The tent is your best adventure companion when you want to stay overnight under the stars. And it doesn’t matter if you are camping , in your garden or in the middle of the desert: your tent, at that moment, is your home. You must therefore always keep it clean, just like you do at home. Here we tell you 12 tips of how to clean a tent with the complete guide.
If you neglect it, you risk significantly shortening its life and therefore you have to throw it away to buy another one.
And remember, when you find yourself having to deal with some unpleasant odor, trust your nose: no one, better than him, can make you understand which path is better to follow.
Tips to Clean Your Camping Tent
1. Do not Put it in the Washing Machine
It must be admitted that the temptation is strong. But if you find your muddy curtain in your hands and, in front of the washing machine, a thought like “Who knows if…” comes to mind, well, reset it immediately.
Of course, the washing machine is comfortable, practical and allows you to significantly speed up cleaning times , without any effort. But inserting your precious “little house” in the appliance means risking destroying it.
A washing machine can tear fabric apart and deform it completely.
2. The Most Effective Method: Elbow Grease!
The best way to clean the curtain is to roll up your sleeves and do it by hand. Before embarking on this job, it is good to do some preliminary operations to make your life easier.
Remove any dirt , rocks or other debris. If you closed it in the wet when it was time to take it apart to go home, be sure to put it back in the sun as soon as possible so it can dry.
3. Put the Tent Back
When it comes time to clean the tent, put it back as if you were in a camping area or hang it in a well-ventilated place, to simplify every operation.
4. What to Use
Once your camping tent is dry and sets up as if you were camping, you can group together the tools you need to begin the cleaning process.
Among the things that you must always keep on hand, a non-abrasive cloth for washing, a brush with soft bristles, a bucket, soap and plenty of cold water must not be missing.
5. What not to Use
There is always a right and a wrong tool for every type of job. In the case of the tent, using the wrong tool can ruin it forever.
So avoid using hard brushes, as well as dish soap, bleach and pre-wash products. Likewise, don’t make use of
scented soaps , because you risk attracting unwanted guests on your next camping holiday.
6. Start from the Inside
After you have gathered the necessary tools, fill the bucket with soap and cold water. Then take the cloth and start removing the dirt from the inside. Gently rub all surfaces, paying particular attention to delicate parts, such as the fly.
Once you are done, take the soft brush and go into each corner of the cavity inside the tent. You can also use the brush to remove any stains.
When you have finished cleaning the inside, exit the tent and follow the same steps to clean the outside.
7. How to Remove the Resin
If you’ve just returned from a trip to the wilderness, you may find pine resin on your backpack tent . Try removing it with a few drops of mineral oil and a sponge. After removing the lymph, wash the affected areas with warm water.
If you have trouble finding mineral oil, you can use acetone or denatured alcohol instead. Before using any product, it is a good idea to test it on a small hidden area, so as not to run the risk of damaging the curtain. Better to be safe than sorry!
8. Remove Mold too
To understand if you need to get rid of any mold, remember to always trust your nose. An unpleasant odor is usually a sign that mold microorganisms have started to grow and need to be removed ASAP.
If it is a serious problem, then the growth will be evident.
Black mold can permanently damage fabric and leave a stain. For this reason, it is important not to overlook this step.
In most cases, warm water and soap will suffice. There are other homemade methods as well, such as using white vinegar and water. You can also make a solution with a cup of salt, concentrated lemon juice, and a quart of warm water.
If, despite this, the mold persists, you can use your soft brush again to apply a specific cleaning solution to the desired point, designed to clean the fabrics without damaging them. By doing this, there is less chance that product residues will remain at the end of the cleaning.
Furthermore, an ad hoc product does not reduce the effectiveness of the water repellency of the fabrics
9. And Now, Use your Nose!
After removing the dirt, stains, resin and mold, it’s time to use… your nose! If there is an unpleasant odor, you will probably need to use a product specifically designed for this purpose.
The use is very simple: just immerse the curtain in a bathtub with the solution dissolved in the water. Before proceeding, it is important to read the instructions for use carefully. If you leave the tent in the tub longer than the recommended time, the waterproof polyurethane coating could be damaged.
On the market you can find several products of this type. To choose the one that best suits your needs, check how much time is required for soaking and if more washes are needed or just one application is enough. Also make sure it’s biodegradable and doesn’t harm the ecosystem.
You can also opt for a DIY remedy: try applying a homemade solution made with half a cup of white vinegar diluted in a cup of water. If you want to avoid a prolonged cleaning treatment, you can simply step out of the tent and spray a bottle of air freshener.
10. If Nothing Works
If after all this cleaning your tent still smells bad, then you probably have a different problem, which no remedy can solve: it is probably due to the polyurethane coating. To fix this you will need to remove the old polyurethane coating and apply a new one.
Here are the steps you need to follow. Fill the tub with warm water, adding a few drops of liquid soap
Leave the tent to soak for about three hours. Then, take it out of the tub and start scrubbing the polyurethane liner with a mixture of isopropyl alcohol, water, and a little soap. Once it comes off, apply a new polyurethane coating using a curtain sealer. Let it dry for a day.
11. Check the Seams
If you are replacing the polyurethane coating, take the opportunity to also check the tightness of the waterproof seams. If there are seams in the tent that are leaking, you can re-seal them with a waterproof sealant.
Not all seams need to be sealed, only those that are exposed to rain or runoff.
12. Increase UV Protection
In addition to optimizing the waterproofing of your tent, you can also improve the UV protection of your tent. Fabric exposed to high levels of UV rays often becomes dry and brittle like paper. This will make it more prone to tears and tears, compromising the use of the tent.
Here’s how you can improve the protection of your tent these environmental elements. Take some spray sun treatment and apply it to the outside areas of the facility. Combined with periodic and thorough cleaning, this can greatly increase the life of your awning.
How to store the Tent Correctly
Storing the tent in an orderly and clean way is allowed so as not to have to spend hours and hours trying to get it back to its original splendor. Here’s how to do it.
Thoroughly clean the curtain before rolling it up. Make sure it’s completely dry. Then, you can pack it last, leaving it in the sun as much as possible.
Once at home, proceed with the usual cleaning. When finished, when it’s completely dry, place it in a large storage case and leave it in a cool, dry place along with all your camping gear. Avoid storing it near a heat source, which can compromise the waterproofness of the fabric. Always check that the poles and stakes placed near the tent do not damage the structure.