Tents need more than just a good hosing off before you pack them away for the next event. Taking the time to properly handle, clean, dry, and store your tent fabric adds years to its life and keeps tent tops looking great.
Things that will cause premature degradation and reduced life expectancy of your tents:
Be prepared for small accidents that can happen in the field during tent installations by bringing travel-sized patching kits. Celina's repair products provide a quick and easy solution for small tears and puncture holes when there is no time to spare. Kits available include pin hole patch, glue kits, or heat sealer kits.
Pin Hole Patch
When small holes or pin pricks occur, Pin Hole Patch can be brushed onto the hole to fill and seal your fabric. The patch is a thick liquid brushed onto the vinyl, similar to white-out liquids, and should only be used on very small areas. We advise cleaning the area with an alcohol pad prior to applying the pin hole patch to reduce the chance of contamination to the interior scrim.
Vinyl Repair Kit
For larger tears or rips, the Vinyl Repair Kit can be used when far from a workshop environment. Each kit comes with vinyl patch material that is the color of your choice, and a can of HH66 vinyl adhesive. This glue is specifically formulated for use with vinyl, creating a strong bond when properly applied.
Hand Held Heat Sealer Hit
For maximum effectiveness, the Hand Held Heat Sealer Kit can be used to seal a vinyl patch in place. The heat sealer is placed between the base fabric (tent top or wall) and the patch, pressed into place with the included silicone roller. This simulates the heat-weld construction method used to create tent tops in our factory. Vinyl patch material is not included in this kit.
For maximum life of tent fabrics, Celina recommends regular cleaning. Most common types of dirt can be removed using Celina's Tent Cleaner, developed specifically for tents and sidewalls. It can be applied while tent is installed and sprayed off with a garden hose, or applied while the tent fabric is spread on a flat surface. Other neutral soaps and cleaners, such as Ivory® dish soap or Spic' N' Span®, can be combined with warm water and are also acceptable to use. Thorough rinsing and drying is required before storage.
Tough Residue Cleaning:
Celina Citrus Cleaner is a 100% biodegradable solvent that quickly removes adhesive residue from tents, inflatable bouncers, PVC, and plastics. This cleaner completely removes tough substances like engine grease, tar, paints, inks, adhesives, shoe polish, crayon, kitchen grease, and more. A diluted solution of 1:5 bleach to water can be used when general maintenance cleaning for more stubborn soils, but will not remove stains. Isopropyl alcohol or mineral spirits are also helpful in removing gummy residue or wet paint. Be sure to remove any excess cleaning solutions with a clean, dry cloth.
Specialty Tent and Sidewall Fabric Cleaning*:
While mild soap and warm water usually does a good job of washing away dirt and grime, this method does not always remove the variety of dirt and stains that tents pick up during an installation, set-up and tear-down, and while in storage. There are several other solutions for removing eyesores from tent and sidewall fabrics:
Leaf, Hard-water, Rust and Mineral Stains: CLR® (Calcium, Lime, Rust Remover) is an acid that is safe for vinyl; it dissolves any mineral deposits that are on the surface. Be sure to wipe clean as soon as the deposits are removed.
If clear sidewalls or cathedral window panes have hard water residue or a foggy look, try a weak dilution of the CLR® solution to remove the deposits. Remember not to scrub clear PVC hard, as it can be scratched with abrasives and harsh cleaners.
Pole Stains: Black stains can be caused by aluminum and galvanized side poles rubbing against your tent fabric. Liquid silver polish can be used to remove any metal dust and does not damage the vinyl.
Bird Dropping Stains: Bird droppings can be removed with melamine "erasing foam" such as Mr. Clean® Magic Eraser. It may be impractical for cleaning large stains, but heavy-duty commercial versions are available. This method also works for cleaning chairs.
Mildew Stains: If a tent has mildew stains, a chlorine cleaner can be used. Fresh bleach (sodium hypochlorite) from a grocery store works well. More stable and stronger calcium hypochlorite solutions (include Celina's Mold Cleaner) do a better job of killing the roots or spores of the mildew. Always apply any chlorine cleaner to dry fabric in a well ventilated area.
Only use chlorine on areas of the tent that have mildew stains. Chlorine does not whiten tent fabric, and extended use of bleach on vinyl fabric will remove the plasticizers from vinyl, making the fabric stiff. Chlorine cleaners can also dry rot the polyester stitching on the seams after long-term exposure to UV light.
Sticky Residue, Duct Tape, Tar, Paint, Grease and Oil Stains: These stains can be removed with pure organic citrus solvent, such as Celina Citrus Cleaner.
Do not use mineral spirits, products such as Goof Off® or paint removers, because these are made of petroleum. Since vinyl is a petroleum-based product, other petroleum products will permanently yellow and pucker the vinyl. Always be sure to check the ingredients on the label. If it contains petroleum, do not use it on tent fabrics.
Confetti or Crepe Paper Stains: Tent rental companies in sunny states have found that if you put your tent up in the sun for a few days, the ultraviolet light from the sun can bleach out dye stains from paper products. Others have tried using the infrared heating lamps used in food service stations; place the lamp the normal distance from the surface and let it sit for approximately 20 minutes. Infrared light has also removed old set-in yellow mildew stains and leaf stains. Be careful not to let the vinyl overheat.
*The above information contained is believed to be reliable. It is offered in good faith and intended for use as a general guide. Celina makes no guarantee as to the results and assumes no obligation or liability whatsoever in connection with the possible use of this information. This information, including any statement concerning the possible use of our products, is not a license to operate under, or intend to suggest infringement of any existing patents.
Remember to treat your tent fabrics how you want to be treated; the majority of damage to tent tops occurs during installation, tear-down, and transportation.
Make sure that your ten top has been dried completely prior to packing it away. Any moisture that remains on the vinyl can foster mold growth, only adding to the maintenance required once the tent is unpacked for its next use. Tent fabric should be removed from a tent only after a drop cloth has been spread out beneath it. Once the tent is dried and folded or rolled to the tent top specifications, it should be placed in the storage bag to block environmental moisture and dust or dirt from entering the tent top.
Bagged tent tops should be lifted, never dragged from location to location. Since the fabric bags are made from the same vinyl used to make tent tops and sidewalls, they aren't heavy duty enough to protect from constant abrasion. Dragged tent tops will almost assuredly have pin holes, if not full rips and tears due to the friction from dragging.
Celina Tent offers various carts and carriers to aid in tent top transportation.
Fabrics should be stored on their sides, preferably off of the ground to prevent moisture and pest intrusion. When possible, try to find a storage area that is relatively free of large temperature swings, and doesn't collect moisture over time.