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

Sorry, you’re doing what?
Washing the tent.
Washing the tent?
Yep.
Why?
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.
Ah.
I killed most of the mould with my bleachfest back then, however, there are still stains on our tent and it smells weird.
Indeed.
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:

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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.

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– 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.

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

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– 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!)

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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?

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Hi, I’m Mummy. Remember me?

Day two of summer holidays in the Ruby Doom house and it’s gone quiet. Too quiet.

Mum awoke late to discover that the conservatory had a liberal coating of glitter and PVA. Mum hadn’t had a cup of coffee yet. Open larder. Coffee is gone. Breathe. Breathe more. It’s ok, it’s just coffee. You can buy some more. When you go to the supermarket with both kids in tow without any coffee. No. It’s too early for wine. Make tea. Urgh.

Kids “clean” the glitter vomit from the room and are given standard homework books on maths, English & French. One page per day is the goal. Work completed with little fuss. Stickers issued.

Kids are given breakfast and ushered upstairs to get dressed while mum cleans out the fridge to prepare shopping list and picks up the iPad for inspiration on food for family (10 months of school dinners and being too tired to cook does weird things to you, like forgetting what an actual meal consists of)….

Only thing left is sausages. 12 between 6 of us. Sausage cake! (Toad in the hole to those of you who don’t have kids who take things literally and refuse to eat weird sounding food).

Why is it so quiet? What are they up to?

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They’re in their room watching a science program on iPlayer. It’s not the tidiest room ever, but it’s quiet and they’re not destroying something. Seems I have some time to get on with things…

I’m loathe to start packing up their brownie camp stuff just yet. I’m still feeling a bit weird about them going off for six days without us. They’ve never been away from us for that long. Not even with family. I’ll admit here, I don’t really want them to go. But it’ll be so good for them and I’m not going to let them know that I’m freaking out about leaving them with essentially unknown people who could lose them or let them get hurt by not watching them enough. Says she who was letting them climb trees way higher than a parent should feel happy with yesterday.

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I wonder how parents in the US deal with sending their kids off for weeks? Or people who’s kids board at school? It seems I am indeed a product of being an only child.