Tent camping is a great way to experience the outdoors. More often than not, tents require a substantial investment. To ensure both the appearance as well as the longevity of your tent, it is necessary to take the time to properly clean the tent both inside and out. Using a few commonly found household items, it is possible to perform a routine cleaning of your tent.
Inside the Tent
With the tent set up, begin by sweeping out any debris such as leaves, dirt, bugs and food found on the floor of the tent. Use a nylon broom with soft bristles. Take care that abrasions or deep scratches, which could cause problems later, are not made in the floor. Use a damp cloth to remove any stubborn stains on the floor or side walls. Use cold water only and avoid any type of cleaners containing bleach, as this may effect the water repellent feature of the material.
Outside the Tent
Using a garden hose, lightly wet the exterior of the tent. Use a clean cloth to wash the exterior of the tent. Heavy dirt or stains may be removed with a mild cleaner that is low in phosphorous and surfactants and contains no bleach. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions, as it may be necessary to use a specialized cleaner developed for the tent's fabric. Remember that improper cleaning could damage water-repellent fabric. Also, use only cold water. Finish by drying as much water from the tent as possible and allow it finish by air drying.
Most tents today utilize shock poles to support the tent. These poles typically consist of aluminum tubes with heavy elastic cords running through them. Inspect the shock poles and wipe away any dirt or debris. Also inspect the visible cord between the sections of tubing. Look for any excessive dirt or debris and wipe clean with a damp cloth. Use this opportunity to inspect the poles for wear and damage.