Dos and don’ts of washing a tent
5step guide to washing tents
Set up the tent and remove loose dirt and debris using a soft-bristled brush or a clean cloth. If necessary, use a mild detergent and cool or lukewarm water to spot clean any stains or areas of heavy dirt buildup.
Fill a large tub or bathtub with cool or lukewarm water. Add a mild, non-detergent soap to the water and mix it in. Make sure the soap is specifically designed for washing tents, as regular laundry detergent can damage the tent’s fabric or waterproof coating.
Gently submerge the tent in the soapy water, making sure it is completely wet. Use a soft sponge or cloth to gently scrub the tent, paying extra attention to any areas with stains or dirt buildup. Be careful not to scrub too aggressively or use a hard-bristled brush, as this can damage the tent’s fabric or coating.
Rinse the tent thoroughly with cool or lukewarm water, making sure to remove all soap residue. It’s important to rinse the tent well, as any leftover soap can damage the fabric or coating over time.
Hang the tent up to air dry in a shaded, well-ventilated area. Avoid direct sunlight or high heat, as this can damage the fabric or coating. Once the tent is completely dry, apply a waterproofing spray or sealant to restore the tent’s waterproof coating. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
Can you wash a tent in the washing machine?
While it is technically possible to wash a tent in a washing machine, doing so is generally not recommended. Most tent manufacturers advise against machine washing, as the agitation and detergents can cause damage to the tent’s fabric, seams, waterproof coatings, and other components. Instead, it is best to clean your tent by hand using mild soap and water.
Can I use regular laundry detergent to wash my tent?
No, it is not recommended to use regular laundry detergent as it may contain harsh chemicals that can damage the tent’s fabric, waterproof coatings, and seams. Use a mild, non-detergent soap instead.
Can I dry my tent in a clothes dryer?
No, do not use a clothes dryer to dry your tent. The heat and tumbling action can cause damage to the tent’s fabric and other components. Instead, let it air dry completely, ideally in a shaded area to avoid prolonged UV exposure.
How do I remove mildew or mold from my tent?
If you discover mildew or mold on your tent, mix a solution of one part white vinegar to ten parts water, and use a soft sponge or cloth to gently clean the affected area. Rinse the tent thoroughly with clean water and allow it to air dry completely. To prevent mildew and mold, always make sure your tent is completely dry before packing it away.
Can I use a pressure washer to clean my tent?
It is not recommended to use a pressure washer, as the high-pressure water stream can damage the tent fabric, waterproof coatings, and seams. Stick to hand washing with mild soap and water to clean your tent safely.
How can I remove sap or sticky residue from my tent?
To remove sap or sticky residue, try rubbing a small amount of rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer on the affected area with a soft cloth. Rinse the area with clean water and let it air dry. Test a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure the alcohol won’t damage your tent’s fabric or coatings.
READ NEXT: Can you wash the inside of a tent?