How To Clean A Tent: Step-By-Step Guide

Rilor Staff
Update: April 12, 2021
Table of Contents

How to clean a tent?

Whether it's for a camping trip, festival, or if you just want a nice change of scenery for the night, a tent is a must-have item for any outdoor enthusiast. Not only do they provide protection from drenching rains and winds, but they also give you a roof over your head while you're sleeping under the stars.

Tents are essential for every outdoor enthusiast. Hence, it is important that we can take care of them. 

One of the proper maintenance that you need to implement is regular cleaning. Over time, you will see stains and dirt draping on the surface of the tent's fabrics. You might also notice unusual odors that are not originally there. You can deal with these issues by proper cleaning. 

How To Clean A Tent?

One should realize that cleaning a tent is a mandatory requirement. It is not optional. In fact, you should clean your tent every after you use it, especially if you came from a muddy terrain or area with unfavorable weather and conditions. 

Cleaning your tent helps you preserve its quality. Moreover, it allows the shelter to be extra livable.

What You Need:

  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Gear or tent cleaner
  • Clean cloth and sponge (non-abrasive)
  • Tub

Step-By-Step Cleaning Of Tents

1. Take your tent in a large tub. Next, use a clean sponge or cloth filled with dish soap. Use the cloth or sponge in spot-cleaning areas that have noticeable dirt and stains. Do this process as rigidly as possible to ensure that you will not miss any blemish. 

2. After you have dealt with all the stains in the fabrics of your tent, you can already fill the tub with lukewarm water. Cold water also works. 

3. Once the tub is filled with water, take your tent/gear cleaner and pour it. Make sure that you follow the instructions in the cleaner so that you can use it properly. Overly using these commercial cleaners might damage your tent's materials. 

4.Unzip open the tent's doors so that you can unfurl it from the inside. 

5. Soka the tent (including its rainfly) to the tub filled with tent cleaner. Let it soak there for a couple of minutes. Alternatively, you can follow the cleaner's instructions when it comes to the time that is needed for the tent to be drenched. 

6. After soaking, you can already drain the water in the tub. Fill it with clean water. You should repeat this procedure to ensure that the soap and cleaner will be rinsed off from the tent. 

7. You can dry the tent naturally. Simply hang it in a shaded place and wait until it becomes dry. 

Step-By-Step Deep-Cleaning Of Tents

Climbing into a tent and falling asleep is usually a sign of a great day spent outdoors, but all that dirt and dust you tracked into your tent can lead to some less-than-ideal sleeping conditions. 

If you want to make sure you are getting the best night's sleep possible, it's time to deep clean your tent. It's not as bad as it sounds—you just need to do a thorough rinse of your tent, so you don't wake up with a gritty mouth and itchy eyes.

For tents riddles with bad odor, mildew, or mold growth

Your tent is not impervious to the elements. Moisture can seep in, causing mildew and mold to form. They can cause deterioration in the tent. Moreover, they cause a foul smell, too. To deal with these problems, you should get enzyme cleaners. Pick a commercial cleaner and use it according to its directions. Don't soak the tent to these cleaners for long periods. After all, it can cause hydrolysis. The latter is a chemical process that ruins the waterproof applications of the tent. 

For tents with pine saps

Pine saps are ubiquitously annoying. Fortunately, you can always remove them from your tent. The only thing you need to do is to spot-clean your tent with the use of mineral oil. However, I recommend that you don't scrub rigidly. If you don't have mineral oil, you can use wet wipes, sanitizers, or any alcohol-based applications. Rinse the tent thoroughly after all of the pine sap is removed. 

For tents with dysfunctioning zippers

Tents are supposed to protect you from the elements when you're outdoors. If the zipper of your tent is not functioning properly, it might fail to live up to its promise. In all weather conditions, a properly working zipper is the difference between a night of restful sleep and a sleepless night out in the wilderness.

The problem might be caused by dust, sand, or mud that is stuck in the teeth of the zipper. You can take them out by using a toothbrush. Use the brush to scrub the elements away from your zipper. If the dirt is clasping the teeth tightly, rinse the zippers in the water while brushing it. 

For dirty poles and stakes 

You only need to wipe them with a clean rag soaked in water or cleaner. 


Camping tents are designed to keep you dry from the rain. They also have ground coverings to keep you warm and comfortable. In fact, other tent variants have separate rooms that you can use for cooking and other activities. 

Despite the given rigidity and functionality of tents, it does not mean that you can ignore cleaning them. You will have to clean your tent and take proper care of it in order to avoid damage and ensure that it lasts.

Learning how to clean a tent is an essential skill for an outdoor enthusiast. It helps you maintain the structural integrity of your tent, which effectively prevents you from replacing your tent prematurely.

I hope that you find this guide useful. For other inquiries, feel free to ask me in the comment section below.

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