How To Air A Tent (Expert Advice)

The last thing you want to do after a long day of hiking is pack away your tent. But if you let it get too damp, mold can start growing on the canvas and insulation. 

So how do you keep your tent in tip-top shape? It’s simple: Open up the tent, shake it out outside (or vacuum clean), and then let it dry for several hours before storing it away.

How to Properly Care for Your Tent – Expert Advice – YouTube
– Properly airing out your tent is essential for preventing mold, mildew, and unpleasant odors.
– After each camping trip, unpack your tent and allow it to dry thoroughly before storing it.
– Choose a well-ventilated area to air out your tent, preferably outdoors on a sunny day.
– Gently shake and brush off any dirt or debris from your tent before airing it out.
– Avoid using heat sources like heaters or direct sunlight to dry your tent, as this can damage the fabric.
– Use a mild soap and water solution to clean your tent if necessary, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
– Ensure all zippers and closures are completely dry before storing your tent to prevent rust or damage.
– Regularly inspect your tent for any signs of wear, tears, or broken components, and address them promptly.
– By properly airing and maintaining your tent, you can prolong its lifespan and ensure a comfortable camping experience.

Get Out Of The Tent

You will first want to get out of the tent. This should be done with caution, as you do not want to damage your tent by tripping over it in a hurry. 

Once you have exited the tent, unlatch it and open up one side at a time. Take a broom (or other long object) and literally sweep away whatever dirt or dust that has accumulated on the inside of your tent while it was pitched.

Now comes the fun part: shaking it outside! You can either shake off the dust outside or take your dog along for an afternoon swim so they will help remove excess moisture from their fur after playing in puddles.

When setting up your tent on a beach, proper anchoring is crucial for stability and security. Our guide on how to anchor a tent on the beach provides easy fixes and expert advice to ensure your beach camping experience is hassle-free.

Open Up The Tent

Now that you have some fresh air inside your tent, it’s time to let the sun shine in. Open up the tent and let it sit for a few hours before storing it away for next time. 

This will help remove harmful chemicals and make sure no mold will develop on the fabric of your tent. 

If you’re camping near large trees, try placing your tent under them so that they can provide shade while still allowing light in through their branches. 

The ideal place would be under a tree where there are plenty of open spaces around so that there is plenty of air circulation.

If possible, store your tent somewhere where there are plenty of open spaces (like on a grassy field) and not cramped in with other tents or objects nearby (such as in an RV garage).

Unzip all tent entrancesOpen up all tent entrances fully to allow for better airflow and ventilation inside the tent.
Extend tent poles and secure themExtend the tent poles to their full length and make sure they are properly secured in place for stability.
Spread out tent fabricSmooth out and spread the tent fabric to its full extent to ensure proper setup and maximize usable space.
Stake down the corners and guylinesSecurely stake down the corners and guylines of the tent to provide stability and prevent shifting or collapsing.
Utilize vestibules and rainfly as neededAttach and arrange vestibules and rainfly according to the tent design and weather conditions for added protection and functionality.

Take A Broom To It

Once you’ve picked up the tent, it’s time to sweep. It’s probably best to use a soft brush attachment on your broom so that it won’t damage the fabric or snag on any debris. 

Sweep in a circular motion, starting at the bottom and working your way up, then outside in. Don’t forget to sweep along the ceiling as well!

If you’re planning to set up your tent on concrete, it’s important to know the right techniques for anchoring. Discover our tips and tricks on how to anchor a tent on concrete to ensure a sturdy and reliable setup that can withstand any conditions.

Shake It Outside

Shake the tent vigorously for a few minutes.

Shake the tent inside and outside, using a broom to help you if necessary (a broom can be found in any room with a floor). If you don’t have access to one, just use your hands but be gentle; you don’t want to damage the tent!

Repeat this process until all dirt has been shaken from the fabric of your tent and it looks as clean as new again!

Thoroughly Swipe Inside Of The Tent

To get rid of dust and particles, you should use a broom to brush out the tent. This will help remove any dirt that has collected since last cleaning. 

If you have pets or other animals in your home, this is especially important because they tend to shed fur and pet dander that can build up over time.

If you don’t want to lug around a broom all day, consider using your vacuum cleaner instead! 

Just be sure not to use an upright vacuum on an unrolled tent if it’s taller than yourself as it could cause damage or even collapse the tent altogether!

Another handy tool for cleaning tents is a lint roller. These handy little devices work great at picking up loose hairs whether they belong to humans or animals and other fine debris like lint or pet hair that have gathered in between seams on camping gear over time

Use a tent-specific interior cleanerChoosing a cleaner specifically designed for tent materials ensures safe and effective cleaning without causing damage.
Pay attention to high-touch areasFocus on cleaning areas that are frequently touched or prone to dirt and grime buildup, such as doorways, zippers, and flooring.
Use gentle wiping motionsGently swipe the interior surfaces with a soft cloth or sponge to remove dirt, stains, and debris. Avoid harsh scrubbing that may damage the tent fabric.
Consider using a mild soap and water solutionDilute a mild soap with water to create a gentle cleaning solution for more stubborn stains or dirt. Rinse thoroughly after cleaning.
Follow manufacturer’s instructionsAlways refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning and maintenance, as different tent brands may have specific recommendations.

