You just returned home from another successful camping trip. It was just marvelous. You saw loads of animals. You spent a lot of time looking up at the sky in wonder and sitting down for the sunset every night, just spectacular. The scenery was full of splendor. You had such a wonderful time that your tent got nice and dirty. Do not worry. That is the sign of a good trip. In this article, How to Clean a Camping Tent – a Tips and Advice Guide, you will learn all about how to make sure your tent is spic and span in time for the next adventure.
Prevent Dirtiness and Destruction in the First Place
Prevention goes a long way. You can do a lot to save your tent before anything bad happens to it.
1. Lay Down the Law with Your Footprint or a Tarp.
The ground you put your tent on will probably be chock-full of debris, organic matter, pine needles, rocks, and all sorts of other things. They can tear your tent bottom if you toss and turn in the night from the friction. To make sure your tent a long while, you need to get either a tarp or footprint.
If given the choice between the two, I would choose the tarp hands down. They are a lot less expensive and can be used for a wide variety of purposes besides just protecting your tent bottom. On the other hand though, the footprint will also appeal to you because it is a perfect fit for your tent’s base. You can rest assured that you will not find a better fit. But it only serves one purpose and is often expensive.
2. Park Your Tent in the Shade to Protect Against Ultraviolet Rays.
Sometimes the sun is unavoidable. If you are camping in the desert, you cannot really avoid the sun wherever you put your tent. Shade is not an option. My point is that you should maximize the shade wherever you can find it. In other words, if you are in a forest, then place your under a tree to save the fabric.
3. Leave Your Boots Outside to Keep Dirt from Coming Inside.
Dirt and crud accrues on the bottom of your boots. If you bring them inside with you, then you risk tracking all of that in with you. The only instance I recommend you bring boots inside with you is if you are in scorpion and snake territory. You do not want to get bit on your foot. If you bring them, make sure to whack both boot bottoms together for dirt to fall off.
4. Be Gentle with Your Zippers.
Zippers are hard to replace. You do not want to pull them up and down like an excited kid with a balloon at the county fair. Zippers are not meant to take that kind of beating.
5. Your Pole is not a Lightsaber.
When I was growing up with my friends, we used to battle each other with sticks, swords, and poles. It was a blast. You cannot do that with tent poles. They are not designed for the wear and tear. Make sure to move them around carefully and watch where you are going with them.
6. Keep Personal Hygiene Products and Food Outside.
Deodorant, bacon, bread, eggs, milk, toothpaste, perfume, and the like all have a scent to them. Animals follow their nose. If they catch a proper whiff, they may just rip open your tent and surprise you with an empty cooler. They like smells, rolling around in mud and dirt and enjoying themselves for a good while. Keep smelly items outside and away from your tent to ensure the longevity of your portable home.
7. A Good Dog Knows its Place.
In short, do not leave your dog unsupervised in a tent. A scared dog can tear apart a tent in fear and in the attempt to get outside and find you. Then you will be back off to the store on the search for a new tent. Your tent is not a kennel.
If you care about your best friend, then I suggest you check out one of my previous articles, Dog Camping and Hiking Supplies – Preparing Your Pet for the Wild. It will give you ideas for loads of different gear you need to make sure your dog has a splendid adventure outside. You will be sure to want him or her to enjoy the outdoors as much as you.
How to Wash and Clean Your Tent to Perfection in 7 Steps
To clean your tent to a spectacular shine, you need hot water, a tent specific wash (like Nikwax Tech Wash), a non-abrasive sponge, and a towel you don’t particularly care about.
If you are like me and cannot afford Nikwax but have plenty of hand soap lying around, you can use a hand soap. Do not use any other kind of soap besides the Nikwash Tech Wash or hand soap because any other kind will damage your tent. They are often perfumed which can attract bugs and critters when camping. They will also hamper the water repellent coating.
1. Shake Out Your Tent to Remove as Much Dirt and Grime as Possible.
Before anything else, you should remove everything you can before getting your tent wet. It goes a long way. If you are not washing your tent, then you should take this step and then put your tent in storage. It helps to use a broom and dustpan.
