Washing a Tent

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Washing a Tent

Postby Mary K » Fri Oct 05, 2007 11:34 pm

Can I put my old Tent in th washer? It's kid of stinky. Been sitting in the bag for 2 years in a box in a Non A/C'ed utility room. Or should I just hang on a line to air out?

Thanks

MK
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Postby SteveH » Sat Oct 06, 2007 6:35 am

Don't know if I'd wash it...it may remove the water repellant properties. I would just set it up in the back yard and let it air, but that is just my opinion.
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Postby jimqpublic » Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:42 am

I set them up in the yard and hose off well inside and out. Any spots that look a bit dirty I use a sponge and liquid detergent. For a canvas tent you should be careful about using detergent because it reduces surface tension of water and might lead to leaks. For coated nylon or polyester I don't see a problem.

Then rinse well, work the water out of the inside and let it dry while still set up. After that I take it down and drape it upside down over sawhorses in the garage so that the bottom can dry and the rest can become 100% dry. Also I'll leave the poles out a few days after pulling them apart so the shock cords and inside can dry out.
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Postby Gaelen » Sat Oct 06, 2007 11:39 am

MaryK, what Jim said.
I have a tent I use only once or twice a year to house dogs and crates at certain shows. When I bring it home (should be doing it this weekend, but...NOT!) I set it up and clean it out, let it air for the entire day and then roll it up.

The next year, before I'm ready to use it, I set it up. I hose it off, check for leaks and mark them, let it air and sun dry, seal the leaks and roll it up to take camping. When it's not in use, it lives in my truck bed or in the upstairs bedroom, and it doesn't smell musty at all.

No washing machines though, whether it's nylon or canvas.
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Postby halfdome, Danny » Sat Oct 06, 2007 1:59 pm

MaryK, I put my nylon screened sun room in the washer and it did just fine but then my washer is one of the front loading kind that are easy on clothes. I still had to set it up in the driveway and hose off debris that didn't go down the drain & let it air/sun dry. :) Danny
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Postby jeepr » Sun Oct 07, 2007 7:00 am

I have washed nylon tents with no problem. I have also hand washed them in the laundry sink, or set up and scrubbed with a car brush. Then just set them up to dry.

A friend of mine owned a pawn shop and used to give me all the tents he couldn't sell.. :lol:
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Postby elmo » Sun Oct 07, 2007 7:18 am

Just take it in the shower with you! :roll:
It's scary when you start making the same noises as your coffee maker.
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Postby Laredo » Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:28 pm

If you haven't found your answer yet, here's what we used to do with Scout tents (these spent their not-camping lives in a church basement).

1. Get the tent out and check for holes. Using a soft plastic broom, sweep outside of tent to remove all loose dirt, etc. If you see stains, treat with a spray-and-wash type product.
2. Take out all poles, stakes and guy lines (elastic too!)
3. Turn tent inside out.
4. Zip all zippers shut.
5. Wash in warm water at laundromat using one of the front-loader washers. Pay for an extra rinse/spin cycle!
6. Take the tent out of the washer. Hang it up (high enough none of it touches the ground) in partial sun and leave all day. Check for dryness before dark!
7. Once tent is completely dry, set it up outdoors in partial sun. Repair all holes (screens too!)
8. Spray entire outside with a light coat of scotch-guard (these tents were several years old before we started). Let dry and repeat. Lubricate all zippers (we rubbed these with pencils or chapsticks, depending on what we had handy), then open all zippers and roll up all flaps. (Ventilation is important for this step). Spray inside of tent with a light coat of scotch-guard and (VERY IMPORTANT) go over all seams with seam-sealer ON THE INSIDE.
You can do this same trick with secondhand (garage-sale or thrift-store) tents too. (We were in an "economically disadvantaged" neighborhood with this Scout troop, so we did a lot of fixing-up of equipment.

If your tent is canvas rather than nylon (and correspondingly way heavier) it may be to your advantage to set it up in a stall at a car wash and wash it.

More info here:
http://www.viewsfromthetop.com/forums/s ... hp?p=25960
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Washing a Tent

Postby The Teardrop Nanny » Mon Oct 08, 2007 3:31 pm

:lol: I usually let the tent air out in the garage or outside for a few days if the weather permits it. I have washed an older smelly tent before and it did work, but you should reapply a Scotch Guard to the thing to help it to continue to repel the water adequately. One of the best items I've used for removing the unwanted smell has been the commercial product called "Febreeze". If the tent has any visible mold (black spots) on it your best bet would be to use hot water so the mold does not continue to spread spores. Washing a newer tent by hand with the garden hose is also an easy way to get rid of dirty spots. I have never put one in the dryer though after I've put it in water.

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Postby goldcoop » Mon Oct 08, 2007 3:58 pm

MK-

If it's just funky I've had great success with:

http://tinyurl.com/36e4y5

Cheers,

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Postby Mary K » Mon Oct 08, 2007 5:09 pm

Thanks Everyone! I feel bad enough for sticking my Dad in a Tent when we camp, let alone a stinky one. :lol: Thanks for reminding me about the Scotch Guard...I would totally forgot about it!:phew:

Laredo, You don't do anything halfarsed do ya? :thumbsup: :applause: :lol: You rock.

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Postby Bill P » Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:44 pm

Mary K,

Make sure to reseal the seams periodically. Those areas are very prone to leaking. You can get seam sealer from most camping suppliers.

See you at LCG.

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Postby Laredo » Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:45 pm

We only did this once a year, but yeah, we did try to take care of the tents.
They're expensive.
(Troop gear like this can be made to last for many, many years if somebody'll make a little effort not to let it go to pieces.)


Mary K wrote:Thanks Everyone! I feel bad enough for sticking my Dad in a Tent when we camp, let alone a stinky one. :lol: Thanks for reminding me about the Scotch Guard...I would totally forgot about it!:phew:

Laredo, You don't do anything halfarsed do ya? :thumbsup: :applause: :lol: You rock.

Mk


Thanks.
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Postby PresTx82 » Tue Dec 25, 2007 9:12 pm

If you buy quality products and take care of them, you'll have them for many years ahead. I still have a functional tent that I've had over 28 years (I was 17 when I bought it). I've used the water proofing spray on it, washed it (by hand) with soap and water, repair old rivets, etc. and it's still going strong. :worship:
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Postby asianflava » Wed Dec 26, 2007 5:52 am

Heh heh, I got my tent out about 2 weeks after our annual fishing trip. I finally got around to rinsing it off and getting all the sand out of it. I went inside to watch TV and I left it in the driveway to dry. Figured that I'd pack it up the next afternoon. I had some forethought and put bricks on the corners in case the wind picked up.

About an hour or so into my TV watching, I heard the wind howling outside. I checked the tent and it was gone, all the was left were 4 bricks. Kinda funny, not big deal. I had the tent for 12 years, it was a cheapy that wasn't supposed to last that long anyway.
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