How to Wash a Tent: Basic and Deep Cleaning Methods

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced camper, you know how important a tent is for your trip. During harsh weather conditions, the tent is the only thing protecting you against the wind, the rain, and the cold. It also allows you to have a good night sleep. Of such great importance, it is but worthy for you to know how to wash a tent properly.

Cleaning your tent can actually extend its lifespan so you can enjoy it for many years and get a good return on your investment. Tents come in different types and sizes but no matter what kind it is, they all share the need to be cleaned. This article will deal with tips and advice on how to go about it.

How to Wash a Tent: Basic Cleaning

Tents can pick all sorts of grime and dirt during camping trips, from grass stains to mud. Simply putting them away without cleaning them first is a recipe for disaster especially if they’re stored wet or damp. Moisture will attract mildew and mold.

Some people merely hose down their tents after use but if you’ve bought a pricey one, wouldn’t you want to spend a few extra minutes to ensure that your expensive tent is completely cleaned?

The Steps:

  1. Prepare your supplies beforehand

You would need a hose, mild soap (detergents are a big no-no and so is bleach), a bucket, and a non-abrasive sponge. There are also tent-specific cleaning solutions that you can use for removing tough stains.

  1. Spot clean

First, make sure that the tent is emptied out before cleaning and removing any loose dirt. Then, thoroughly scrub, albeit gently, all those areas with tough stains and dirt. Use your tent cleaning solution for those stubborn, clingy dirt.

  1. Thorough Washing

Once you are done with spot cleaning, soap up the entire tent. If it’s small enough, you can do this by immersing the whole thing into your tub. If the tent is too large, work on it by sections then hose it down to rinse it.

Don’t use a pressure washer as this can put too much pressure on your tent’s seams and tear them. Also, take care that all soap residue is completely rinsed off as this will leave an unpleasant film on the fabric.

As for the poles, they should be cleaned using a dry and soft cloth. On the other hand, the zippers just need a quick water dip before being drying them off.

  1. Let It Dry

After cleaning, hang your tent to dry. This can be on your lawn or clothesline. As much as possible, try to hang it in a shady area away from direct sunlight as UV rays can weaken the strength of your tent’s fabric, making it more susceptible to leaking and tearing. It is even worse for PU-coated nylon fabrics which are far more sensitive to UV degradation than polyester fabrics.

Also, avoid laying your drying tent on bushes as the branches might snag on its material. Drying your tent may take as much as three days but be patient. As previously explained, storing your tent while damp will attract mold not to mention a funky smell that you wouldn’t want to smell on your next camping trip.

  1. Store Properly

Once your tent is dry, loosely roll it and store in a cool and shady area. You can also cover it with a cloth to keep dust from getting on it. Do note that your tent bag should only be used to carry your tent but not to store it. Poles can be kept in their assembled state to reduce shock on the cord.

How To Wash a Tent: Deep Cleaning

Some tent issues require deep cleaning. Below are some of the solutions to remedy the problem.

  • Removing Mold

If you’ve taken out your tent and noticed mold on it, do not fret since you might still be able to save it. There are several products available commercially that you can use, such as enzyme cleaners.

However, you can also go the natural and inexpensive route. All you would need are vinegar, mild soap, and a soft bristle brush.

Mix about five quarts of hot water with a teaspoon of dish soap and a quart of vinegar. Alternatively, you can also use a cup each of salt and pure lemon juice mixed into a gallon of hot water.

Dry the tent and remove as much mold as you can before the treatment. Set up your tent outdoors because sunshine can help kill the mold and mildew.

Wipe down your tent floor and walls with the vinegar solution and scrub with the bristle brush. Take care that you do the brushing gently to ensure you don’t damage the tent fabric.

  • Removing Pine Sap

Pine sap is one of those things that are so hard to remove but once you know the right technique, cleaning it off should be a breeze. For this, you need a sponge soaked in mineral oil. Scrub the affected spots, and once the sap is removed, rinse the tent with hot water and allow to dry.

Now that you have an idea how to clean your tent correctly, you should also learn how to take care of it so that it will have an extended lifespan.

What are the Basic Tent Care Tips?

Here are additional tent care tips that may be of use to you:

  • Use a Ground Cloth whenever Possible

The ground cloth has to be cut smaller than your tent so that water won’t collect underneath. Ground tarp protects your tent floors from punctures and rips. A smooth and level ground to pitch your tent on can also help prevent any abrasions on your floor.

  • Keep Grit to a Minimum

Sweep the floor tent daily and as much as possible; hence, always remove your footwear before entering the tent.

  • Roll Your Tent when Storing It

Never fold your tent as this can create creases that will create permanent lines over time. Creases can also compromise the durability of the tent material’s coating and waterproofing.

  • Fix Small Tears as soon as You Notice Them

Small tears in the mesh can be fixed by rubbing it between your palms. Bigger ones can be repaired by investing in a mesh repair kit.

Final Thoughts

Caring for your camping tent before, during, and after using it ensures that it will last for a long time. So, always find time to clean it. Also, have enough patience when cleaning, installing, and storing it.

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