2. Do Not Throw Your Tent in the Washing Machine.
A washing machine can tear apart your tent. The big spinner in many washing machines can rip your tent to shreds and then you will be back at the store on the search for a new tent. If you end up using a washing machine, only use an over sized, front loading washer with cold water, an easy going soap, and a slow setting. There is no giant spinner in the center, so your tent is much better protected.
3. Head to a Bath Tub, Shower, or Backyard to Wet Your Tent.
One of these places can take a lot of soapy water, giving you the space to really let your tent expand outwards. Make sure to use soapy water.
4. Apply the Nikwax Tech Wash.
If you are using this tech wash, just use water and then apply the tech wash. You do not need any soap, only the tech wash and water. Since Nikwax Tech Wash is specifically designed for outdoor gear, then you can rest assured that the product will do a splendid job cleaning your tent. Many people use it and rely on it. The product is environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and water based. You can put your chips on it.
5. Rinse Your Tent Thoroughly.
You rinse thoroughly to prevent soap stains and to make sure your tent is only dealing with water in storage, not some dastardly combination of an abomination. If you have ever taken a shower before, then cleaning your tent is basically the steps we are following, but for your tent.
6. Grab Your Towel and Pat Dry as Much as You Can.
When you pat the tent down dry as much as you can, you are speeding up the drying process. It shortens the amount of time you keep your tent outside to dry.
7. Hang Up Your Tent in the Shade until it is as Dry as Death Valley.
Before you put your tent in storage, you need everything bone dry. This prevents mildew and all sorts of wet loving bacteria from sprouting up onto the tent. Also, make sure you dry your tent in a place with no sun. We want to minimize the UV rays your tent encounters. Your tent is not as sensitive as a wet suit to the sun’s rays, but the sun still affects your tent, no matter how good the craftsmanship.
How Do I Clean and Take Care of My Poles?
You will need a dry cloth to remove as much grime and dirt as you can. Also, unless you have some special waterproof poles so stated by the manufacturer, then water will reduce the longevity of your tent poles.
What about the Zippers?
Give them a quick dip in the water. This removes the dirt and grime on the teeth to make sure they zip up nice and quick.
How Often Should I Wash My Tent?
I recommend every one to two years, but it also depends on how often you use your tent. If you go camping or backpacking quite often, then you may need to clean your tent every six months. It all depends on the level of dirtiness.
Time to Reseal Seams and Apply Waterproof Coatings
Before we start repairing and bringing your tent back up to brand new, you need to make sure your tent is dry before waterproofing and resealing. It is no use to try to repair your tent when it is soaking wet.
To repair the seams on your tent, you can buy two products, seam tape and seam sealer. The latter is basically a lubricant you apply with a brush. If you see failing seam tape on your tent, remove it carefully. You do not want to tear off any tent fabric.
Waterproofing coatings are meant to heal up the waterproof aspects of your tent.
When looking at seam tape, seam sealer, and waterproof coatings, make sure to get the correct product for your tent’s fabric and coatings. Not all tents are the same and each manufacturer recommends a different product to fix your tent up. One differs from the other.
What Do I Do with My Spic and Span Tent?
Great! You are almost done and ready to enjoy home life again after a spectacular journey outdoors.
Make sure your tent is 100% dry before throwing it in storage. Mildew ruins a good tent. You can towel down any spots you see if need be. On a similar note, make sure you store your tent in a cool, dry place. A wet, humid attic, garage, or storage container can ruin all the hard work you just put into your tent.
Are You Going to Get Outside this Week?
Well, you should be all set to go. You can kick back on the couch and watch some television. The nature channel sounds nice. It would be splendid to watch lions chase zebra up and down the savannah in pursuit of their next meal. I do have a request before you go off elsewhere though. I ask you to plan out a hike for the coming weekend. AllTrails.com is my go to source of hiking trails near me. With the site, I go on weekly hikes. There is bound to be a trail you haven’t explored near you. So what do you say? Are you going to get outside this week?
If you have any thoughts, questions, or think I missed anything, do not hesitate to comment below and please share the article. Thank you so much and I hope you make it a great day!