How to Clean a Tent

Most of the time our tents don’t need cleaning. They are standing out there in the natural sunlight and breeze, which will clear them from any smells or odors they may have gotten during storage.  However, spills happen and dust storms can kick up a lot of mess for a tent.
And, well there is always that pesky tent floor that we love to track everything into.

Tent Floor

The tent floor is easy to clean with a small handheld broom or even a small vacuum to get all the sand and dirt out of the floor. This is important to do before rolling it up for storage. It allows your tent walls to remain clean without sweeping or vacuuming the dirt could get rolled into the walls of the tent and create spots or stains. If your tent floor is excessively dirty you may need to consider some soap and water for a small mopping job. This is quite common for those camping in the spring or fall.

Zipper cleaning

Your zippers are important to your tent and keeping them clean is a must. If you are camping where there is an excessive amount of sand and dirt you should consider wiping them down in a baby wipe often. You can also use mild soap and water. But be sure to dry them quickly, especially if they are made of metal. This constant grind that sand and dirt can cause wear and tear on your zippers. This can make them impossible to work when you need them too. Drying quickly will also leave the area less vulnerable to more dust and dirt sticking to them.

Clean the walls

If the walls have gotten dirty, you can certainly clean them as well. You should only use a mild soap and a hose. With a rag, gently wipe back and forth with the grain of the fabric.  This will dislodge any dirt or dust that has accumulated on the sides and roof of the tent. If there is a very heavy layer of dust, you might want to consider a soft brush off first.  This is easier done when the tent is set up.

Clean the poles and stakes of a tent

Poles and rods of the tent can be cleaned with soap and water as well. Be sure to completely dry them off before storage. This is easier to do when the tent is not set up but has been torn down and is about to go into storage. This should be done if you are camping beside the ocean as the salt in the air can corrode the poles, stakes, and zippers.

If you are looking to camp near or by an ocean you should take the salty air into consideration as it will eat away at your metal components and cause damage for you to discover on your next camping trip.

When you have cleaned the tent, you might consider respraying sealant on it. This will seal out the seams and fabric to help keep it waterproof. This will also protect it from holding onto dust and grime.


I have been camping and going outdoors for over 15 years! My first experience was when I joined the scouts. There I learned a lot. From building a campfire to set up a really big tent. Then I know this is awesome. Around 2005 I also started Geocaching. This is a lot of fun. And every time we go camping we look at the map to see if there are some nice caches around.

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