How to Properly Clean and Store Inflatables

Filthy inflatables and bounce houses will destroy reputation, limit business growth, and shorten the life of valuable equipment. So, clean them thoroughly and store them in dry places to avoid unattractive molds and spots.

Before writing this article, we reviewed several Facebook groups related to Inflatable and Bounce house rentals. Interestingly, the number one question asked is how to “clean and store” equipment properly so the items won’t collect mold and stains.

We decided to share some tips to answer all those questions with one informative article. Let’s start!

Clean your equipment after every usage.

A man cleaning inflatable playgrounds

Children are the primary users of inflatables, and you know well that children like to make a mess. They play, run, and do crazy things, collecting dirt in the process. Then, they nicely transfer that dirt to your equipment with their dirty shoes, hands, and clothing. And they may even spill or drop their drinks or food. Concisely you need to clean your units after each usage before small dirt can become a big problem and to prepare the inflatables for the new users.

Cleaning at the site vs. cleaning after pickup

a man is disassembling a playground

You may clean inflatable units at the site or after you bring them back to your storage. The benefits of the first option are that you inspect the equipment, detect damages inflicted by the renters, and clean minor stains and dirt without having to unroll the units again once it gets to your warehouse.

Cleaning after the pickup has some benefits also. You can thoroughly wash your equipment with deep cleaning chemicals and power washers at your place. Plus, you may dry the units properly with air blowers and towels.

Generally speaking, some inflatable renters clean at the site if the units do not need deep washing, and they take the latter route if units have serious stains and mud that require thorough cleaning.

Inflatables can get dirty, and you need to be ready for it.

An inflatable playground covered with mud

Think of a situation where you come to pick up your inflatable water slide unit from a customer and find it covered with mud and sitting in the muddy water. Plus, you spotted food and drink residues everywhere as if children engaged in a fierce food fight on your inflatables.

Well, we understand the feeling! Here are the best steps to take:

  1. Wash the unit at the site with a water hose to remove the debris and mud so they won’t dry up and cause damage.
  2. Use an air blower to remove the excess water and debris.
  3. Deflate the unit and dissemble the parts.
  4. Rollup to transport it back to your warehouse.
  5. Once in your location, you need to do another set of cleaning quickly because if the moisture trapped in the units stays long, it causes stubborn stains, molds, and unpleasant smells.
  6. Vacuum the unit to remove the debris and grasses that got stuck.
  7. Use special cleaning products such as sprays, mobs, soft brushes, electronic spin brushes, and washcloths to bring your units to pristine condition.
  8. Rinse your units thoroughly so that harsh cleaning chemicals won’t leave a stain.
  9. Dry them with an air blower and vinyl cloth to ensure no liquid is left in the units.

Note: lie down a tarp while cleaning not to make the bottom part dirty.

Disinfect the unit before rolling it up.

A woman disinfecting an inflatable playground

Why is it important? Disinfecting kills off the germs and nasty bacteria that potentially cause damage (e.g., mold and mildew growth). Plus, it is an ethical step as it can protect customers’ health. 

Several types of disinfectants are available in the market, whose primary ingredients are bleach and alcohol. Whatever you choose, make sure that it is suitable for the units. Some harsh chemicals may do more damage than good.

7 Steps to Properly Store Your Inflatables.

rolled up inflatables on the shelf

Properly storing your inflatable units is as important as cleaning them because some damages can accrue while the units are in your possession.

  1. Do not drag the units around. You probably know why if you understand physics. Friction scratches and causes tears on the surface. Units are heavy, and sometimes people drag them to move. The best solution is to use a dolly and control your staff to prevent them from doing silly and irresponsible things with your units.
  2. Fix the rips, tears, and other damages. Before storing the items, fix any damages that units get. There are so many affordable inflatable repair kits you can get. It is crucial to repair the rips and tears when small. You will face more serious issues later if you put the repairs off.
  3. Roll it up properly. You do not need a lesson on how to roll inflatables up. But you have to remember that if you do not roll up inflatables properly, it will make the loading and unloading process super inconvenient, prone to tears, and may take up massive space in your warehouse. 
  4. Keep the units in quality storage bags. Most inflatables and bounce houses come with manufacturer’s bags. Use them to keep the units in good condition and avoid dust and insects crawling inside. 
  5. Keep them enclosed storage with these qualities: 
    • Warm storage that is warm but not too hot. 
    • Storage free from rodents. Mice and rats love to grind on vinyl products. 
    • Make sure storage is not damp or has leakage. Even if you dry the units, the moisture from the storage can harm your units. So, ensure there are no ceiling leaks to prevent rain and snow from entering the warehouse. 
  6. Keep the units above the ground.

