Proper cleaning and storage of a tent will prolong tent life. Your tent should be cleaned of all mud, loose dirt and debris when you return from your camping trip. Shake out any loose dirt, and wipe the floor and, if included, clean your tent fly with a sponge and water.
Make sure your tent is completely dry before you pack it away. A tent that is packed away while damp will mildew. Storing your tent loosely in a large stuff sack or box may help prevent the formation of mildew, especially in humid climates.
For a more thorough cleaning, hand wash your tent in a mild, non detergent soap and water solution. Down Soap works well. Do not soak your tent. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry out of direct sunlight. or tumble dry your tent. Avoid dishwashing liquid, bleach, spot removers or laundry pre-soaking products. Never machine wash or drying; too much heat could cause the material to distort or melt.
If your tent has developed a bad odor it is probably due to an advanced case of mildew, which can cause the urethane coating on tent fabric to break down and start to delaminate. Because of this, washing your tent can cause the deteriorated coating to peel off completely, so proceed with caution. Sponging the tent floor is likely to be the kindest way to clean your tent. If the mildew advances and the coating begins to peel, further measures can be taken to kill the fungus and retard the process. However, the damage that has already been done cannot be reversed. Prepare the following solution after washing the tent as previously instructed:
Rub the solution into visible mildew. Set up the tent with the affected areas facing the sun. Allow to dry. Once dry, remove all peeling coating. Apply a coat of McNett Tent Sure to the areas where the coating has peeled. This will help restore water repellency. (For more information on McNett Mirazyme and McNett Tentsure visit www.mcnett.com
Before storing your tent, ensure that it is completely clean and dry. Moisture wrapped up in your tent for extended periods will promote mildew growth. Your clean and dry tent can be stored in its stuffsack or loosely in a box or oversized cotton storage bag. Avoid sealing your tent in a plastic bag or any other airtight, confined space. Find a cool, dry spot to store your tent such as a closet inside your house where it won't be exposed to humidity. It is best to roll/stuff/fold your tent a different way each time you put your tent away. This way you will not create permanent creases in the same place of the tent.
The keep-it-dry rule applies on the trail, too. If it's raining when you break camp and you must pack your tent wet, look for an opportunity during the day ideally, during a breakthrough of sun when you can dry it out.
If the poles were exposed to salt air, wash them properly in fresh water and air-dry to prevent corrosion.
UV rays have the most adverse affect on lightweight and synthetic tent fabric. It can also cause the fabric to fade, lose strength, and eventually disintegrate. Hence it should be taken care of that the tent should be pitched in shade and should not be left pitched in the sun when not in use.