I had for some time been driving
with the top down without using my soft top boot cover (I guess everyone does
it on those short rides from the office to one´s home) and have only last
week noticed that the black interior had faded considerably. The interior cloth
of the top (Still the factory original) was in excellent condition, but the
interior had a faded strip (where the boot folds down and exposes the front
10cm of the interior to the sun) as well as various other parts of the interior
due to parking in the sunshine I guess.
I went to a local shop that sells fabrics and fabric dyes, and bought myself a sachet of Dylon Cloth Dye (this is British Stuff, of atrocious smell when being mixed but of excellent quality) in Ebony Black colour. After reading the instructions, I mixed the dye with a teaspoonful of table salt in a mug with hot water, and stirred it well, until the salt and powder dye had completely dissolved. (I intentionally skipped the part of the instructions that advises to further dilute the mixture in a pot with more water, as I was not soak-dyeing the soft top, but applying the dye directly to the soft top as this was installed on the car. Not diluting also means dyeing quicker, making less applications and giving the soft top a deeper, richer, black colour.) I then allowed the solution to cool down a bit (do not allow to cool down completely, just enough not to burn your hands)
Before applying the dye, I wet a lint free cloth, and cafefully wiped the interior of the soft top to remove any stains (or dust - believe me there´s lots of it on the interior of the soft top) and to moisten it for the dye.
I then took a pair of surgical gloves (a must if you don´t want to have blue hands way into the year 2030) and a clean, lint- free cloth which I carefully dipped into the dye and applied the dye to the soft top interior. I ensured adequate coverage of all surfaces, paying attention not to drip the dye anywhere on the interior (owners with tan interior beware! - this thing looks thin enough, but is guaranteed to stain leather/cloth irreversibly). Where the dye inevitably contacts metal surfaces (the soft top latches, parcel deck trim) wipe clean with a wet cloth before it dries up. Pay extra good care on the front part of the softtop, especially the first 10-15cm that are more prone to fading, to ensure that the dying is even in all parts of the top.
After I finished, I did not rinse the interior of the soft top clean as the instructions on the dye sachet suggested, since the soft top never comes in contact with clothes or any other surface and thus I gathered that there is no danger of any colour run. I left the top to dry naturally (do not use any heat sources to dry the top) and in about 3 hours, it was totally dry.
The top now has a deep and rich black colour, and looks brand new, and having done the mod a week ago, i have still not noted any downsides to it.
Hope this is good help to any fellow Miata maniac who just got his top a bit messed up.
Needless to say, I cannot accept responsibility for anyone burning/dying his hands, ruining his/her softtop or inflicting any other damage to himself or any other person/property alive or dead.
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13 March, 2002