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How To Keep Your Tent Clean

by Richard White II December 07, 2018

tent cleanYou’re planning your next hiking trip, and you are already excited by the thought of getting away from the rat race. You can’t wait to explore a beautiful, scenic location—but as you start to prepare your gear, you realize that your tent is looking pretty grubby.

After a few trips, your tent will soon be covered with dirt and debris. Some people also notice that their tent is slightly moldy, especially if they don’t unpack it properly when they get home. This can make the tent smell musty, which will be pretty unpleasant for anyone who has to sleep in it.

Thankfully it is fairly easy to give your tent a good clean. Here are some useful tips to help you clean your tent.


If you want to make sure that your tent is super easy to wash in the future, make sure that you give the tent a good brush down before packing it up. Spend some time removing any dirt and leaves from the outside of the tent, and then move around the interior picking up any dirt, food, trash or rocks that have been carried in. This will make it easier to clean the tent later, and it also means that you are less likely to accidentally rip your tent as you pack it up.

Go through the storage pockets and remove anything that you find.

Before you start knocking down the tent, take a few moments to brush out the interior to remove any dirt, mud, rocks, bugs, food or trash that may have been carried in. Also, make sure that any storage pockets are empty.


Wipe down all of the poles and zippers with some soapy water.

Do a basic clean on the whole tent. Use a soft sponge with cold, soapy water. Avoid using detergent as the can damage the tent; instead, use something like hand soap as this is less harsh. However, you should invest in a non-scented soap, as a scented one may attract insects and bugs to your tent on your next camping trip.

Wipe the whole tent down, taking care around the seams.

Take some time to carefully clean away any mold or mildew, as this can grow and get bigger if you leave it. You should use an enzyme cleaner to kill the mold but apply the solution carefully as if you scrub too hard it could damage the tent.

You may also need to remove sticky tree sap from your tent. While pine sap won’t damage your tent too much, it does look messy and it feels sticky to the touch. You can use mineral oil to effectively remove pine sap.


When the tent is dry you may want to consider using a spray-on fabric treatment, as this will help to protect your tent so that it lasts for longer.

Don’t machine wash your tent, as it is very likely that the constant spinning will stretch or tear your tent, especially if it has mesh sections. The hot water can also damage the synthetic materials.

Make sure that your tent doesn’t spend too much submerged in water, as this can break down the waterproof coating.

Next time you are camping and you notice dirt on your tent, take the time to wipe it off then and there with a damp cloth. This will make it much easier to clean the tent later on!

Let us know any tips you might have, in the comments below.

Richard White II
Richard White II


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