Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It’s Off to wash The Tent I Go!

Sorry, you’re doing what?
Washing the tent.
Washing the tent?
Well, cast you mind back a while to ‘Boy Camp’ where you took your mountain bikes off and camped out in Wales with beer and bikes, and carb loaded dinners? That was fun wasn’t it?
Yep. (for general interest, it was Afan in wales, and this place is stunningly awesome: http://www.afanforestpark.co.uk/default.aspx?page=6506 )
Now, cast your mind back to a more recent camping trip where we rocked up to the New Forest and I promptly spent two full hours scrubbing mould from the inside of our beautiful tent because some moron had left protein bars in it when they packed it up.
I killed most of the mould with my bleachfest back then, however, there are still stains on our tent and it smells weird.
So I’m washing the tent.

So, if you’ve been a moron or lent your tent to a moron, here’s how to clean it:

Disclaimer: this will only work on modern synthetic tents. For god’s sake, don’t put your cotton based tent through this ordeal.

We have an Outwell dome tent with three bedroom ‘pods’. Each of the pods has a inner lining bit. One of these was essentially black at the bottom (forgot to take photos), and the others had random patches that I had previously attacked with Flash bathroom cleaner in our last camping trip to avoid being killed by mould spores. (you may have noticed, I wasn’t totally impressed by that). This is one of the minor patches I remembered to do a ‘before’ on:


Today’s mission is to get just these inside pods clean and fresh smelling and remove as much mould trace as possible. There will be staining – you can very rarely remove the weird brown stains left by mould, but you can kill the spores so it doesn’t spread, smell weird, or suffocate your children.

Step One: Wage the Almighty Bleach War

Bleach is your friend. In a well ventilated room, such as the garden. And it is the mortal enemy of mould which it annihilates on contact. Cue one spray bottle and a mixture of 1 part bleach to 4 parts water. Warning: This is nasty stuff. wear old clothes and gloves.
– Turn tent pods inside out and zip up fully.
– Spread tent pods out on patio (not lawn – remember bleach & grass = baaad) and spray all visible patches of mould with bleach spray. As you spray, you’ll see the liquid around it turning brown. This is good. This is mould stuff that is no longer festering on your tent.


– Bundle up pod and shove into washing machine with a cup of detergent (no fabric conditioner) and a big cup of white vinegar (this will get rid of any interesting smells, and will also give your washing machine a good clean too!). Set this on a handwash cycle with no heat.


– Put a towel under the machine when you take it out as the tent will be drippy!


– Hang it outside to dry until it is bone dry (any dampness will just encourage more mould to take hold and we’ve just been through bleach wars to get rid of it!)


It also helps to adjust the drying position of the pods whilst they dry to air them better.

– Repeat same step for each of the pods (they need to go in one at a time to prevent ripping when they’re agitated in the machine).
– mentally prepare yourself for Step Two: Cleaning the Actual Tent.

… but not today. That’s a two (wo)man job and it’s threatening to rain again. Tent cleaning requires dry sunny weather, so guess what Mr B will be doing this weekend?


6 thoughts on “Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It’s Off to wash The Tent I Go!

    • Only if you let your husband and his friends go off and get your tent mouldy!
      It’s worth getting it out before you go just to check there’s no patches (small patches just need a quick spray and a scrub). Our tent was BLACK. Actually BLACK. And the smell! It was bleached to within an inch of it’s life last month, and I’m getting the last bits now & then re-proofing it.

      I could have actually killed them when we put it up last time. The pods are very clean now. The main outside tenty bit will be attacked tomorrow morning.


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