Leaving the inflatables on the concrete floor is not recommended. Create wooden stands to keep the units on to avoid moisture and spills so they won’t contaminate your units.

7. Never stack heavy things on the inflatables. 

People tend to stack things on top of each other for better organization. Although such a method will create additional space in your warehouse, it may also damage your costly units. The best wait to avoid this situation is to allocate spots for each unit and let others know where to put each item once they return from the rent.

Use your units carefully during the winter.

an inflatable playground standing on the snow

This statement does not mean you should be reckless with your units during other seasons. Inflatable rentals drop during the winter (unless you live in subtropical areas). Most businesses in the Northern regions shut down inflatable rentals because of the low demands and high operational costs. Nevertheless, if you are a family-owned business that offers service even during the winter, try to rent out smaller units that can fit into indoor places because installing your units on muddy frozen grounds is the last thing you want. It is not efficient or good for the condition of your units.

Apply special powders for longer storage.

Powder next to an inflatable playground

To prevent the sides of the unit from getting stuck to each other, use special powders. It contains the units from producing unpleasant odors and keeps the moisture away. However, we recommend reading the manufacturer’s instruction manual attentively to avoid the things that can potentially harm the material of the inflatables.

Spray special lubricants on inflatable slides.  

Lubricating inflatable sliders

After cleaning the inflatables, you need to spray special lubricants to make surfaces slippery again. When selecting the sprays, choose the ones that dry quickly and do not stick to clothes.

Wipe the units again once they are on the site!

a man wiping inflatable bounce house

Some companies do not do it, thinking the prior cleaning is enough for the units. However, cleaning the units while installing them in clients’ locations has the following benefits:

  1. You demonstrate to the clients that you care about their safety and well-being.
    1. Disinfecting the units before usage kills the germs and bacteria that got during storage.
    1. It gives a chance for installers to make sure the usage is ready for the new users.

Take-Home Points

Proper cleaning and storage can help with the following:

  • Extend your inflatable’s life by avoiding tears, mold, and stains.
  • Increase your business reputation, as everyone prefers to rent from a company that offers clean and germ-free units.
  • Grow your business at a stable rate. Yes, there is a link between business growth and clean units. When your inflatable units are pristine, renters are more likely to refer their acquaintances.

How to clean inflatables:

  • Before rolling the units up, you can start with a blower and vacuum to remove grasses, leaves, and other debris.
  • If the units are clean, you may not need to unroll them in the warehouse.
  • If units need serious cleaning, you should do it when you bring them to your storage.
  • Unroll, power wash, spray (e.g., chemical cleaning solutions must be suitable for the vinyl material of the inflatables), brush for deep cleaning, rinse, wipe with a cloth, and air dry with a blower.
  • Wait until units are completely dry because leftover moisture can lead to mold, mildew, stain, and unpleasant odor.
  • Rollup them up properly for organized storage.

How to store:

  • Put the clean and dry inflatables into their bags to protect them from dust, dirt, insects, and potential scratches.
  • Keep them in dry and enclosed storage because moisture and rodents are the primary enemies of inflatables while in storage.
  • Store them above the concrete floors to avoid moisture from spills and leaks.
  • Do not drag the units around, as friction can tear the material, and do not stack heavy things on top of them to avoid damage.
  • Apply special powders for longer storage, as the inflatable sides tend to stick to each other. The powders also protect against the unpleasant odors and moisture caused by damp climates.

While installing the units at a new site:

  • Cleaning after installation at a new site is optional but very beneficial because you demonstrate how much you care about the health and well-being of customers by cleaning the units in front of their eyes.
  • Wipe down the dust and minor spots that emerge while they are in storage.
  • Disinfect the units to kill off the germs and bacteria.
  • Spray special fast-drying lubricants to give a nice slippery texture to the sliders.

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