The best tips for cleaning and caring for your tent

Tents are wear and tear items. Nevertheless, it makes sense to properly care for the tent in order to extend its lifespan. If you take good care of your tent, you will enjoy it much longer and you can still spend many camping holidays in it. We explain what is important and what you have to pay attention to.

Even high-quality camping tents wear out over time. Rain, strong sunlight and dirt put a strain on the materials. This can cause cracks and leaks in the tent. The good news is even if you use a tent intensively, you can significantly extend its life expectancy with the right care. Most of the time, a few simple measures that we will show you now are sufficient.

Extend the life of the tent with a tent floor

The tent floor is a particularly sensitive part of the tent as it is constantly under pressure. It is therefore worth buying an additional tent floor, which protects the floor of the tent from damage from sharp stones and branches on the floor. In addition, the appropriate padding provides better protection for the equipment stowed in the apse. With many tents, an additional floor is not included in the purchase price, but can be purchased. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it because it also gives you additional protection against moisture on the floor.

Before you buy, think about where the tent should be used and whether an additional tent floor makes sense. You may be investing more money when buying, but you may save on maintenance, tent repairs and new purchases.

Carefully clean the tent

You should always care for your tent by hand and never just stuff it in the washing machine. The rotating movements of the drum rub off the coating of the tent, and the material is also very heavily used and cracks and burst seams can occur.

 It is best to clean the tent completely after every tour.

Dry the tent

After the camping trip, you have to dry the tent first if it is still damp from condensation or rain. To do this, separate the inner and outer tents and open the zippers. One possibility is to spread out the outer tent and inner tent over a large area to dry. Alternatively, you can hang them on a line and wait overnight until everything is completely dry. Then it goes to cleaning.

Clean the inner tent and outer tent

Sand, salt and dirt scrub the tent coating. In the first step, you should therefore shake out the inner tent thoroughly. Sweeping out with a broom is not recommended as this could damage the coating.

To clean off coarse dirt, use lukewarm water with soapy water with soft detergent, a soft cloth, or a soft brush.

There are also special tent cleaners available in stores that can be used specifically for tent maintenance. Under no circumstances use harsh cleaners or plasticizers, as these damage the tent material.

When cleaning, pay particular attention to the corners of the tent. That’s where dirt tends to collect.

Don’t use too much pressure when cleaning as this can damage the coating.

There are anti-mold sprays for minor stick or mold stains that are effective but not particularly environmentally friendly.

Store the tent in a dry place

After careful cleaning, you will need to completely dry the tent again. This is extremely important as mold can form on damp fabrics. Only when the tent is completely dry can it be put back in the packing bag. Loose packaging is ideal, as this will prevent the formation of mold stains, mold and a musty smell. Good places for storage are cool and dry, such as insulated basements or living areas that are not excessively heated.

Always keep cotton tents in a cotton sack , not in a plastic bag. Only a cotton bag guarantees adequate ventilation of the tent.

Tent cleaning: Remove dirt from tent accessories

It’s not just the inner and outer tents that need to be cleaned. Under no circumstances should you forget the accessories when taking care of them. Tent cleaning includes: tent pegs, poles, fabric, tent pads, guy ropes.

When using the tent, the pegs are often anchored in the damp ground. The cleaning must be carried out particularly thoroughly here. Otherwise dirt and moisture get into the packing bag.

Repairing broken tents

Even with good care, the tent can be damaged or leg annoyed. In many cases, however, you can repair them yourself.

 The poles of the tent should also be cleaned regularly.

Small cracks in the outer tent

With glue and special repair kits, you can easily fix small damage and cracks on the tent (up to approx. 3cm) yourself. As a rule, you stick a strip over the damaged area, like a plaster, and then seal it. In the case of major damage, such as wide cracks in the tent, a repair by a specialist is recommended. Also pay attention to the dealer’s warranty and services. In the event of material or processing errors, these will take effect.

Tent care for leaky seams

If you have been using the tent for a long time, the seams can leak. This allows water to get inside the tent. To prevent this, you first set up the tent and then apply a thin layer of seam sealant to the outside of the leaky seams. Then let the tent dry for 24 hours – after that it is completely waterproof again.

To check whether your tent is still waterproof, set it up and use a garden hose or a watering can. Then splash water on the outer tent for a few minutes. If water droplets penetrate or small puddles form inside, you need to re-seal.

 With good care, you will enjoy your tent for a long time.

Re waterproofing of tents as tent maintenance

Another measure to extend the life of your tent is to re-waterproofit. After all, who likes to sit in the rain on the campsite? Using seam sealer to waterproof your tent increases the UV protection and the beading effect of the tent fabric. Well-coated fabric does not absorb liquid as quickly and requires significantly less time to dry. This is particularly helpful on trekking tours when the tent has to be dismantled and stowed away the next morning.

This is essential for cotton tents and those made from cotton blended fabrics (TC). Note the type of coating on your tent – you need different coating agents for PU and SI. A good waterproofing spray is usually sufficient to re-waterproof your tent. The tent should first be cleaned with clear water, dried and then set up outdoors. Allow time to dry even after coating.

Tent care for zippers

Zippers are particularly sensitive. Above all, dirt particles, but also excessive tensioning, are the main enemies of the zipper. The best way to clean the zipper is to use a toothbrush to remove sand and dirt. It also helps to occasionally apply silicone spray to make the zippers pliable again.

In order not to overstress the zipper, you should also check the tension of the tent when setting up. If this is exhausted, correct the guy ropes and take some tension off. If a piece of tent fabric is caught in the zipper, you should remove it carefully and without force. Hold the tent fabric with one hand and slowly pull the slider back until the piece loosens.

Check out The best practical tips for easy tent construction


Tent maintenance is not magic. Above all, it is important that you take care of the tent regularly, i.e. after every camping trip. Be careful when cleaning and always let the tent dry out completely before putting it back for storage. If you take this to heart and consider the above-mentioned tips on tent maintenance, you will enjoy your tent for a very long time and your next stay at the campsite will be a real pleasure.

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