On a camping trip, nothing is more important than tarps. They make great flooring, keep the rain from soaking everything, and can even provide shade. Their flexibility also means they get exceptionally dirty.


Practical Ideas for Cleaning and Disinfecting Tarps


So how do you go about cleaning and disinfecting them? Let’s dive in and find out:


Items Needed to Clean and Disinfect Tarps

  • Dish Soap
  • Sponges
  • Vinegar
  • Spray Bottle
  • Paper Towels
  • Clothes Pins
  • Antibacterial Wipes
  • Green Cleaners
  • Hose
  • Disinfectant Spray
  • Rubbing Alcohol


Shake it Out

Before getting in to the nitty gritty of cleaning, you’ll first want to unfold the tarps and shake everything out. Depending on the size (some of them are pretty big) you may need someone to help you. Hold the ends of the tarp firmly, and shake them back and forth as quickly as possible. This will get any pine needles, dust, bugs, leaves, and other forest debris that may still be hitching a ride.


Remove Gunk and Standing Residue

Since tarps can be used for almost anything, they also can get almost anything on them. That means you may find yourself fighting off tree sap, nesting insects, or average clumps of mud and dirt.

After you’ve shaken them out, it’s not time to stretch them out on your floor or on the lawn in your yard. Make sure no folds or creases are present, so that you can see every piece of residue and dirt that’s left behind.

Grab your spray bottle, and green cleaners like vinegar and water, and start spraying the areas that are mucked up. Let the solution sit for a few minutes, and then use a paper towel to wipe it away.


Cleaning and Disinfecting Tarps and drying them


Full Rinse and Then Dry

With major residue out of the way, it’s now time to give your tarps a thorough rinsing. Hook a hose up to the spigot and rinse off both sides of the tarp thoroughly. For extra clean tarps, use a power washer or a power washer in combination with green cleaners—you’ll be amazed how quickly this takes care of any camping remnants.

With both sides of the tarps scrubbed and rinsed, it’s now time to dry them off. Make sure that they are 100% dry before storing them away, if not, they can grow mold which will ultimately ruin them. In a rush? Just let them sit out in the sunlight. If that isn’t feasible, grab a roll of paper towels or a giant beach towel and start drying things off.


Disinfecting Process

Depending on your camping habits, it might be time to put your tarps away, but if you really want an extra level of clean, disinfecting them is a great extra step to take. You can utilize an over-the-counter disinfectant, or if you prefer green cleaners, combine some rubbing alcohol with water. Spray as much of the tarp as possible and then let it air dry or wipe it off. Disinfectant wipes are another easy option.

By following these simple steps, your camping gear is sure to stay clean, germ-free, and in great, working condition for years to come. Happy camping!

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