting on the surface.
This means that as you’re wiping across your easily scratched vinyl windows the wash mitt won’t act as sandpaper causing fine swirls and scratches.
This is also why using microfiber is ideal for the rest of your Jeep, especially the paintwork.
Step 2 – Dry Your Vinyl Jeep Windows
The same general rules apply when drying your windows. Microfiber drying towels are the best choice when physically touching your easily scratched Jeep soft top windows.
A better method for drying your Jeep is to not physically touch it and use an air dryer to do the job.
Some people simply use a leaf blower to get the job done but there are purpose-designed air dryers that are easier to handle and have soft nozzles that will be far less likely to cause scratches if you accidentally bump your windows or Jeep paint.
You don’t want to let your windows dry naturally though. This will likely leave hard water spots which can be very difficult to remove. You’ll then be dealing with a much worse problem than a few fine scratches.
Step 3 – Clean and Protect Your Plastic Jeep Windows
Beyond the regular wash and dry that happens during a normal wash, you need to give a little extra attention to those more delicate soft top windows.
UV damage is the primary cause of hazy windows. The sun will cause the vinyl to begin to break down and create a cloudy appearance.
Also, contaminants from the environment will get stuck to the surface of the windows and can react poorly with the chemicals within the vinyl.
If you’ve ever used a clay bar on paint, you know what I’m talking about here. Iron fallout, brake dust, air pollution, etc. All of these can have a corrosive effect on your soft windows and need to be removed regularly to prevent cloudiness.
A quality clear vinyl cleaner and protectant are all that is needed. Used briefly after each wash it will remove contaminants and leave behind a UV protective coating that will greatly extend the pristine look of your soft top windows.
Bestop makes a quality cleaner. Also, one of my favorite manufacturers, 303 makes a great cleaner and protectant as well.
How To Clean And Restore Cloudy Jeep Soft Top Windows
We’ve covered regularly maintaining vinyl windows to prevent scratches, UV damage, and corrosive environmental damage. Now let’s cover how to restore scratched and hazy windows back to a factory-new appearance.
The way to clean your plastic Jeep windows that are cloudy is with a polishing kit. You can do the job by hand with some polish and a microfiber towel so there’s no need to be nervous about this DIY job.
That said, a Mother’s Powerball is going to make the job go a lot faster. Your arms will thank you.
The polish we recommend is the Novus 7100 Plastic Polish Kit. It contains a heavy polish and a fine polish as well as a cleaner/protectant.
Jeep owners swear by this combination of a Mother’s Powerball and the Novus Polish Kit. I understand why. The results are incredible.
A few passes with the heavy polish, followed by a pass or two of the fine will usually restore most battered soft top windows back to an almost new state.
A final wipe with the cleaner and protectant is all that’s needed to complete the job.
Step 1 – Clean Wash & Dry Your Jeep Plastic Windows
Following the same process as described above to clean your plastic Jeep windows, be sure to use a microfiber wash mitt and get your windows thoroughly cleaned. Follow up with a quality microfiber drying towel or an air dryer to remove any moisture.
Step 2 – Polish Your Jeep Plastic Windows
Start by using the Novus Heavy Scratch Remover. Drizzle a decent amount onto the Mother’s Powerball.
With your drill at low speed, work the polish back and forth across the window until you feel you’ve polished it thoroughly. Use consistent force and move slowly.
Don’t use high speed because it can burn or melt the vinyl and you’ll be looking at having to replace your entire Jeep soft top. Don’t stress about this too much. Just keep the speed slow and you’ll be fine.
Step 3 – Review Your Progress
After you’ve finished polishing, wipe away the polish with a microfiber towel and check your progress. You should be able to get a good idea of how well a single polish corrects the level of scratches and damage you’re dealing with.
Step 4 – Repeat Polishing With The Heavy Scratch Remover Until Satisfied
Continue polishing your Jeep windows with the heavy scratch remover until the majority of the scratches and haze has been removed.
Step 5 – Repeat Polishing With The Fine Polish
Once the heavy polishing is complete you’ll want to make a couple of passes with the fine polish. This will help restore the smooth finish and shine the Jeep windows had when new.
Step 6 – Finish With A Cleaner And Protectant
Once all of the polishing is complete you’ll want to thoroughly clean away any remaining polish and leave the surface well protected.
You can use the cleaner and protectant included in the Novus kit or you can use a different brand such as the Bestop or 303 cleaners and protectants. They’re simple wipe-on and wipe-off products.
Be sure to clean and protect your vinyl windows regularly. This will help ensure that your freshly restored soft Jeep windows remain in excellent condition for as long as possible.
Removing haze and scratches from your soft vinyl windows isn’t a big job and very easy for the average DIY detailer. Fortunately, the products necessary to get the job done are also quite inexpensive as well.
This easy job will completely transform your Jeep’s soft top. It’s well worth the time and can save you a huge amount on a new Jeep soft top.
Going forward, be sure to regularly protect your soft windows with a quality UV protectant and only use microfiber when cleaning them to limit the potential for scratches.
I hope you found this guide helpful. If so, do us a favor and share it with your Jeep friends. Thanks!