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The Easy Camp Guide to Cleaning a Tent

We have all experienced that moment when we stand back to admire our neatly pitched pride and joy only to discover that one of our avian friends has used it for target practice. The expletives often accurately describe the subject matter…

Bird excreta is a nasty mix of faeces and urine. It’s not the best combination to land on your tent but it is easily removed by brushing off when dry or gently washing away with mild ph-neutral soapy water before swilling well. A good proprietary tent cleaner, like Clean Guard, can also be brought into play but rarely necessary. Reproof? Only if that soap has stripped off the external Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish - again, rare with ph-neutral soap but a detergent will. If needed, just respray with Water Guard or similar.

However, the real pain is tree sap. This tends to fall into two categories: that awful conifer resin that smells delightful yet spreads mayhem like napalm, and a sticky substance often mistaken for tree sap – the aphid’s wax-based defensive honeydew much loved by ants.

The latter creates a splattering effect of tacky dirty rain that looks a disaster. But you’ll often find it easily washes off if treated like bird mess. Heavy rain can also clean it away. Resin is more serious.

Resin becomes a sticky mess if heated by the sun. The temptation is to scrape the worse away using something like the edge of a credit card but this can spread the problem. You could leave to dry before trying to crack it off but by then it will be hard to separate from the outer’s fibres.

Of course, if left to deal with when you get home the chances are, unless liberally sprinkled with talc, it will adhere to any part of the tent with which it comes into contact. Remember, it gets stickier and more liquid the warmer it is – and think how hot your car gets when left in the sun while you grab a bite to eat on the trip home.

There is lots of advice on the Internet about removing resin with everyday items but our advice is to spot clean using Clean Guard before reproofing the area with Water Guard treatment – it’s worth carrying these items with you as part of a general in-the-field tent maintenance kit.

The reason for this is simple. While mayonnaise and peanut butter will lift resin if worked in, the majority of home-grown remedies are not only likely to leave a stain but will strip the tent’s DWR finish and, worse still, could damage the PU-coating on the inside of the fabric that keeps it waterproof – and this represents a major problem that could lead to you having to scrap your tent.

Article and details supplied courtesy of Easy Camp

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