The BEST way to clean your pop-up's canvas

Today on the blog we're talking about canvas!  Not necessarily everyone's conversation of the moment, but for a pop-up owner the condition of your canvas can mean the difference between a comfy night and a soggy night.  One of the first things we noticed when purchasing our used pop-up was the incredible amount of mildew all over the canvas.  It was gross.

My first search for the mildew issue was straight to The Pop Up Princess - now let me say this - we are all about not re-inventing the wheel.  When you find a person/place that has such a wealth of GOOD information you stick with it and make your own life easier.  Now Larissa (THE Pop Up Princess) does not have a specific post about mildew stains, but I did see in the comments a question regarding canvas stains and she instantly recommended her reader pick-up some Bass Pro Shops Mildew Stain Remover.  So we tossed the kids in the car and headed down to our local Bass Pro Shop.  We purchased two bottles and a giant sponge from the same end cap in the marine area.  If you don't have a BPS close, don't fear, you can order it online.

When we got home I looked over the directions - bucket of cold water and sponge.  For myself, I grabbed safety glasses and some disposable gloves.  Over time I ran back into the house for the scrub brushes.  And, of course, some good old fashioned elbow grease.

Nervously, I followed started spraying and waiting.  Then as I began to wipe with the sponge all we could say was WOW!!  Over and over.  WOW!!  This stain remover was more than I could have ever imagined.  I grabbed the brushes for the stubborn stains, but beware that you can scrub the canvas too hard, so use brushes in moderation.

I did this side by side just to show the difference of what I had already cleaned off (really the picture does it no justice).

I quickly found a groove and a technique for using the BPS Mildew Stain Remover and I saw that letting it sit on the canvas a little longer than the bottle suggested did the best at removing the stains.  The bad areas needed to be done twice.  I think it also helped that we did this on a warm and sunny day since we were able to see the stains well and it dried faster.   The remover has a strong bleach smell, but it suds up unlike bleach.  So don't be fooled that you just bought some over priced bleach.  It is a genius concoction of wonderfulness that I will never understand.

After the white of the canvas was clean we tested a small spot of our gray canvas window screen covers before doing the whole thing and thankfully it did not bleach it.  So we were also able to clean those with the mildew remover as well.  And now they're a much more appealing color of gray.  The next step for those is waterproofing if anyone has any suggestions on that we would be glad to hear it!

In the end, I completely underestimated just how much canvas needed to be done.  Our first two bottles were gone quickly and we ended up going back for two more and we finished the job with just about 1/4 of a bottle left in all.

The instant effect of the cleaned canvas resulted in a much brighter environment of the camper and we are so pleased!