Today’s modern truck tarps are made with mold resistant vinyl and poly materials that stand up pretty well to moisture and mold spores. And although winding up with a tarp covered in mold is rare, mold growth can still occur from time to time. Any mold growth on a truck tarp should be dealt with as quickly as possible in order to prevent it from spreading. Mold not only causes damage to cargo, it can also make anyone who is exposed to it sick.
Cleaning mold from a truck tarp is not difficult in principle. You can use a commercial solution purchased from the store, or you can create your own solution of baking soda and white vinegar. A good ratio is ¼-cup baking soda for every 2 cups vinegar. Regardless of the cleaning solution you choose to use, here are the steps for cleaning a moldy truck tarp:
1. Spread and Sweep
The first step is to spread your tarp out in an outdoor space large enough to let you lay it completely flat, with plenty of room to walk around. This is best done on a warm and sunny day when there is little chance of rain. You may need to weigh down the corners of the tarp if there is any breeze.
Next, use a stiff broom to sweep the tarp clean. You want to remove all of the surface dirt and loosen the mold at the same time. Be sure to sweep in the direction of the wind so that the loosened dirt and debris does not blow back onto the tarp.
2. Hose It Down, Scrub
Step number two is to hose down your tarp. Adjust the spray head to give yourself some pressure. This will help loosen more of a mold and any dirt and grime that did not come off with the broom. As soon as you are done hosing off the tarp, get right to work with your cleaning solution.
If you are using the baking soda and vinegar, apply the solution with a spray bottle or brush and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then take a soft bristled brush and scrub the mold spots until they come clean. You may have to add more solution as you go. If you are using a commercial cleaning solution, just follow the instructions on the bottle. When you are done scrubbing all of the spots clean, hose down the tarp for the second time.
3. Let It Dry
The last step is to let your tarp dry. If you can hang it up, it will dry more quickly while also reducing the chances that additional mold will grow. If it cannot be hung, at least use your broom to sweep off as much excess water as possible. Allowing the tarp to dry in the sun will ensure that all the water evaporates without promoting new mold growth.
When mold does form on a truck tarp, it is usually because it has folded and stored while still wet. All it takes to create mold growth is a little water and some airborne mold spores. So to avoid mold growth, do your best to allow your tarps to dry before folding and storing them. If that is not possible because of weather, pull them out and let them dry at the soonest available opportunity.