How to Clean a Camping Tent
After a weekend in nature, it's no surprise to come home with a dusty, grimy tent. But if it is too dirty, you may start to notice ugly stains, bad smells or zippers that don't work as well as they used to.
Cleaning the tents can solve these problems, and it's not hard to do.
Here are the basic steps:
- Collect equipment/supplies: you may need to prepare cold to lukewarm water, mild fragrance-free dish soap, cleaner designed specifically for outdoor gear and clothing, nonabrasive sponge or cloth, bathtub or other large tubs.
- Clean and soak: first clean the dirty areas on-site, then soak the tent in foamy water. To handle very dirty work, follow our deep cleaning tips.
- Wash and dry: be sure to clean your tent thoroughly and dry completely before storing it.
Here’s a light-cleaning of the dirty tent:
- Clean with soap on the spot: gently clean any particularly dirty areas with a rag or sponge and a small amount of mild detergent.
- Get the tub ready: pour cold or warm water into the tub and add the tent cleaning products. Follow the instructions on the bottle to see how much detergent to use
- Get the tent ready: unzip it and turn it over.
- Soak your tent: soak the tent and rain fly in the tub. Also, follow the directions on the cleaning bottle to see how long to let your tent soak.
- Rinse thoroughly: drain the tub and fill it with clean water. You may have to do this a few times to get the soap off your tent.
- Dry completely: set up your tent or hang it in a cool place until completely dry. When the tent is completely dry, you can store it (loosely) in a cool, dry place such as an indoor room or well-ventilated garage.
Do a Deep-Cleaning of the tent:
- If your tent has mold, mold, or odors, use an enzyme cleaner such as MiraZyme™. Follow the instructions carefully, especially for how long to soak the tent. If the tent is allowed to soak for longer than the required time, there is a risk of hydrolysis as the water begins to break down the waterproof polyurethane coating.
- If you have pine SAP in your tent, wipe it off with mineral oil, but be careful not to over-scrub. You can also try alcohol-based products such as hand sanitizer or wet wipes to remove the sap. Be sure to rinse thoroughly with water once the sap is removed.
- If the zipper doesn't run smoothly, use a toothbrush to brush away any sand, dirt, mud or brine residue trapped in the zipper's teeth. For stubborn dirt, rinse the zipper with water and then brush.
- For dirty, dusty, sandy or salty poles, clean them with a rag.
- Consider refreshing the waterproof coating. If your tent doesn't keep out the rain as it used to, you can renew the coating.
If needed, MIER has replacement spare parts and repair kits.