We make The Deuce of Spades and MoonLight tents Washing | TheTentLab


Unlike most tent manufacturers, we recommend washing our tents whenever you feel the need. Our coatings are quite solid because they're polyEther based polyurethanes (PEU) and won't degrade.


The most important thing:

Wash it only if you can set it up to dry immediately after washing.
You must put the tent away bone dry or there's risk of mold growing on it.
Pay particular attention that the zippers and the guylines are dry before storage.

Here are the SPECIAL things you need to do to wash a tent:
a) Wash the rainfly separate from the tent to prevent the velcro on the rainfly from harming the netting. It's also easier to manage draining the water out of fabric pockets and folds.
b) Remove the mini-biners that came with your tent. They sometimes have teeny tiny little sharp edges that might hurt the netting.
c) Hand wash in a bathtub or use a front loader or a top loader on
d) Handle wet tents carefully - the clips can hook on fabric and the extra weight can lead to tears.
e) Usually you can get a tent clean with no soap, just water. If you do want to use soap, use just a little (and soap is preferred over detergent).
f) Because coated fabrics can hold large pockets of water, and because water pockets can't evaporate through coatings, machine drying doesn't work and is not recommended. Drip drying gets rid of water pockets and lets both sides of the fabric dry.
g) Leave the guylines in their pockets. They would make quite a tangle and it's a rare day that the guylines need washing.

OK, so here's what we have as a procedure:
1) before starting make sure you will have time to dry the tent fully before putting it away
2) wash the tent and rainfly separately, remove the mini-biners from the tent
3) use just water or water and a small amount of soap (Dr. Broners scentless is recommended)
hand wash by kneading the tent in a tub, being careful not to snag the fabric with the pole clips. Rinse well if you used soap.
machine wash in a front loader or on the gentlest cycle of a top-loader
5) when moving the wet tent, handle it gently in case a clip is snagged on fabric somewhere
6) set the tent up to dry thoroughly before putting it away - remember to take the guylines out of their pockets so they can dry too.

One last thing

Washing removes some of the water repellency from the fabrics. The waterproofness is still 100% there but water doesn't roll off as well as before. You can rejuvenate the water repellency while the tent is drying by spraying the coated parts of the tent (the rainfly exterior and the lower walls of the tent). I recommend a product like Nikwax Tent & Gear SolarProof which also protects against UV damage (why not). Nikwax emphasizes the healthiness (or at least non-badness) of their products. After quite a search I believe I've found that they use zirconium acetate and propylene glycol which should be very safe (zirconium is a very bio-compatible metal, acetate is vinegar, and propylene glycol is used in things that are eaten. So, on a tent, this all sounds pretty OK with me.).