CCC Washers, a division of Charnecke Tents, Rosholt, Wis., has been making tent washing machines since 2010. Jenny Cole, president, recently spoke with Rental Management about the benefits of using a machine for tent cleaning. An edited version of the conversation follows.
Rental Management: Why should an event rental company consider purchasing a tent washing machine? What are the benefits of cleaning with a washer?
Jenny Cole: There are three main reasons. Labor savings is the biggest. We know how most companies are struggling to find employees. It takes hours and hours to hand wash tents. Plus, it is not really a job most employees like to do. They wash much better at the beginning of the day versus the end of the day. A tent washer does the work for you. There is just minor prep time and time to load and unload a washer. A washer replaces the need for a large crew of people only washing tents. Another reason is it gets every part of the tent clean from lacing to webbing, which hand-washing just doesn’t do. A washer also does a better job of cleaning a tent getting the built-in grime and pollution. The last reason is that it can be another revenue source by washing for other rental companies and venues that might have their own tents. This can mean income in the off season and keeping people working instead of laying them off and having the chance of good employees not returning.
Rental Management: Is there a certain style of washer that you would recommend for a small or medium-size event rental business? What about a larger company?
Cole: Of course, I would recommend a fully automatic tent washer — preferably a CCC Washer. They come in different sizes to accommodate all sizes of rental companies. For instance, we have a machine that will wash up to 1,000 sq. ft. of tent material. So, it will work for the smaller tent company that might have smaller tents in their inventory. The largest machine will wash 3,000-plus sq. ft., which would be for a very large rental company that has multiple sizes of tents.
Rental Management: Are there certain common stains that machines are better at cleaning vs. washing by hand?
Cole: A washing machine in general will wash much better than hand-washing on all types of stains. It is a consistent clean, washing the same way each load. Pre-treating stains like mildew will ensure that it will come out in a washer.
Rental Management: Does a tent washing machine impact the life of a tent since it might not be as gentle as hand-washing?
Cole: A tent washer actually can prolong the life of a tent. We have seen customers, when purchasing a washing machine, wash tents that they have stopped using because they could not get them clean anymore with hand-washing. With prep and pre-treating, the tents were washed in the washer and came out in usable condition. They could again be put in the rental inventory. If the correct prep work is done, like covering hardware and using the correct tent soaps and pre-treaters, a tent life can actually be prolonged.
Rental Management: Do you have any advice on how people can ensure they are using the correct cleaning chemicals when tent washing?
Cole: Make sure they are using products meant for tent vinyl. That is the biggest mistake we have seen. Never use bleach on a tent. It harms the tent vinyl over time, making it brittle. There are wonderful mildew removers for tent vinyl that work great.