So I am definitely interested in suggestion/using Fabric Clean & Protect on the fabric top. I am just wondering whether it's water repel characteristics and UV protection are a suitable replacement to a Scotchgard-like application every 6 months. I know it will depend on the environment exposed to (temperature, UV exposure, rain, etc.) but how often in your experience would you apply Fabric Clean & Protect to maintain some hydrophobic properties (monthly, less or more frequently)? For the application process would you spray on to the fabric top (at standard 3:1 dilution), agitate with soft bristle brush and then blot with a microfiber towel (preferably one with minimal loose fibers to avoid lint on fabric top)?
I had suggested to the client to seasonally apply Scotchgard but the one issue with this type of protectant is you want to make sure not to leave any overspray on rubber seals and plastic as it cause significant damage. To be safe, I would normally tape all the rubber seals close to the border of the fabric top. Looking at my bottle of Optimum Fabric Clean & Protect, I see no warnings about leaving on rubber and plastics so I assume it will not damage those materials.
If this is a suitable replacement, it would be a significant time savings as you just apply at regular cleaning interval (nominal 15 minutes monthly) and not have to go through significant seasonal prep (wash thoroughly, wait to dry, tape up rubber/plastic trim, apply several light coats of Scotchgard, needs to dry before being exposed to rain which is 1-1.5 hours of hands on work with significant delay time for drying).
And the cost savings looks good too. A single can of Scotchgard is about 1/3 the price of a 32 oz bottle of Fabric Clean & Protect. A single can of Scotchgard is maybe good for one year (two full applications) whereas Fabric Clean & Protect would produce 128 oz at the standard dilution of 3:1. Assuming nominal 2 oz per application on the fabric top, you would have enough solution for 64 applications (or 5.3 years assuming monthly application). You come out ahead after year 3 plus even with Scotchgard, you need to acquire another product for periodically cleaning the fabric top.