10 Easy Steps to Clean and Maintains Tonneau Cover

A tonneau cover is one of the most popular and important accessories any truck owner likes to have patched to his ride.

If you own a truck, it is not unknown to you what the benefits of a tonneau cover are.

Not only does the cover give your truck a sleek and enhanced look, but also it ensures the protection of materials and equipment stored inside from dirt particles or elements like messy snow and sleet.

However, since these covers are highly beneficial, they come with a high cost as well. So, when you are investing a big chunk of cash on a necessity like this, it is imperative that you take good care of it.

No worries! Maintenance of a tonneau cover is really easy, and in this piece of writing, you will learn how to clean and maintain your cover for its longevity.

Preparations before Cleaning

There are a few steps you need to take prior to cleaning your cover. More precisely, you need to examine and ensure several things, such as –

Examine the cover to see whether it has any conditions like corrosion, debris, dents, scratches, bumps, and rubbishes that may cause problems while scrubbing with soap or other cleaners.

Remove the bolts and clamps and keep them safely elsewhere since you won’t want them to be damaged while you clean.

You can clean your cover in both conditions: while it is attached to your truck or after detaching it and taking it elsewhere for cleaning. But keep in mind that the place where you’ll proceed with the cleaning should be shaded and not directly under sunlight.

Try to do it under a tree or anything that shades the area; it will eliminate the risk of any kind of effects of sun rays.

Make sure the surface of the cover is cool before you start cleaning. If it is heated from the sunlight, give it a while to cool down.

What to Use as the Cleaner?

You can clean your cover using a mix of warm water and car washing soap at the beginning and later proceed to use other tonneau cleaners/protectors to give a thorough clean and add a nice shine.

Never use detergents, bleaches, harsh, or strong cleaners to wash the cover. These chemicals can damage your cover due to its harmful substance in the mixture. Almost every brand that makes tonneau cover also makes cleaners for them. You can buy the one that is suitable for your type of cover.

Note that soft covers, mostly which are made of vinyl, need special kinds of cleaners for them. The vinyl cleaners are made to protect the cover against fading, discoloration, and cracking from harmful UV rays in addition to enhancing the look of it.

How to Clean Tonneau Cover?

Before you start cleaning, it is better if you go through your cover’s manual to see if there is any specified instruction for your model. Because there are things about your cover that you may not be aware of, and the manual will help you to know them.  

Now, let’s get straight to cleaning. Follow these steps to easily clean your cover and give it as stunning a look as it had when you first bought it –

Step 1: First, spray or sprinkle cool and clean water on the cover and wipe away surface grit using any towel. This will soften lodged debris and dust and will make it easy for you to remove all the dirt without scrubbing hard.

Step 2: Now prepare the cleaning solution mixing warm water and car cleaning solution.

Step 3: Divide the cover into two or four parts using any visible marker. It will allow you to clean more precisely.

Step 4: Soak a scrubber brush or sponge bar with the solution and start scrubbing the cover, one divided part after another. While doing so, don’t apply much pressure on the cover, rather do it slowly and smoothly. Do not use a rough and abrasive cleaning pad while scrubbing.

Step 5: Now wait for five minutes until the solution mixes with the dirt, and it starts coming off. Repeat the process a few times until it’s totally clean.

Step 6: Now rinse the cover with a hose making sure all the soaped dirt is going off with water. You can use another sponge bar to wipe off excess water.

Step 7: Dry the cover by leaving it for a while.

Step 8: Now, it is time to use the tonneau cleaner or vinyl cleaner for soft vinyl tonneau covers. Spray the cleaner over the surface. Use microfiber scrub or bristle brush to spread it all over.

You can also use a boar hairbrush. Since it has a long handle, it allows you to reach anywhere on the surface. Do not apply force on the cover, and while scrubbing, do it softly.

Step 9: After you are finished with scrubbing, rinse the cover with a hose. Use a soft towel or sponge to soak off smeared water from the body. Leave it to dry and then apply your tonneau cover protectant. You can also use a microfiber applicator to cleanse the protectant.

You are done cleaning your tonneau cover. Does it look as fresh as a new one? Yeah, it’s that easy to clean. Now that you have cleaned it, leave the truck to rest under sunlight or under shade.

How to Maintain It Well?

Tonneau covers are highly expensive. Therefore, maintaining them is the key to have them last long and serve for the life of the truck. If you take the right measures to maintain your cover, the life of it will prolong by many folds. Here are some maintenance tips you can follow to ensure your cover’s longevity –

Perform Regular Check

Regular inspection is paramount when it comes to maintaining something. A preventative measure is to regularly check your cover for problems like scratches, bumps, dents, debris, looseness, corrosion, etc. Regular check allows you to spot red flags and take measures before it snowballs into a costly problem.

Don’t overlook even the slightest anomaly, for it may worsen with time. Moreover, if you inspect regularly and stay aware of the problems, you can be careful during washing – therefore, you can avoid scratching the damaged spots and making them worse.

It is recommended that you perform a check every time after you go for a ride.

Check If the Hardware is Fastened Tightly

Check the mounting clamps and bolts regularly to see if they are tightly attached and are functioning smoothly. It can cause severe damage to your cover if they are not fastened tightly.

You can slide your cover regularly to see if it opens and closes smoothly, even when you are not using it. If the cover does not slide smoothly, you can apply lubrication to the rails to prevent traction or unwanted wear.

Do Not Overburden the Cover

You may think burdening your cover with heavy stuff is good since it’s made of quality materials. Don’t let that thought fool you.

It’s imperative that you do not leave heavy loads on your cover for a long time, regardless of which type of cover you have. It will sag down eventually. You can refer to the cover’s manual to check how much weight your cover can support.

Also, when you keep loads over the lid, don’t forget to spread it evenly on the space to avoid sagging and damage.

Use Protectant for Your Cover

After cleaning your cover every time, don’t forget to apply a protectant to it and the plastic rim surrounding the bumper, bed, and tailgate. Normally, people use a microfiber applicant to adjust the protectant. Since the protectant differs for different types of cover, it is better to refer to the manufacturer’s guide.

Clean Properly and Regularly

There are a lot of cleaners available in the shops. However, choosing the right one is the key. You may check your manufacturer’s guide or even contact them if needed, to inquire about what kind of cleaner you can use.

The perfect cleaner will allow you to retain the sleek look of your cover and ensure its longevity. Also, make sure not to use an abrasive cleaning pad. Always use a soft towel, microfiber scrub, bristle brush, or sponge to scrub. Clean your cover regularly.

Keep It at the Right Place

Do not keep your cover directly under the sun for very long, especially when it is a soft vinyl tonneau cover. Again, do not keep it in the shade for most of the time, since that may result in having mildew and mold formed. So, the right thing to do is keeping the cover both under light and shade in balance.


Taking care of a tonneau cover is easy, and by following these mentioned tips, you can ensure its longevity in addition to a stellar look. Try to clean your cover on a regular basis and take action when you find any issue. It will surprise you with its years of good service.

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