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The camping vacation has ended. Before storing your camping equipment, it is time to clean the awning. In the following article we provide tips & tricks for cleaning different tent fabrics and stains and explain what has to be taken into account.

1. Do it yourself or go for a professional cleaning?

For persistent dirt, or when deep cleaning is required, professional cleaning can be advisable, especially if the tent needs to be re-impregnated and sealed afterwards. However, everyday cleaning of the awning is simple and can easily be done by yourself.

2. When should you clean it and which parts are most important?

As a rule of thumb: Clean your equipment after every camping trip and try to clean everything: floor, cover, windows, ropes, pegs and poles.

It is advisable to clean the awning more carefully when it comes to one of the following points:

  • Green coat (algae, moss, lichen, or other chlorophyll microorganisms that grow and spread over the material)
  • Mould Stains (dark stains due to moisture damage, which occur mainly when the tent is stored in a humid place)
  • Mould Fungus (fungi, which often go hand in hand with mold stains and can grow well in moisture)

In the following we describe how this can be done properly.

3. What are the best products to clean your awning?

  • Cotton, Polycotton und fabric with(out) coating

Cotton and Polycotton are, if possible brushed of without using water.
For fabric with coating (PVC, Acrylat, PU) is is recommendable to use lukewarm water and a cloth or a soft brush for the cleaning, so that the coating is not being damaged.

The inflatable GentleTent-awnings are made of high-quality TenCate or PolyCotton material, which is fungicide and dirt & moisture repellent. Simple wiping with a soft brush and lukewarm water is therefore sufficient.

When it comes to persistent stains, a gentle detergent or tent cleaner (available in the camping store) diluted with water may be used; however, care should be taken to ensure that after the use of special detergents. Post-treatment with impregnating or sealing sprays may be necessary.
For our GentleTent awnings you can use Ten Cate’s tried and tested cleaning & impregnating agents, e.g. from Isaclean, 123products, HG, or Ultramar.

On uncoated fabrics vinegar cleaner can also be used.

  • Green coat, mould stains and mould fungus

There are special cleaners that can be used for removing green coat. Depending on the level of infestation, the product is concentrated differently in warm water and is best distributed over the entire tent with a spray bottle. It usually takes 24 hours until the whole covering is dried up (recognisable by its brownish colour); as a next step, everything can be rinsed off. Most removers offer protection against new soiling after only one application.

The most common products to treat mould stains are vinegar cleaners, alcohol, or chlorinated bleaches. As all of them can attack the coating, it is advisable to use special tent cleaners first.

The same also applies to mould fungus: fungicides that do not attack the tent fabric are also available on the market.

4. How to clean windows, ropes, tent pegs, poles of your awning?

Also for cleaning the tent windows, it is sufficient to use a soft brush and warm water. To avoid streaks, it is best to wipe the windows dry with a cloth instead of allowing them to air-dry. A window cleaner for PVC windows should not be used, as it could lead the windows to become brittle when used regularly.

Poles and ropes can be easily wiped off. The most important thing is to ensure that they are completely dry before being packed away.

5. Impregnation of the awning

If you had to use more aggressive cleaning agents when cleaning the awning, you should consider re-impregnating it in case the tent coating was damaged.

Most impregnating products are either sprayed on the tent or diluted in water, so that the tent is soaked in it. The awning has to be dry before the treatment. After applying, the material has to be dried completely and should not be rinsed again.

Many manufacturers sell their own impregnating products, which are best suited for their awnings. If this is not the case, you should make sure that the product you buy is suitable for your awning material.

6. Further tips & tricks for the cleaning of your awning

  • Make sure that all soap residues are carefully washed off after cleaning your awning!
  • Green coat, mould and mildew stains can be avoided by storing your product properly:
    • Make sure the awning is dried completely before storing it. For this you need a dry, well ventilated place.
    • It is best to stow the tent in a cotton bag in a dry, well-ventilated room and to pack the poles separately.
  • Do not use high-pressure cleaners or wire brushes for cleaning.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when choosing your product, to prevent your awning from being damaged by an aggressive cleaner. Alternatively you can also test the product on a small spot before use.

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