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  1. #1

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    Tarp Cleaning Recommendations

    Got some Mother Nature remnants on my Hexon and Sil-Nylon tarps: sap, stubborn bird poop, and some mystery substance . Wondering if itís safe to use anything besides water/mild soap to remove stubborn stains?

    Thanks in advance.
    "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one."
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  2. #2
    TrailSlug's Avatar
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    I've always used peanut butter for sap and it works albeit a little oil spot will be left behind.

    I found this on Backpacker.com -
    Pine sap is one of those things that can be a total pain in the rear if you donít have the right stuff to remove it. If you do have the right stuff and the right techniques, however, itís like wiping up spilled milk. Here are some tips for different types of gear:

    For clothing or other small items: Wait till you get home and stick it in the freezer for a couple of hours until itís very hard and crackly. Then crease the sap stain and roll the crease back and forth between your fingers. The sap should break away from the fabric. Gently scrape any residual sap off with a plastic spatula or knife.
    For a sleeping bag or tent (too big for the freezer): Soak a sponge with mineral oil and scrub away. Once the sap is gone, clean the fabric with hot water. Other household substances that work: rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, and Goo Gone. ***Tip: Always test a small, hidden area first, to make sure the fabric and/or fabric coatings donít react.

  3. #3
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    I've personally never cleaned my tarps. Sure, I wipe off bird poop, scrape off any pine tar, etc., but other than that, I don't do much. What little pine tar I get, I just roll it up in a ball and remove it. I've never used soap on my tarp so can't advise on that.
    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Ralph Waldo Emerson

  4. #4

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    One of the substances is from an oak tree. It’s very thin and slightly sticky sap. Upon further research, I learned it isn’t sap, but honeydew. Honeydew is the secretions from insects known as aphids, and is emitted when they suck the fluids from the leaves. Anyways, it leaves a thin sticky sap that definitely isn’t thick enough to “roll up” or “peel off” like you could pine sap.

    Thanks for all the feedback and recommendations so far!!
    "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one."
    - C.S. Lewis

  5. #5
    hutzelbein's Avatar
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    I have had sticky tarps now and then. I never tried to clean honeydew off, because it usually vanishes with use and hasn't affected performance negatively, as far as I can say.

  6. #6
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilvrSurfr View Post
    I've personally never cleaned my tarps. Sure, I wipe off bird poop, scrape off any pine tar, etc., but other than that, I don't do much. What little pine tar I get, I just roll it up in a ball and remove it. I've never used soap on my tarp so can't advise on that.
    Quote Originally Posted by hutzelbein View Post
    I have had sticky tarps now and then. I never tried to clean honeydew off, because it usually vanishes with use and hasn't affected performance negatively, as far as I can say.
    Same here. It's just gonna get more stuff on it the next time so it's pointless to try to keep it super clean. Whatever teensy bit doesn't come off with a little water and a swipe with a bandanna becomes evidence that I actually get out and use my gear.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

    Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest. Leo Babauta

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