How to Clean Your Stage or Riser Surface
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How to Clean Your Stage or Riser Surface
June 7, 2018
Keeping your stage or riser surface clean is important. A dirty performance area can be a hazard and can make your performance look unprofessional. Depending on the last event, your cleanup will vary, and the tools needed will change as well.
All stage surfaces will get dirty and there’s nothing you can do to change that, but there are things you can do to help with the aftermath, though. Whenever possible, make sure that you’re using the best surface possible for your application. For example, hard surfaces work best when food and drinks are involved. Big food stains can make the cleanup process much more strenuous when you need to clean every carpet fiber.
The way that you’re going to clean your stage surface is going to depend on a few different factors. These will range from the type of performance surface, the remnants from the last event, and what is coming next. So, we’re going to go over the best ways to clean a carpeted stage surface and a hard stage surface based on a few common cleaning challenges from the industry.
Cleaning a Carpeted Stage Surface
Cleaning a carpeted stage surface isn’t much different than cleaning the carpet in your house.
For basic cleaning, it’s perfectly fine to vacuum the carpeted stage decks. That’s the best way to clean and it’s what we recommend. 95% of the time that’s all you’ll need to do. Vacuuming will clean the dirt that will get on your decks from normal use.
For tougher messes like food or coffee stains, you can use a carpet cleaner, just like you would for the carpet in your home. On your stage, though, you don’t want to let the water sit there for long as this isn’t good for the deck. Make sure to dry your stage immediately and never put your portable stage in storage when it is wet. This can lead to another problem of mildew or mold if left in the warm and dark storage area.
If your last performance tech staff were nice enough to tape down the cables to make sure there was not a trip hazard, you may find yourself with gaffer’s tape adhesive residue and a sticky mess. This is especially true if they went with the economical tape, which allows the backer to come off when the tape was removed. To handle this tough stain, you need to employ the use of some solvent based cleaner that will help break up the glue. Always test this in an out of the way area on the carpet to see how the it will react before you create a worse stain by causing the carpet to become discolored. This is a long process where you work in small areas to address each carpet fiber to make sure it is all cleaned up. It will require a lot of focused effort to do it right. Once you have the carpet cleaned with the solvent cleaner, move on to cleaning the area with some water and soap to make sure the cleaning solvent is totally removed. Follow it up by making sure the surface is dried completely and you can then vacuum again to help the carpet regain its normal look.
Cleaning a Hard Stage Surface
For hard surfaces, sweeping will usually do the trick, but it’s also perfectly fine to damp mop them. You can lay your stage decks out across the floor and damp mop them just like you would any other hard surface. You should also dry them immediately after damp mopping, just like when cleaning the carpeted decks. Make sure they’re completely dry before using them, too, to prevent slipping. Don’t use cleaner that will leave a sticky or slippery residue behind. Consistency is key to make sure the stage surface remains the same over the entire performance area to keep performers and other people using it safe.
Some of the performance cleaning challenges on a hard surface will range from gaffer’s tape, to bio hazards left by the brass section of the orchestra, to the annoyingly resistant confetti that just seems to never come up. To handle each of these, there are a few techniques to help the process go smoothly and get the results you want with minimal effort.
It is always important that the performer or dancer hits their marks but this can leave the glue residue from tape or the chalk point that will remain forever if it is not removed. For handling the tape elements, most people will think of WD40 as the go to as this is the best way to clean the glue residue from cables, but this is not a good choice for the stage surface. It can either discolor the spot permanently or leave the spot slippery for the next event. Warm water and soap is the best solution for cleaning the stage surface. The heat of the water helps to soften the glue and the soap helps clean the residue away. Just make sure you get the soapy water cleaned up and dried when done for the best results.
Chalk can be just as stubborn and may require some soap and water as well. The first step is to get as much of the chalk wiped up before you start with the soapy water. You can attach the last remnants with some non-abrasive cleaner and a sponge to make sure you get it all cleaned up. Always make sure the cleaner is fully washed off the stage when you are done to ensure no other staining occurs.
Confetti can be as big a challenge as any tape or chalk mark. The particulars leave the shiny reminders everywhere and no amount of sweeping, vacuuming or individual picking up seems to make this process easy. Some venues have found the best way to get those last little pieces are to break out the tried and true lint roller. The large units with the removable layers can be used again and again to track down every last bit of confetti and leave your venue in pristine readiness for the next event.
There’s a lot that goes into the setup and tear down of your events, but properly cleaning your stage should not be overlooked. Make sure you’re using the appropriate cleaning method for your stage surface is very important. It makes your events better, keeps performers safe, and increases the longevity of your equipment.
Check out the stage extensions we provided the San Francisco Jazz Center to match their built-in wooden stage surface.
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