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Cleaning the Pop Top Flocking

pop top cleanedThe pop top is one of the first major steps of our project Westfalia project.  The luggage tray was torn almost completely off when we bought the van.  The pop top was in good shape, just moldy on the inside and a bad moldy rotted tent. Since we are taking the top off it will get a thorough cleaning.

The paint that we ordered to refinish the pop top came in and a few days later our tent made from Sunbrella was dropped off.  The hardware all arrived and the garage space was ready.  The pop top was taken off and put on a stand and the first thing we did after stripping it was to clean the flocking.

The mold was not especially heavy but it uniformly covered the entire underside.  Dots of mold from 30 plus years of condensation needed to be eliminated.  We put the pop top onto a couple of paint stands and scrubbed it gently with a general-purpose cleaner.

The general purpose cleaner was rinsed off and that in itself made a huge difference in the appearance.  Even without bleach the decades of dirt and road grime was removed easily, surprisingly.  With a couple rinses with the hose even more dirt came out.  It was likely this was the first ever cleaning the top had ever seen.

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While the flocking was still damp we sprayed a 10% bleach solution on to the top and scrubbed that in with a soft brush. I repeated this process three more times until I was satisfied it wasn’t going to get any cleaner.

A 10 percent bleach solution can be made by using a liter measuring container and adding in 100 ml of household bleach and filling the rest up to the 1000 ml mark. 100ml of bleach and 900 ml of tap water will make a gentle and effective cleaner.  If you are using the spray bottle suggested at the bottom of this article fill the bottle to halfway to the 5 Fl. OZ mark, about where the bottle changes shape, with bleach and fill the rest of the way up with water for a 10 percent bleach solution.

Several rinses later we can see that the flocking is splotchy but it is clean.  The dark spots had the bleach solution reapplied and scrubbed.  After several minutes it was rinsed but the uneven color remained.  Perhaps it was something to do with the dye in the flocking, or maybe it looked like that originally.  The drier it got the harder it is to tell.  We decided that it was well within our expectations and left it to dry fully.

The flocking is a spray in anti-condensation coating on the inner surface of the pop top roof.  The coating has a very minimal amount of insulation to it.  If your flocking is damaged beyond cleaning you may leave it without flocking, or you can replace the flocking.

There are spray on flockings available if you want to try to replicate the factory texture.  Some prefer to use Polar Fleece or headliner material glued in.  The plumbing industry also has some anti-condensation products available that can be found in some home improvement stores.

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