When you begin to look into commercial or consumer inflatables, you’re likely concerned about the care and keeping of these materials. Whether you are considering buying or currently own an inflatable, cleaning and storage are important things to know.
Types of Inflatable Materials
Commercial inflatables and residential or consumer inflatables are typically constructed out of different materials.
Consumer inflatables are generally less expensive and less durable, and they can be found at toy stores and other retailers. They use materials like heavy-duty nylon or Oxford fabric. These materials are lighter, easier to store, and don’t hold moisture as easily as other materials. Although these fabrics are functional for low-use needs, they are not as effective for long-term or high-traffic use.
Commercial inflatables use commercial polyvinyl-chloride (PVC) tarpaulin or commercial-grade PVC vinyl, which are stronger, more durable, and safer for more people. These materials are necessary for large and intricate inflatables, especially ones that accommodate many people on or in them. Commercial materials are easier to clean and can last for years. However, inflatables made from PVC tarp or vinyl are also heavier, trickier to store, and are more likely to trap water.
How to Best Store Inflatable Materials
Performing a simple clean and careful folding is enough for temporary storage of inflatables, but more care is needed for longer storage. There are several things that can wear and tear at inflatable materials, and there are certain objects and pests that can clog and damage any inflatable blower that may be with it. The dangers to inflatable materials and blowers include:
- Dust and dirt
- Mice and other pests
- Heat and UV rays
An inflatable should be cleaned, dried, and carefully folded into a durable and well-protected bag. A commercial inflatable will likely come with a sufficiently protective bag, but this isn’t true of all inflatables. Depending on the type of structure, the blower may need its own protective bag.
Wherever you plan to store the inflatable, ensure that it is somewhere cool and dry, where pests can’t easily access the bag. This may be in a garage, storage room, closet, basement, or shed. If any of these spaces heat up easily, it won’t be good for the inflatable. Moisture can lead to mold. This will decrease the look of the inflatable, and it may eventually damage the material enough to tear it.
What Causes Inflatable Materials to Fade?
Over time, many commercial and consumer inflatable owners may notice fading colors in their inflatables. This is common, as exposure to UV rays from sunlight will eventually fade most materials. This change is hopefully gradual and uniform enough that it is hard to notice. Fading colors will not affect the inflatables ability to function. If the inflatable is stored where it is exposed to the sun, this bleaching will become uneven and more obvious. This will also speed up the fading process.
Many materials used for inflatables may also be damaged if bleach is used to disinfect or clean it. Bleach should not be used on inflatables, except if there is a mold issue that needs treatment. Bleach can change and fade colors and messages on inflatable materials.
Caring for Inflatables
There are several things you can do to ensure proper care of an inflatable:
- Using the Recommended Air Pressure: Most consumer and commercial inflatables will come with a recommended PSI (pound-force per square inch). Under-inflating isn’t ideal and can even be dangerous if it’s an interactive inflatable. Over-inflating can cause the inflatable to age prematurely.
- Create Safety and Care Rules: Listing rules for the safe use of the inflatable by users, if the inflatable is interactive, will help the inflatable last longer
- Clear Debris: Outside inflatables may have dirt or debris around them, and interactive inflatables, including inflatable structures, can collect any loose debris from people using them. If these objects and debris are left, they can wear down the material over time, damaging it.
- Clean Thoroughly: Wash off stains with cleaning agents free of bleach, and use soft cleaning materials. Then, disinfect the material, particularly for inflatables like chairs, bounce houses, and slides. Dry the inflatable.
Benefits of Taking Care of Inflatables
It’s important to know how to properly care, clean, and store an inflatable. You get the most benefit by doing so because you increase the lifespan of the material and get a longer-lasting inflatable. For durable and lasting inflatables, see what we have available at Instent.