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With some preparation, storing your tarps can be easy and beneficial. You have invested in canvas, vinyl, poly, and mesh tarps to shield, guard, cover, and protect your possessions or areas. It is worth the effort that they receive the necessary cleaning, maintenance, and storage. A little tender loving care will help them be ready for the next season or whenever they are needed again.  

Just a few easy steps and a bit of time can mean the difference in ensuring the future effectiveness and usefulness of these tarps. Cleaning, drying, repairing, folding, and a safe storage location will go a long way when they are not in use.   

Cleaning Your Tarps

The first thing to do in the storage process is to clean your tarps. You do not want to store these dirty. This will compromise the material, lead to mold, and create odor.

Lay out the cover and gently remove excess dirt or other substances. Then with a tarp cleaning product for specialized fabric or soap and water, clean both sides of the tarp. Make sure you do not scrub too harshly, as some treated materials such as fire retardant coatings can be compromised. Completely rinse off all soap.

Drying The Tarps

As important and possibly more than the cleaning is the drying of the covers. Hang them or spread them out over items to keep them off the ground to ensure complete drying on both sides. Flip the tarps to help the speed of the drying.

It is vital for the tarps to be completely dry before storing. Wet or damp covers that make it to storage will develop mold, mildew, and unpleasant odors. The dampness can also contribute to damage from the water or mold.


While the tarps are completely dry and still spread out, it is a good time to inspect for damage or weakening areas. Once a repair occurs, make sure any tarp glue/cement applied is dry (most tarp glues dry extremely quickly) or tarp repair tape is properly applied and not loose or folded.

Fold or Roll Tarps

After cleaning, drying, and repairing the tarps, the next task to do is fold or roll them. Neatly fold the tarps for orderly stacking and storage. If the coverings are a heavy material or bulky, tightly rolling the tarps is a suggestion. Do not bunch or cram the covers into a space. This can lead to tears and rips along with unnecessary creases and wrinkles.


Finally, once you clean, dry, repair, and fold or roll your tarps it is time for safekeeping in storing your tarps. Depending how long you will be putting the coverings away may determine where you are going to store them for a matter of convenience or necessity.

Whether you are storing for a few weeks or many years, the critical aspect to keep in mind is that tarps should be kept in a cool and dry area. Avoid heat, humidity, and direct sunlight (UV rays). Exposure to these hazards will contribute to damage and the weakening of the fabric, protective features, and coatings.

Tarps can be stored in basements, garages, storage buildings, attics, utility rooms, storage areas, stock rooms, warehouses, or wherever else you can find that is useful. The keys, once again, are to make sure areas selected maintain a cool and dry area protected from heat, humidity, and sunlight as well as not be exposed to other materials that may be damp or wet, corrosive, or dirty. Try to keep the tarps off the ground and away from walls.