I'll just go straight to the house. I am not objective! As the founder and owner of Ultramar Sail & Tent Laundry, everything I write is of course quite colored. Still, I think this article may be of some use to you.
I've been in this business for almost 20 years now. In that time I have seen all kinds of tents, boat covers, sails, etc. From an old cotton awning to the most modern laminate tarpaulins.
Over the years there have been many companies that also cleaned sails and tents. Sometimes it was a freelancer with a bucket and a brush. The other time it was a laundry that thought to do this on the side. Except for a few, they have all stopped. Too little work. Season too short. Too much damage. And above all, professional cleaning and impregnation turned out to be too difficult and laborious.
There are so many different tents, sails, boat covers, etc. You start over every time.
- What kind of cloth is it?
- What is the condition of the canvas?
- What pollution is it?
- How are the stitching?
- Which product should I impregnate with?
- How do I get that extra stain out?
That is also my first tip.
Tip 1: Have the tent cleaned? Go to a professional!
Anyone can clean a tent. As long as he uses good products and follows a certain step-by-step plan. As a private person, you can clean your tent yourself. You take all the time for that. After all, you only need to treat 1 tent.
But now you want to have your tent cleaned by a professional. At a special tent laundry. That tent washing facility receives a lot of boat covers, sails and tents in a short time. If all goes well, at least :-) This is often in the months of October to April. After all, those are the months that you are not sailing or camping.
A lot of experience is needed to process that amount in that short time. Employees must know what they are doing. And especially what not to do with your tent. The system must be watertight. After all, you will want all the parts back later. A professional with experience can do this.
Tip 2: Have the tent cleaned and impregnated? Be on time!
I already said it. The high season at a special sail & tent laundry is short. Almost everyone wants to have their tent, boat cover, parasol or sails cleaned in the same period. That is, from October to the end of April.
As a result, the delivery time can increase considerably. Sometimes up to 7 weeks. That is not because cleaning and impregnation takes so long. But because you close behind. So make sure you return the tent on time. Then the tent laundry has plenty of time to treat your belongings during those winter months.
And you will certainly have it back in time. Before the nice weather starts.
Tip 3: To a tent laundry? Ask how they work!
In the high season, a tent laundry receives many tents. Not only tents, but also boat covers, etc. And all those tents have multiple parts. It is of course very useful if eventually all the correct parts are returned to the owner.
To really have that under control and not to lose anything, a reliable system is needed. With large numbers you can't manage with a label and a handwritten receipt. Then a well-automated system is important.
Let me explain to you how we do that at Ultramar. How we process the order. From the dealer's order to the moment he receives it back.
1: The dealer passes on the order
We have a special order system for the laundry. Our dealer logs in and passes the order on to us.
- number of boxes we have to pick up from him
- desired pick-up date
- your customer name
- what kind of article it is (for example, awning)
- how many separate parts
- details (color, damage, etc)
- which treatment
- desired delivery time
The dealer will put your stuff in a special Ultramar box. He sticks a packing slip with a unique barcode on the box. We receive the order directly into our system.
2: We have the order picked up
We send DHL and have the order collected from the dealer. This can often be done within 1 working day.
3: The order comes in with us
After a few days, DHL delivers the box with your tent to us. An employee scans the barcode on the packing slip. He immediately sees which order it concerns. From which dealer, which customer name and how many parts. The box is given a special unique location code.
4: Your tent is checked
Now it's time to check your tent and label every single piece. All loose parts are counted. Each separate part is given its own label with a unique barcode.
The employee then takes a photo of each separate part. He also notes in the system all things that stand out. Think of the color, special stains, cracks, etc.
Finally, he puts all the parts in a special location. The barcode now shows that the parts are in that new location.
5: Your tent is ready for the washing process
The washing process consists of a number of steps. In a few months we have to treat thousands of sails, boat covers and tents. In order to be able to do this efficiently and, above all, safely, we try to bundle activities. We cannot handle every tent all at once.
How do we clean your tent?
- We will first soak your tent overnight in lukewarm water and our tent cleaner
- The next morning we rinse the loosened dirt from the tent
- Let's let the tent dry a little now. This way we immediately see what the next step is.
- If the tent is still dirty, we let it soak overnight again.
- The next day, the dirt is brushed and rinsed again.
- Is there still dirt to be seen? Your tent is further treated with Power Cleaner.
