Has your tent become dirty and dusty after your previous adventure? Are you noticing any ugly stains? Or any bad odors coming out of your bag? Then your tent must need to be cleaned up. Don’t know how to do it? No worries! We have discussed every detail of how to clean a tent in this article. You won’t even need to research more after reading this article.
How to clean a tent
Follow all the steps and use them respectively to get the best output of cleaning.
1. Read the manual and labels:
First and foremost rule: read the manual and labels. Everything comes with manuals and labels, and your tent is not out of them. The first thing you have to do is find the manuals or instructions that came with your tent and read it carefully. Manual will give you instructions about what type of water, cold or warm to use, and what cleaning products you should use, as every tent’s cleaning product might not be the same.
If you can’t find the manual or might have lost it, you can browse online or check your tent’s manufacturer’s website.
2. Gather the supplies:
The next thing you should do is gather all the supplies you will need.
- Bathtub or a large tub or bowl maybe
- Cold or lukewarm water according to the instructions
- Right cleaning product
- Nonabrasive brush, sponge, or cloth.
Step 1: Pitch the tent
Pitch the tent on the clear bathtub, floor, or ground and look out for any damages thoroughly. Repair if you notice fraying, ripped, or excessive wear.
Step 2: Remove any loose dirt:
Remove any loose dirt from the tent including pine needles, leaves, cones, etc. Make sure the tent is empty before starting to clean it.
Step 3: Hose it
Hose the tent with clear water and rub it with a damp cloth or soft brush or sponge.
Step 4: Washout
Work out all the areas one by one carefully.
Step 5: Rinse
Make sure to rinse the tent thoroughly because it may sometime collect soapy water and which is difficult to get rid of. And done!
3. Adding water repellent
When the tent is still wet you can also apply water repellent on the coated fabric floor, lower sidewalls of the tent, and the rainfly.
4. Drying the tent:
To dry the tent, you can put it in the backyard or basement. The tent may take a while to dry, so don’t worry about it.
- Never use a laundry detergent
- Don’t put the tent in a washing machine especially the nylon one as the agitator can damage the fabric, special coatings, and seam tape of the tent.
- Never scrub the underside of the tent fly as it may damage or remove the polyurethane waterproof coating.
- Use Nikwax tech or non-detergent product sold at camping stores.
- Use specialized cleaner
- Clean the tent when it is pitched and taut, as it is much easier
- Hand wash the tent’s outer fabric
- Air-dry the tent completely
7. How to deodorize the tent:
Once your tent is clean, you can deodorize it using Odor Eliminator. Odor eliminator is an all-natural blend of microbes, once you mix it with water, the microbes get activated and consume any odor-causing bacteria from your tent. It does not contain harsh or hazardous ingredients that can damage your tent. It’s totally safe to use.
8. Procedure: (8 things to do)
- Fill the tub with enough water to submerge your tent.
- For strong odors add 1 oz. of the eliminator for every gallon of water and for less odor add ½ oz for every gallon of water
- Mix it well
- Unzip all the zippers and open your tent flaps.
- Soak the tent in the mixture for 5 minutes.
- Do not rinse the tent, as it will rinse the microbes away
- Do not apply heat as it may kill the microbes
- Just air dry the tent.
After the tent is fully dried you will notice that the odor is gone. One important fact is that the longer you air dry the tent, the longer the microbes can do their job.
If you notice any foul odor in your tent similar to vomit or urine present, then odor eliminator can’t do anything to that, because odor eliminator can only remove the organic odors, not the chemical reaction that caused this foul odor. These are caused by the failure of polyurethane (PU) coating. To remove that odor, follow the below steps, remember it’s a bit time-consuming.
9. Process for removing odor caused by failing PU coating:
You will need to remove the failing polyurethane coating to stop the odor
- Fill the tub with enough warm water to submerge the tent.
- Add 5 drops of liquid soap
- Submerge the tent in the water
- Soak it for 2 to 3 hours
- Remove the tent from the bath and gently scrub the PU coating with a mixture of isopropyl alcohol, water, and a couple of drops of soap.
- Put a towel nearby to soak up the excessive residue
- After removing the old PU coating, you can apply a new one using Seam Grip TF.
- Onto the tent (inside) or tent fly (underside), apply a thin film of this tent fabric sealant
- Dry it for 24 hours
- After it is dried, sprinkle it with baby or talcum powder to alleviate any initial tackiness.
This whole process is a bit tricky and time-consuming. If you can’t follow the process properly or the process does not work, then maybe it’s time to change your tent. You can check Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 tent. It is a three-season and ultralight durable tent any hikers would admire.
- Always air dry your tent after every trip
- Never store a damp or wet tent
- Allow the tent to breathe in while storing
We hope this article came handy for you and your tent is all neat and clean now. If you know any other tips, don’t forget to share it with us.