How to Clean Your Tent After Camping? – Quick and Easy Tips

how to clean your tent after camping

Last updated on April 11th, 2023 at 07:09 pm

After all the fun of camping, the last thing you want to do is spend hours cleaning your tent. But if you don’t clean your tent properly, it can start to mildew and deteriorate. With a little bit of effort, you can clean your tent quickly and easily.

Dust off the outside of the tent with a soft brush. Using mild soap and water, clean the entire exterior of the tent and rinse it off with a garden hose. Open the inside and vacuum up any dirt or debris.

Using a mild soap and water solution, spot-clean any stains and rinse the soap off with a garden hose. Allow it to air dry in a sunny location before storing it in a cool, dry place. 

This is just a summary. Continue reading for more detailed instructions. 

How to Clean Your Tent after Camping?

how to clean your tent after camping

We can all agree that camping is fun, especially if you have the right gear. However, the tent is an essential piece of gear that often gets overlooked. Tents can be a pain to clean and, if not properly cared for, can become musty and start to grow mold and mildew.

You don’t want them to get to that point as it will make them harder to clean and could potentially ruin your camping trip. So, how do you keep your tent clean and in good condition? Below are a few easy steps to follow.

What You Will Need:

  • Warm water
  • Mild soap
  • A soft brush (an old toothbrush works great)
  • Towel
  • Dryer sheets (optional)

Easy Steps to Follow When Cleaning Your Camp Tent:

Step 1: Pick a Clean, Debris-Free Spot

Pitching your camping tent in a dry, level spot will help you avoid any unnecessary wear and tear. If you do end up with a little dirt on your tent, don’t worry. A little dirt isn’t going to hurt it.

Step 2: Sweep out the Tent

Use a soft brush to sweep out any debris inside the tent. Be sure to get in all the nooks and crannies. If you have a screen tent, now is also a good time to vacuum the inside of the screens. You want to remove as much dirt and debris as possible before washing the tent.

Step 3: Spot Clean Stains

If you have any stains on your tent, now is the time to treat them. You can use mild soap and warm water to spot clean any stains. Be sure to rinse the soap off so it doesn’t attract dirt later.

  • If the tent has foul odors, mold, or mildew, soak it in an enzyme cleaner as directed on the bottle. Soaking it too long will risk hydrolysis, where the fabric’s waterproof layer can break down.
  • If the tent has pine or sap residue, try to scrape it off with a blunt object. If that doesn’t work, you can use a solvent such as rubbing alcohol or WD-40. Be sure to test the solvent on a small, inconspicuous area of the tent first to ensure it doesn’t damage the fabric.

Step 4: Wash the Tent

Fill a bucket with warm water and add mild soap. Use a soft brush to scrub the entire tent. Be sure to get in all the creases and folds. Rinse the tent thoroughly with clean water to remove all the soap.

Step 5: Let the Tent Dry Completely

Once you have rinsed all the soap off, open the tent and let it air dry completely. If you are in a hurry, you can use a fan to speed up the process. If you have access to a hose, you can rinse the tent with clean water to remove any soap residue.

Step 6: Store the Tent Properly

Once your tent is completely dry, store it in a cool, dry place. If you can, store it in a breathable bag or container. You can also add a dryer sheet to the storage container to help keep the tent smelling fresh. Avoid storing your tent in direct sunlight or a humid environment.

Things to Avoid When Cleaning Your Tent

Even though cleaning a tent might seem like a simple task, there are a few things you want to avoid doing. Here are some things to avoid when cleaning your tent:

  • Don’t use a pressure washer on your tent. The high-pressure stream of water can damage the fabric.
  • Avoid using harsh cleaners or solvents on your tent. Harsh cleaners can damage the waterproof coating on the fabric, and solvents can dissolve the adhesive that holds the tent together.
  • Don’t put your tent in the dryer. The heat from the dryer can damage the fabric and cause the waterproof coating to break down.
  • Don’t store your tent wet. Storing your tent wet will create the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow.

Why Should You Clean Your Tent?

After all the fun of camping, the last thing you want to do is clean your tent. However, it’s a necessary evil if you want to keep your tent in good condition. Here are a few reasons to clean your tent after every camping trip.

Prevent Mildew and Mold

After the outdoor fun, your tent will collect a few things from the great outdoors: dirt, pollen, leaves, and twigs. All these can contribute to mold and mildew growth if allowed to sit on it for too long. Not only are mold and mildew unsightly, but they can also cause health problems if you’re allergic to them. Thus, cleaning your camping tent will ensure you get rid of these pesky growths.

Get Rid of Bad Odors

If you’ve ever camped in a tent that’s been used before, you can agree that it can be quite smelly. The combination of body odor, dirt, and the great outdoors can create an unpleasant smell that lingers long after you’ve left the campsite. Cleaning your camping tent will remove all these unwanted odors, leaving it smelling fresh and new.

Extend the Life of Your Tent

Like any other gear, your tent will eventually wear out if you don’t take care of it. Regularly cleaning your tent removes all the dirt and debris that can cause wear and tear. This will help extend the life of your tent so that you can enjoy it for many camping trips.

Guarantee an Easy Setup

The last thing you want is to waste time trying to set up a dirty tent come your next camping trip. Not only will it be harder to set up, but it will also be more difficult to take down. A clean tent will guarantee an easy setup, so you can spend more time enjoying the great outdoors.


The outdoor fun comes with the responsibility of cleaning your camping tent. Cleaning your tent after every trip will help extend its life, remove unpleasant odors, and prevent the growth of mold and mildew.

While it might be the last thing you want to do after a camping trip, taking the time to clean your tent will be worth it in the long run. Follow the steps above on cleaning a tent, and your tent will be as good as new in no time.

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