- When all the dirt is gone, we rinse the tent again.
- The tent goes another night in a special rinse bath.
- Now we let the tent dry overnight.
- When the tent is dry, we can impregnate it.
- We lower the tent into a bath with impregnation agent.
- This way we know for sure that every piece of tent, zipper, stitching gets the perfect protection.
- Again we let the tent dry overnight.
- The next morning an employee will take your tent.
- He checks that there are no stains from the impregnating agent on the cloth.
- Is the tent nice and clean? Then he scans the barcode.
- He takes another picture. The photo will be neatly placed in the system with the order.
- He will take your tent to the next section. The "checking, packing and shipping" department
6: Your tent is checked again
- This part of your tent is therefore clean. But that doesn't mean we're done now.
- The employee will put your tent on a dark table.
- He checks again whether dirt is still visible. Is that the case? Then that part goes back to the washing process.
- Now he will clean and polish the windows. It is easy to see on the dark table whether there are any stains from the impregnating agent.
- Is the employee completely satisfied? Then he gives that part to the next employee.
7: Scan, Check and Sort
- The employee will scan the barcode of this part of your tent.
- A screen immediately opens in our order system, with all information about your order, your tent and all individual parts.
- Is there already a part of the tent ready? Then the employee will see exactly in which "mailbox" this part is already located.
- He again notes all the details.
- He also puts this part in the mailbox. This can be seen directly in our order system thanks to the barcode.
- In this way we can see exactly where all parts are located in our building.
- If the last part is in the mailbox, the system will notify you. Your tent is ready for Packing and Shipping.
8: Packing and Shipping
- It's time to ship your tent.
- Whenever the employee places a part of your tent in the Ultramar box, he scans the barcode of that part.
- When all parts are in the box, this can also be seen in our order system.
- Each barcode now reads "in box".
- The packing slip with all the information for the dealer is also placed in the box.
- The employee prepares the box for DHL.
9: Your tent is delivered back to the dealer
- DHL will return your tent to the dealer.
- The dealer has now received an invoice from us. With the details, the weight or the number of square meters and the price.
- You pick up the tent at the dealer.
- You can pay at the dealer.
Tip 4: Have a cotton tent cleaned?
Do you have a cotton tent? Then it is better to clean and waterproof the tent yourself. Don't you do that, but have it cleaned? Then there is a very good chance that the tent is no longer waterproof. Or is no longer waterproof. How did that happen?
A cotton tent is waterproof because of all the dirt, the old impregnating agent and all loose cotton fibres. With cleaning, all of that disappears. The cotton tent cloth is therefore slightly more porous. The tent laundry can then impregnate the tent. But that's not enough! When you set up the tent, you pull the tent cloth open. As a result, the risk of leakage is very high.
You should always impregnate the cotton tent when it is on tension. That is why it is better to clean and impregnate the tent yourself. This way you avoid problems..
Tip 5: Have the tent impregnated?
At Ultramar I often get the question "Can you impregnate my tent?" We never do. At least never without cleaning. We can never know what happened to the tent.
- Have you impregnated the tent before?
- Once cleaned?
- What's in the tent cloth?
If we simply impregnate the tent, there is a good chance that the effect will be less good. As a special tent laundry, we want the best results. Therefore, never just impregnate your tent.
- The dirt on the tent is thus locked up.
- Mold spores remain in the cloth
- The impregnating agent can collide with everything that is still in the tent cloth.
Do you want to have the tent impregnated? Then have it cleaned!
Tip 6: Unabashed advertising :-)
I already told you. My opinion is not objective. I even go one step further. If you are looking for a good Sail & Tent Laundry, then I will immediately advertise my company, Ultramar. †www.zeilwasserij.nl)
Since 1998, Ultramar Zeil- en Tentwasserij has been cleaning tents for companies and private individuals. The experienced employees are happy to look for the right treatment for your tent. Naturally with the best products that have been specially developed for treating tents. Due to the combination of craftsmanship and professional products, we can guarantee you the best result.
So that's what we got! :-)
Tip 7: Where can I have my tent cleaned?
A good sail & tent laundry has a good network of collection points. Ultramar has collection points throughout the Netherlands. These are mainly sail makers, water sports shops, marinas and tent makers. View the map here and List of Collection Points.
I hope I have given you valuable tips. Do you still have questions about having a tent cleaned? Then contact a good tent laundry. I can recommend one :-)