If you want to know how to wash a tent, I will be showing you exactly how to do it inside this very article – the correct way!
Washing your tent after every use is great for the longevity of your investment. You will get more and more trips out of your tent before it completely breaks, like when it gets ruined from abrasions or something pierces through it, maybe a tear slices out the whole wall.
We don’t know how long our tent will last us, and that is why it’s best to look after it while it is in good shape. Many people don’t even worry about cleaning their tent. And in the end they are left with one that they never really got to use, resulting in a lot of money wasted.
Do Not Machine-Wash Your Tent
As counterintuitive as this may sound, it is best to NOT wash your tent in a machine.
Whether it be Nylon or Polyester material, there are other methods that you can do to clean it without damaging your investment.
If you machine wash your tent, you can actually damage the protective coating, the mesh, seam taping, and even the material.
The walls and floor of your tent will be rendered useless.
This Doesn’t Mean 100% Disaster Potential
Manufacturers put these warnings on their tents because they want you to avoid the outmost worst disaster that can happen to your new tent.
It’s basically like most warnings, there’s a small percentile chance for the damage to occur.
It may not do it in the first round, nor the second, but the more you do it, the chances that you will damage the tent will increase even more.
However, you could also damage your tent on the first wash too, which is why it’s best to avoid washing it in a machine or put chemicals and mild detergents on it in the very first place!
Even though they are designed to withstand strong winds and heavy downpours (well some can), they are no match against a stainless steel cylinder that is filled with hot, soapy water, and an agitator.
How To Wash A Tent – The Correct Way
1. Shake The Tent
Shake the tent to remove all the dirt, pine needles, forest duff, stones, etc.
Be sure to get the rain fly involved in this entire process too, because that is the material that keeps you safe from the elements of course.
2. Rinse It With A Hose
Lay your tent and fly down on the ground and rinse it off with a hose.
Do this for as long as possible, until you have taken all the loose material off of the tent and fly. Place the hose inside AND outside the tent.
3. Wipe The Tent Down
Use a cloth, a sponge, or even just a very soft brush (my favorite to use).
Focus on wiping the entire tent down, removing as much sand, dirt and vegetation as possible, everything that may have got stuck onto the material of the tent/fly while you were out camping.
If you are using the brush like I recommended, you can get into the corners much easier.
Note: Do not press hard when you are doing this step, And NEVER use mild detergents, solvents, or chemicals.
4. Rinse The Tent And Rain Fly Again
You are almost done, only a couple of steps left to do. Hose the tent and rain fly down again with water.
Focus on removing the last remains of the dirt, sand, and other forest duff that may still be lurking around inside the tent, seams and corners, and possibly the zippers too.
5. Let It Dry Thoroughly
One of the biggest dangers for a tent is actually storing it when it is wet, even a little bit of dampness can render it useless.
Mold and mildew can and will grow on your tent if you don’t let it dry out completely. It will create a nasty smell, while the coating and fabric will start peeling as a result of your simple mistake.
Hang it out and absolutely make sure that the entire tent is dry before you store it away.
Now keep in mind that the zippers, seams, and webbing will take the longest to dry. You can set it up in your backyard to help the sun get inside these little spaces and ultimately speed up the process.
My Final Thoughts
Washing your tent doesn’t have to be as difficult as many people make it out to be. And it actually isn’t, as you can clearly see in my step-by-step guide above.
To make the steps even easier, I would recommend that you do the rain fly separate from the main tent.
So wash the tent first, do your final rinsing, pitch it, and then do the exact same process with the rain fly.
When you have finished with the that, place it over the tent and let that start drying too.
Thanks for reading my article. Do you agree or disagree with my opinion on not using detergents and chemicals to wash your tent with? Let me know in the comment section below!