how to clean backpacking tent

How to Clean a Backpacking Tent?

It is almost certain that your backpacking tent will get messy and dirty after a day of good adventurous trekking and camping. Like your home, your backpacking tent also needs proper cleaning. It needs to be free of dust, insects and all other things which can make the tent dirty.

Keeping your backpacking tent clean is equally important. It will keep the fabric of the tent preserved for a long time. Therefore you must clean your tent and its gear on a timely basis. So, how to clean your backpacking tent?

Things required to clean the backpacking tent:

  1. Brush, sponge or rag
  2. Bucket
  3. Lukewarm Water
  4. Mild Soap
  5. A spacious place to clean the tent

Once you have got the things required to clean the backpacking tent, I recommended you to follow the below steps to clean the backpack tent:

1. Site Selection & Shaking Dirt & Debris Out:

Before cleaning your backpacking tent, you will need a spacious place to do it. You can do it on the lawn, garage or backyard of your house. You can choose any of these areas as long as you don’t mind making the area dirty and wet.

Once you have selected the site for cleaning the tent, the first thing you need to do is to set up the tent and make sure the tent is standing free. Next, shake the dust and debris off the fabric. It is easier to get rid of dust and debris off the fabric if the tent is standing free. Even the poles are easier to clean of a free standing tent.

Next, search if there is any wear and tear the tent might have sustained during camping. Abrasions in a tent are generally caused because when the tent is not set up properly or due to some external factors. If there are any tears, make sure to sew them up else it can increase and make tent useless.

2. Perform Dusting & Scrubbing:

After shaking, most of the dirt and debris comes off the tent. But still, there would be some dust and dirt which gets stuck to the fabric. They need to be manually scrubbed out using a rag or a sponge. Make sure to scrub inside and outside with a sponge or a brush. It will help to remove dirt and dust before cleaning it with water.

3. Clean the Zippers:

Make sure you clean the zippers of the tent properly. Initially, use a brush to remove the dirt and dust stuck in the zipper of the backpacking tent. There are also some lubricants available in the market to clean the zipper and make it work smoothly. They can also be used for cleaning the zippers.

If the zippers are clean and smooth, there won’t be any issues while opening the tent every time. If the zippers are dirty, they can get stuck and will for sure create some issues while camping.

4. Wash with Water and Soap:

Next, take a bucket full of lukewarm water. Add soap to the water to make it foamy. Make sure the soap is mild, else it may damage the tent fabric. It’s best to use the soap which is well-suited to the tent fabric.

Now, wash the tent both inside and outside with the sponge by dipping into the soap and water solution. Squeeze the cloth or sponge well before cleaning the tent. Make sure to apply the solution to every part of the tent both inside and outside.

Now, wipe the soap solution applied inside the tent with a clean sponge or rag. Make sure that the inside of the tent is cleaned properly. If the soap solution is not rinsed off properly, you might have to put up with odour while using the tent. Next, close all the door and vents of the tent and spray the water using a hose to clean the outer surface. If you don’t have a hose, wipe the outer surface the same way, you did for the interior side of the tent.

5. Clean the Stakes & Poles:

Once the cleaning of tent fabric is over, don’t forget to clean the stakes and poles of the tent. It can be done using a soft and dry cloth or sponge while disassembling the tent.

6. Dry the tent completely before storing:

Letting the tent dry up completely is essential before storing it. There should not be any moisture content remaining in the tent fabric while storing. The moisture can damage the fabric and make it weak.

If you follow the steps I have mentioned above, you can easily clean your dirty backpacking tent. But it is not always necessary to clean the tents completely. Just take proper care of your backpacking tent in the ways mentioned below and you won’t have the hassle to clean it regularly.

Tent Care Tips:

1. Clean Before Storing:

Make sure that your tent is clean before storing it. Dust and dirt can cause abrasion which will end up tearing your tent fabric. The rubbing of dust and dirt often ends up creating holes in the tent fabric. So make sure there is no dirt or dust on the fabric before rolling it for storage.

2. Dry your Tent before Packing it up:

Make sure that your tent has dried up completely before packing it up for storage. Even if there is the smallest amount of moisture, dry it out. If drying it naturally seems to take a lot of time, then use a table or ceiling fan.

Even the smallest amount of moisture might allow mildew to grow on the tent fabric. The mildew next will convert into the stain and cause unpleasant odour inside the tent. It also makes the tent fabric weaker. Hence, make sure that the tent is completely dried before storing it.

3. Store the tent in Dry & Cool Place:

While storing the tent after usage, make sure the place is dry and cold. Do not store it in a place where there is much moisture or heat. The heat and moisture can possibly damage the tent fabric. Hence, store the tent in an area devoid of moisture and heat.

4. Do not Roll up Tent Poles & Stakes and Fabric together:

Keep in mind that while rolling up the tent, stakes and poles should be separate from the fabric. Stakes and poles are pointed metals and plastic materials which can potentially tear and damage the fabric.

So remember while rolling up the tent, you have to start from the middle and separate fabric from the stakes and poles.

5. Do not Machine Wash Tent Fabric:

While cleaning the tent, make use of a soft brush, sponge or a rag. Do not use a detergent soap or liquid for washing the tent fabric. Wash your tent manually with the help of sponge or rag using mild soap.

Machine wash is not good for the tent fabric. They can make the fabric weak and affect the durability of the tent. Even normal detergents should not be used for cleaning tents. They come with various perfumes and can attract bug and mice.

Final Words

Follow the steps and procedures I have laid out for you above to keep your tent neat and clean. Hope this article helped you. If you have any suggestion or comments, kindly drop them in comment box below. We love to read feedbacks from our viewers.

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