How To Clean A Tent - Representation Image

How To Clean A Tent

After a trip to the great outdoors, it is only natural that your tent would need cleaning. It could be just some dust and dirt, or a spot that needs more exhaustive attention. Let’s see how to clean a tent, and should it be needed, a more thorough cleaning. The idea is to remove dust and dirt, but also to get rid of funky odors and possible problems like mold and bad zippers. 

Things You Need To Clean A Tent

It’s better to be prepared with all the things you need to clean your tent. Here are the most important ones that should be available when you start cleaning.

  • Soap: Use a mild, non-fragrant soap for cleaning.
  • Water: Cool to lukewarm water. Do not use hot water.
  • Sponge: A non-abrasive sponge or cloth to spot-clean and wipe the tent.
  • Tent Cleaning Supplies: These include specialty cleaning products. Depending on your requirement, these may be rubbing alcohol, enzyme cleaner, fabric cleaner, or odor eliminator.
  • Bathtub: A bathtub or another large tub to soak the tent.

Steps To Cleaning A Tent

Spot-Clean The Tent

To start, gently clean any stained areas with a cloth or sponge, along with mild dish soap. This can help remove some stubborn stains and better cleaning of some dirty areas. If you prefer, you can spot clean then tent while it is set up. And then move to the next step.

Prepare Your Tent

Once spot cleaning is done, unzip the doors and turn the tent inside out. You can shake it a bit to get rid of any loose debris, but don’t shake it too aggressively.

Prepare The Tub

Fill the tub with cool to lukewarm water. You may also want to add a specific tent cleaner like  Nikwax Tech Wash. Use the directions on the product to add the right volume of the cleaner to water. Remember not to use harsh or abrasive cleaners.

Soak The Tent

Place your tent and rainfly in the tub. Let it soak for a while. You can rely upon the direction of your tent cleaning products or tent cleaner to decide the duration of soaking.

Rinse And Clean

Thoroughly rinse your tent to ensure that you get all the soap off the tent. You will have to drain water from the tub and refill it to ensure there is no residual soap. Repeat this process a couple of times to ensure all soap has been cleaned off.

Let It Dry

Your tent should be completely dry before you decide to store it. Dry your tent and rainfly in a shaded area and wait until it is completely dry.

Tent Cleaning Products And Fixing Common Issues

In case the tent or canopy has developed some odor, mold, or has a particularly tough stain, you might need to up the ante. If you’re having problems with a tent that smells or has mildew and mold, try using an enzyme-based cleaning product. 

Follow the same method as above, but replace your tent cleaner with something like the Revivex Odor Eliminator (formerly, MiraZyme cleaner). Be sure to follow the directions on the cleaner as well. When dealing with mildew, you can also try using white vinegar. It’s pretty good at removing mildew and can deodorize a tent. Though initially, you will have to put up with the strong odor of vinegar.

When spot cleaning your tent, you can use conventional products like rubbing alcohol. In case you need a quick fix, you can turn to an alcohol-based cleaner like hand sanitizer or wet wipes. 

If the zippers are posing a problem, try scrubbing them with an old toothbrush. This can help remove any grime or dirt trapped in the zipper, thereby making movement easier.

Finally, when you’re preparing to clean your tent, also consider doing some maintenance work. Patch up any troubled areas, and consider waterproofing your tent so it is better prepared.

Keeping Your Tent Clean

Responsible use of your tent is as important as cleaning it. Whenever possible, place your tent in a clean, shaded area. It’s worthwhile to place a footprint/tarp under your tent.

Never bring dirty shoes or gear inside your tent. Those things are best left outside, and keeping them away will not only keep your tent clean but could also help increase its life.

Wait for your tent to be completely dry after cleaning before you store it. Store it in a cool and dry place, where there is no risk of mold spoiling the tent. Knowing how to clean a tent is one part, it is equally important to keep the tent clean and maintain it well.