If you want to keep your tent looking, smelling, and performing its best, tent cleaning is a must. Many people never give tent cleaning a second thought. They simply pack up their tents at the end of a camping trip. They don’t think about their tent again until they are at their next camping destination and its time to pitch it. This scenario isn’t good, especially if months pass between camping trips. Many campers have pitched their tents only to find they smell foul and are full of mold and mildew.
By far, the easiest way to keep your camping tent in good condition is to do what it takes to keep it from getting dirty. Always use a ground cloth when camping. If debris gets brought into the tent, brush it out with a broom. Remove any bird droppings or tree sap as soon as you notice it and never pack up a tent that is wet or damp. If you have no other options but to pack it away on a camping trip, unpack it as soon as you get home, so it can dry out.
If you haven’t treated your camping tent properly, it’s probably a good idea to clean it. If you don’t, you may be investing in a new tent. Here are helpful tips for tent cleaning.
Within a few days of arriving home from your camping trip, pitch your camping tent in your yard. Wipe down the outside and inside of your tent with a damp sponge and then let it air out for a few hours. After your tent has completely dried and is odor free, store it in a dry place out of sunlight. Cool places work the best for tent storage as high temperatures can mess with the coating that is applied to tents.
If you are ever cleaning your tent and you notice that it has loose threads around the zippers, trim them off. If you camp often you should spray your tent’s zippers every few months with a non-staining, non greasy, silicone spray. If your tent zippers ever come in contact with salt water, rinse them with clean, clear water.
If you open your tent to find that it has mildew on it, take action immediately. Wipe the tent down with a damp sponge. Dip another sponge into a mildew solution that is made specifically for tent fabric and wipe down the affected area. This diluting solution will kill the mildew, but you will still be left with a mildew stain.
If you find your tent is smelly, you will need to wash the tent with a combination of one cup salt, concentrated lemon juice, and one gallon of hot water. Dip your sponge in this mixture and wipe down your tent. Make sure your tent is in a sunny area and let it air dry.
You should avoid using detergents on your tents. They will leave a residue that will make your tent less resistant to water. Never dry clean or run your tent through the washer and dryer.