Explore America's Campgrounds
Coleman Popup Campers provide a bit more mobility and ease than a large, cumbersome motor home. Care for the pop-up should be a regular routine, as it is packed away for long intervals between use. With certain areas such as the canvas tent or awnings, you must take special care to keep them in good shape. Dry rot can be an issue if moisture, dirt and mildew are allowed to remain on the canvas.
Items you will need
Soft dry brush
Commercial camper mildew cleaner (optional)
Brush away any dirt or debris such as bird droppings, soot or dust from the canvas. Keep it clean daily, to avoid dirt adhering to the surface. Dirt and moisture are the two culprits behind the canvas surfaces' biggest enemy: mildew.
Pack the camper away when it's dry. If you must pack it wet due to rain, open it again immediately after returning home and allow it to dry thoroughly.
Never store open perishable food or damp items inside the camper during storage. These perpetuate mildew and rot, and it can spread throughout the entire camper including the canvas.
Wash the camper canvas with a very mild dish detergent or soap flakes and water, if necessary. Mix the detergent in a light solution by adding 1 tbsp. of soap to 1 gallon of water. Use a soft rag to wash the camper in small sections. Don't allow the soapy water to dry on the surface. Rinse immediately with cool clear water from a hose. Let the camper dry completely before storage.
Keep any detergent or commercial cleaning products away from the awning. This material is not designed for cleaners. Brush off any dirt or debris daily. Tilt the awning to one corner during use, so water does not pool if it rains. Pack it away completely dry, never wet.
Keep food, bug spray, foliage and personal toiletries such as hair spray away from the camper's canvas. These things stick to the surface, then collect dirt and moisture. Some foliage has acidic properties that stain and break down the protective surface.
Store your camper without a tarp over the unit. A tarp can't protect it any more than its own hard shell and impedes air flow -- allowing moisture to build up inside.
If you do encounter a problem with mildew, clean the canvas only with a commercial mildew stain remover sold at your camping supply dealer. These are designed to not damage the protective coatings on the surfaces.
Caprice Castano recently left the field of construction management to operate her own contracting business and spend time developing her writing career. Current projects include freelance writing for Internet publications and working on novel-length fiction.