The temporal contrast of a regeneratively amplified, sub-picosecond pulse is enhanced by employing a low-gain optical parametric amplification stage self-pumped by the second harmonic of the pulse. Through careful characterization of the two related nonlinear processes and optimization of the non-collinear geometry, a robust high-contrast idler pulse has been generated, with excellent spatial quality in both the near and far field. The overall energy conversion efficiency exceeds 14%, with 33% intensity conversion efficiency. The temporal cleaning is implemented without any bandwidth losses or spectral shift and produces approximately 20% temporal shortening. These experimental findings are in excellent agreement with numerical calculations.