Regular and thorough cleaning is a critical aspect of maintaining your stock of commercial tents. With your tents subjected to everything from smoke and duct tape residue to mold and mildew, it’s important to implement a regular cleaning schedule.
However, there are several mistakes that are commonly made by commercial rental companies when washing, drying, and storing their tents. These issues can arise in every step of the process. Knowing what these problems are and how to avoid them ensures your tents will have a long lifespan, offering you the best return on your investment.
Cleaning Tent Fabric Only Using Commercial Washers
When tent rental companies reach a certain volume of business, they often opt to rely on commercial washers during the busy season. These machines are designed specifically for cleaning bulky vinyl fabric in a quick and uniform fashion. While this increased efficiency is important for rental companies with high demand, there is one major downside to machine washing.
Tent washing machines are much less gentle on the vinyl fabric than hand-washing. Exclusively machine washing your vinyl fabric significantly cuts down on the material’s lifespan. While the quick turnaround time means that it’s tempting to use a commercial washer after every event, it takes a serious toll on your stock.
In less busy times, you should try to hand-wash your tent fabric. You’ll be able to gently and carefully remove stains and debris from the surface of the fabric, taking notes of any damage that can be repaired. When you avoid exclusively machine-washing your tent fabric, you extend the life of the material - skipping the machine for even one in five washes can have an impact.
Using Abrasive Cleaning Materials to Clean the Tent Fabric
When you hand-wash your tent materials, it’s important to use non-abrasive tools and chemicals. Abrasive materials cause tiny cuts and tears in the vinyl fabric, which leads to major issues down the road. It’s important to not use brushes with stiff bristles and avoid harsh products like Ajax or Comet when trying to remove stains. Use a soft-bristle brush with mild dish soap or detergent instead. If the mildest soap is not effective in removing stubborn stains from the surface of the tent fabric, gradually increase the strength-level until it’s removed.
Extremely difficult stains like rust or mineral stains can be removed using CLR (Calcium, Lime, & Rust Remover). Diluting CLR is an effective way to remove clear sidewall windows’ foggy appearance from hard water stains. For mold and mildew, treat with Blitz or X-14. Tar, paint, duct tape, or grease stains can be removed using pure organic citrus solvent. When you use these aggressive cleaning approaches, it’s important to test on a small portion of the material before moving to the larger stain.
After you’ve washed your fabric using the appropriate cleaning materials, it’s important to be sure the excess soap and chemicals are removed from the fabric. Failure to thoroughly rinse the fabric and remove cleaning products can leave residue, which looks bad to clients and could result in the long-term degradation and damage of the tent.
Failing to Properly Dry the Tent Fabric Before Storage
One of the biggest mistakes a tent rental company can make after cleaning a commercial tent is improper drying. Failure to remove the moisture from your tent before folding for storage can quickly lead to disastrous results. Following the best practices for washing and drying your vinyl fabric is very important, otherwise your tent could be worse off then not being washed at all. Luckily, there are drying options for tent rental companies of every size.
For rental companies with a low volume of demand and small-size tents, drying them fully assembled is an option. This is ideal for businesses that don’t have a lot of storage space but have enough time to allow the clean tent to dry at the jobsite. Another option is hanging your tents to dry using a pulley system or a tracking/trolley system. In this scenario, use high-volume mops and clean cotton towels to remove the excess water from the vinyl’s surface. Fans and dehumidifiers should be used to keep the air in the drying room well-circulated and moisture-free.
There are two more options for tent rental companies with a high volume of business. The first is a tumbler dryer – like the commercial washer, this machine is designed specifically for drying vinyl tent fabric. The other option is a flat panel dryer, which can dry flat pieces of tent fabric continuously at a low temperature. In addition to being able to dry many tents in a shorter span of time, tent fabric dryers are extremely space-efficient.
Why is professional maintenance a top priority for tent rental shops during the busy season? Get the answers in our new whitepaper