HomeBusinessExtending the Life of Your Tarps – A Handy Guide for Newbies

Extending the Life of Your Tarps – A Handy Guide for Newbies


The life of a tarpaulin depends a lot on how well you use and treat it. You also need to buy the right kind of tarp for the application to ensure it lasts long. The life of a tarpaulin varies a lot depending on the type, application, and maintenance. There is no reason for the tarp not to last long if you buy the right kind and take good care of it. Some tips to get the most out of your tarpaulin:

Buy the Right Kind of Tarp

The first and most important thing you need to do when buying a tarp is to choose one that’s right for the job. A tarp for covering materials inside a warehouse is quite different from one needed by a trucker! An untreated tarp will function well or last long if you use it outside, exposed to the elements, and you would be disappointed if you had used a mesh tarp to cover goods that spoil due to moisture. Manufacturers add special coatings to make them resistant to various types of degradation.

Buy the Right Size

When you buy heavy duty tarps, you need to specify the finished size, not the cut size, because even a difference of a few inches can affect the tarp’s coverage, performance, and life. The cut size is larger, but the finished product will be a little shorter on all sides because of the hemming process. As a result, it may fall short if you are trying to cover a truck bed. If you stretch it to make it fit, you could end up ripping it and make it unfit for use.

Clean the Tarp Correctly 

Leaving a tarp dirty and wet is the most effective way of shortening its life. Even though the tarp can become grimy with use, it is not hard to clean it; however, you must know what the best method is for various kinds of tarp materials.

If you buy a fire-retardant tarp, you must not wash it using start, bleach, or fabric softeners because it will damage the coating that makes it fire-retardant. The best way of cleaning a fire-retardant canvas tarp is to use water that does not contain minerals. You can use cold or lukewarm water with mild detergent but never hot water. You can use commercial cleaners specially formulated for fire-retardant items. Air-dry the tarp on a clothesline and keep it folded in a dry place.

You can clean other tarps like mesh, PVC, vinyl, or poly tarps with mild soap in cold or warm water. For more effective cleaning, you can soak the tarp in the soap solution for around 15 minutes before brushing or sponging them clean. Wash the tarp thoroughly to remove all soapy residues and air dry on a clothesline or flat on the ground.


After cleaning the tarp, you should inspect it for damage and repair them before they become bigger. You should

broken or missing grommets. Ensure the tarp is completely dry before keeping it away to prevent mold and mildew.

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