As a flatbed truck driver, how many times have you retrieved a tarp from the toolbox only to find it covered with mold? Such scenarios are not good. Tarps and mold definitely do not play well together, which is why truck drivers work so hard to prevent mold growth.
If there’s good news here, it is that modern vinyl in poly materials is mold-resistant. Representatives at Mytee Products in Chillicothe, OH say that a good, high-quality tarp from a brand-name manufacturer is highly mold-resistant if cared for properly. Having said that, tarps do get moldy from time to time. It is in the best interests of truckers to learn how to prevent mold and, if it occurs, address it effectively.
It is All about Moisture
Mold needs certain conditions to grow. It requires a cool, damp, dark environment, which is why you never see mold growing on concrete slab exposed to large amounts of bright sunshine daily. When mold grows on a tarp, it is usually because the driver folded it wet and then left it stored that way for a length of time.
The ideal strategy for truck tarps is to allow them to completely dry before folding and storing away in the toolbox. Unfortunately, truck drivers do not always have the time and space to dry their tarps out. So what do they do?
First, they use vinyl and poly tarps whenever possible. Canvas tarps should be limited to only those times when they are absolutely necessary. Second, drivers should use the same tarps for consecutive loads if they know moisture is going to be a problem. Doing so prevents wet tarps from remaining folded up and in storage for extended periods of time.
Finally, when the truck driver does have some time off – even if it is just a day – tarps should be pulled out and unfolded. They can be hung on a line, across the back of the trailer, over the top of the cab, or wherever else the driver can find adequate space.
Addressing Moldy Tarps
As previously mentioned, tarps do get moldy from time to time. No worries, though. A moldy tarp is rarely a total loss. Tarps can be cleaned using a simple, four-step process outlined by Mytee Products on their website:
- Spread and Sweep – Spread the tarp out in an area large enough to allow it to lay relatively flat. Next, sweep it to remove all loose debris and agitate the mold
- Hose It down and Scrub – Next, hose down the tarp with a hose nozzle that creates at least a little bit of pressure. Follow that with a scrubbing using a push broom or soft bristle brush. You may need a cleaning solution of baking soda and vinegar for the toughest spots.
- Rinse and Repeat – Follow the scrub with a thorough rinsing and follow-up examination. If any spots have not come completely clean, scrub and rinse them again.
- Let It Dry – Finally, clean tarps need plenty of time to fully dry before being stored away again. The tarp can be left on the ground where it is or suspended on a line. The key is to not make the same mistake of not allowing the tarp to fully dry before folding and storing.
Dealing with moldy tarps is never a fun thing. It is part of the job for flatbed truckers. If you are a flatbed trucker, do not let your tarps get the best of you. Do whatever you can to prevent mold, but address it immediately whenever it does occur.