Camping Gear Articles > Tent Care and Cleaning

Tent Care and Cleaning

Tent Care

  • After each trip, set up your tent outside on a clear day and let it air out.
  • While it is up, wipe both the inside and outside thoroughly with a damp sponge.
  • Store your tent only after it is completely dry.
  • Store your tent in a cool, dry place out of sunlight. High temperatures may disrupt the coatings.

Tent Pole Care

  • DO NOT allow the shockcord to snap the pole sections together, this can damage the poles.
  • Wipe poles with damp cloth to remove any saltwater, as saltwater can cause corrosion on the poles.
  • Store your poles only after they are completely dry.

Zipper Care

  • Keep loose threads trimmed.
  • Keep free from dirt.
  • Spray periodically with a non-greasy, non-staining silicone spray designed for fabrics.
  • To prevent salt water corrosion on zipper pulls, make sure you rinse with clear water after exposure.

Mildew Cleaning Tips

A musty odor, and/or small cross-shaped spots on the tent fabric indicate mildew formation. Mildew, a fungus spore, requires a dark, warm, moist environment to grow. Mildew uses the dirt and soil found on many tents as nutrients to grow and reproduce. This fungus actually penetrates the urethane coating of the tent fabric and grows between the tent fabric and coating, eventually lifting the coating from the fabric. Waterproofness is thus lost and the fabric is eventually destroyed.

Should mildew begin to form, immediate action can be taken to retard further growth. Wash the tent as instructed above. Next, sponge-wipe the tent with a dilute solution of McNett MiraZyme. Sponge over the affected areas and allow to air dry, out of direct sunlight, without rinsing. This will kill the mildew on the tent, and prevent it from getting worse, but it will not remove the mildew marks.

My Tent Smells

If your tent has developed a bad odor it is probably due to an advanced case of mildew, which can cause the urethane coating on tent fabric to break down and start to delaminate. Because of this, washing your tent can cause the deteriorated coating to peel off completely, so proceed with caution. Sponging the tent floor is likely to be the kindest way to clean your tent. If the mildew advances and the coating begins to peel, further measures can be taken to kill the fungus and retard the process. However, the damage that has already been done cannot be reversed. Prepare the following solution after washing the tent as previously instructed:

  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 cup lemon juice (concentrated)
  • 1 gallon hot water.

Rub the solution into visible mildew. Set up the tent with the affected areas facing the sun. Allow to dry. Once dry, remove all peeling coating. Apply a coat of McNett Tent Sure to the areas where the coating has peeled. This will help restore water repellency.


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