A big part of keeping a tent clean is preventing it from getting dirty in the first place.  Obviously, the most important thing is to keep it in its storage bag so that it won’t gather dust. Most importantly, keep it dry!

Here are a few less obvious tips to keep a clean tent:
If you know you’ll be in a muddy or dirty camping area, bring a tarp to lay down beneath the tent. That way if the ground gets wet you won’t end up with a lovely brown mud layer along the bottom. Extra bonus, there’s less of a chance of dirty water getting absorbed into the inside of the tent; though, for heavy rain be careful because it could collect around the edges at the bottom.

Don’t wear your shoes inside the tent. Avoid eating and drinking substances that stain easily (such as wine) inside as well.

When packing your tent, take special care that it is dry! This is very important because any moisture locked in your tent for a prolonged period of time could cause mildew and eventually mold that eats through the tent, ruining it permanently.

Post-Use Clean Up
If the area you camp in is sandy, it’s likely you will have another whole beach inside there. Best thing to do is take apart the tent and turn it inside out to shake it out. If the sand is a little wet and therefore sticky, take a damp paper towel or your beach towel and wipe off the excess sand. Otherwise wait till it dries and shake it out again.

Wash up dirt spots immediately before they dry. Use a soft sponge or a small, old bath towel and none-perfumed soap. Perfumed soap may attract bugs. Make sure the tent is set up so that it’s taut and you can see all the dirty spots. Using the dampened, soapy towel or sponge, scrub away the dirty spots or the whole floor if you feel the need.

For accidental spills or gum that gets stuck inside don’t wait to clean it so it doesn’t end up on 3 corners of the wall in your tent! Get rid of it immediately with any sticky-mess remover product like Goo Gone. Check your tent label and product label to make sure it’s compatible and won’t stain. For wine, coffee or other spills, try Oxiclean.

Remember, your tent must be dry after cleaning before you put it away! All your cleaning efforts will be null if mildew forms and destroys the tent while in storage.

Photo: Thomas Edwards

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