Two women pitching a tent

How to Clean Your Tent & Gear to Prep for Camping Season

Last Updated: July 28, 2022

Read on to find out how to easily clean your tent and other camping gear with natural products so you can explore the planet sustainably.

Sure, camping is all about embracing nature and getting a little dirty and roughed up, especially when it comes to your tents and camping gear. But what happens when you want to do that first camping trip of the new season and you go and grab your gear, only to find that the caked on mud didn’t magically go away. And to make it worse, that musty smell on your sleeping bag may mean you’ve got a bit more prep work to do before you can return to nature.

Read on to find out how to easily clean your tent and other camping gear with natural products so you can explore the planet sustainably.

What are the best natural products to clean a tent with?

When it comes to specific products, you can use a mild, fragrance-free dish soap or a cleaner that is specifically designed for outdoor gear and clothing. You should also have a gentle sponge or cloth handy for scrubbing.

Below is a list of natural products that can help get your tent looking clean in no time.

Molly's Suds detergent bottle

Molly’s Suds Activewear & Athleisure Sport Detergent

Known as “the ultimate, natural laundry solution for eliminating tough odors and stubborn stains from sports apparel, athleisure wear and delicates,” this cleaner will get your tent back in shape.

It can get rid of tough stains from things like grass in addition to odor-causing bacteria. It also works great if you’re wondering how to clean a tent that smells.

Find it here
method laundry booster bottle

Method Laundry Booster – Sport

This is made to work alongside your laundry detergent and is designed to specifically tackle athleisure apparel thanks to the plant-based, stain, and odor lifting power that it’s made with.

Find it here
Three microfiber cloths in dark green, cream, and gray

Grove Co. Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

These cleaning cloths are great for getting rid of grime and are known for their cleaning power since their fibers are positively charged, which means that they attract and pull up dirt particles from just about any surface.

Find it here

Grove Tip

How do you clean a tent … while camping?

We figured the best way to show you how to clean a tent while camping is to watch an expert actually do it!

A step-by-step guide for cleaning a tent

Now that you know which kinds of products to look for, let’s break down the best way to clean a tent step-by-step.

Step 1: Gather the supplies you need

This includes cold or lukewarm water, a dish soap similar to the one mentioned above, a detergent that is made for outdoor gear and clothing, a gentle sponge or cloth and a bathtub or a washing device of a similar size.

Step 2: Start by wiping down the tent with dish soap

Using the gentle sponge or cloth of your choice, wash the tent with dish soap.

Step 3: Wash it with sport detergent

Pour the tent cleaner (such as an activewear detergent) into a tub of lukewarm or warm water. Submerge the tent into the water with it facing inside out.

Step 4: Rinse the tent

Make sure to rinse the tent thoroughly so that it is free from all soap.

Step 5: Dry the tent

To air dry the tent, hang it in a cool and shaded area.

Even though tents do get dirty, it is not recommended to put them in either the washing machine or dryer.

The steps above work for cleaning sleeping bags and other camping fabrics too!

Grove Tip

How to clean a tent with mold

If you’re in need of more of a deep clean (say you’re looking for how to clean a tent with mold) you should consider using an enzyme cleaner like this one from Dirty Labs. This just requires an extra soaking step after Step 3: Wash it with sport detergent, above.

How to clean camping cookware

Of course, a tent isn’t the only thing that gets dirty on a camping trip. There’s also camping cookware.

Camping cookware is made from a variety of materials including titanium, cast iron, stainless steel, enamel, and aluminum, which means the products vary when it comes to the best ways to clean the cookware.

For cookware made out of titanium, you’ll need:

For cast iron, you’ll need:

For stainless steel and enamel cookware, you’ll need:

Grove tip: Baking soda helps clean aluminum as well, but instead of boiled water, mix it with biodegradable dish soap.

The steps for cleaning cookware are pretty easy once you have your products. Just scrub with soap and rinse clean! Most of these items aren’t dishwasher-safe so hand washing is key.

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At Grove, we want to be part of the solution, not the problem. We believe using plastic isn’t sustainable — period. Now it's time for you to take action too.

Over the next five years, we're removing plastic from every product we make and sell, like Seventh Generation natural household products. We’re committed to rethinking our products, transitioning our packaging, and leading our industry with full transparency.

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