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Treating tough stains

On the Job | December 1, 2007 | By:

Q: How can I get tough stains out of my rental tents?

A: There are some unique cleaning tips that help in removing tough stains. The Mr. Clean® Magic Eraser® is a marvel in cleaning particular spots off of tents. Even purple berry bird droppings can be removed with the Magic Eraser. Unfortunately, the eraser dissolves as you use it, and it can be somewhat tedious. But for mystery stains that regular cleaners won’t remove, try the Magic Eraser.

For rust stains, leaf stains and hard water stains — or any stain that would be considered a mineral or metal stain — try CLR (Calcium/Lime/Rust remover). CLR is a strong acid, but it’s safe for tent vinyl. It dissolves any mineral deposits or hard water residue left on the surface.

Use fresh chlorine bleach for bad mildew stains; bleach weakens the older it gets. Stronger chlorine solutions, such as X-14® mildew remover and Blitz mildew remover, use calcium hypochlorite and do a better job of “killing” the roots or spores of the mildew. Always apply bleach solutions to dry fabric, and only use bleach when the tent has mildew stains. Bleach does not whiten tent fabric as it does cotton tee shirts. Extended, constant use of bleach on vinyl fabric will ruin the plasticizer and make the fabric stiff. Extended use of chlorine bleach, along with exposure to ultraviolet sunlight, can also dry-rot the polyester stitching on the fabric’s seams.

Chuck Shipp is president of Shipp Chemical Co., a 28-year-old company providing cleaning chemicals for the rental industry. He can be reached at Visit for more cleaning tips.

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