Use A Vacuum Cleaner

This is a great method for removing dust and debris from your tent. However, you should avoid using a vacuum cleaner on the flooring material as this can damage it. 

Also, do not use a vacuum cleaner on the canvas or poles of your tent as they may become damaged. Finally, avoid using one on stakes as this can cause them to bend or break.

Not having tent stakes doesn’t have to be a problem! Our expert guide on how to anchor a tent without stakes presents alternative solutions and innovative methods to secure your tent, making your outdoor adventures stress-free.

Remove Loose Debris With A Lint Roller

Remove loose debris with a lint roller. The best way to clean the tent fabric is with a lint roller, which will remove dirt and dust particles in one quick pass. 

To get started, take the lint roller outside and roll it over your tent’s flooring material. Make sure to hold the handle on top of your hand if you put too much pressure on the fabric and press down too hard, you could rip it!

Next, use the same technique on your tent itself: again holding up high so that only the surface of your tent is in contact with any kind of force when cleaning it off with a light touch from above (and not pressing down).

When camping on sandy grounds, knowing the right techniques to anchor your tent is crucial. Dive into our expert answer on how to anchor a tent in sand to ensure your tent remains stable and secure, allowing you to relax and enjoy the beach atmosphere.

Clean The Flooring Material

The flooring material of your tent is very important. It protects you from the ground, keeps dirt and bugs out, and can help with insulation. 

It’s also what you sleep on! So it’s crucial that your flooring material be clean and fresh smelling when you set up your tent. 

To clean it, use a damp cloth to wipe down the flooring material. Do not use harsh chemicals on your tent flooring material as this could damage or discolor it in places like seams or where poles touch them most often (which would result in leaks). 

Also avoid using bleach as this may discolor some fabrics over time.

Let The Canvas Dry In Direct Sunlight For Several Hours Before Storing It Away

Let the canvas dry in direct sunlight for several hours before storing it away. If you don’t have access to direct sunlight, a fan will help speed up the evaporation process. Once dry, fold up your tent and store it in an airtight bag.

Place canvas in direct sunlightAllowing the canvas to dry in direct sunlight helps to evaporate moisture and prevent mold or mildew buildup.
Ensure several hours of drying timeGiving the canvas enough time in the sun ensures thorough drying and reduces the risk of dampness when storing.
Avoid folding canvas when wetFolding wet canvas can lead to creases and encourage the growth of mold or mildew.
Consider using a canvas-specific cleanerUsing a cleaner designed for canvas materials can help remove dirt, stains, and potential contaminants.
Follow manufacturer’s instructionsRefer to the specific instructions provided by the canvas brand for optimal drying and storage practices.

Air Out Your Tent Every Time You Use It

Airing out your tent after you’ve used it is a vital step to keeping it in good condition. Air out your tent every time you use it, and don’t just throw it in the back of your car or closet when you’re done with it that’s one of the worst things you can do to a tent!

Airing out your tent helps prevent mold and mildew from building up inside. If moisture gets trapped inside, this can lead to odors that are not so pleasant.

 If you have any kind of moisture buildup on the walls or ceiling, airing out will dry them out (and give them a fresh coat of UV protection).

Properly anchoring your tent is essential for a safe and enjoyable camping experience. Explore our comprehensive article on how to anchor a tent to learn easy fixes and expert tips that will keep your tent secure in various terrains and weather conditions.


Using these steps, you can get your tent looking like new in no time! Just remember to follow through with each step and be sure to air out your tent when it’s dry outside. This will help keep everything smelling fresh and looking good for years to come.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources for further reading on tent care and maintenance:

REI: Expert Advice – Caring for Your Tent: REI provides valuable tips and advice on properly caring for your tent, including cleaning, storage, and repairs.

GO Outdoors: Expert Advice – Caring for Your Tent: GO Outdoors offers helpful insights into tent care, covering topics such as waterproofing, maintenance, and prolonging the lifespan of your tent.

KOA Blog: Tent Care, Maintenance, and Common Repairs: The KOA blog shares practical advice on tent care, including maintenance tips, common repairs, and instructions for cleaning your tent properly.

These resources provide comprehensive information and expert tips to help you maintain and care for your tent, ensuring its longevity and optimal performance.


Here are some frequently asked questions about tent care:

Q: How often should I clean my tent?

A: It’s recommended to clean your tent after each camping trip or whenever it becomes dirty. Regular cleaning helps maintain the tent’s performance and extends its lifespan.

Q: Can I use a washing machine to clean my tent?

A: No, machine washing can damage the waterproof coatings and fabric of your tent. It’s best to hand wash your tent using mild soap and water.

Q: How do I store my tent properly?

A: Store your tent in a dry and cool place, away from direct sunlight. Make sure it’s completely dry before packing it away to prevent mold and mildew growth.

Q: How can I repair a small tear in my tent fabric?

A: Small tears can be repaired using a patch or seam sealer specifically designed for tents. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

Q: Do I need to re-waterproof my tent?

A: Over time, the waterproof coating on your tent may wear off. You can reapply waterproofing treatments to restore its effectiveness. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the appropriate product to use.