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Washing Your Camping Tents and Sleeping Bags

Posted by Jose Medrano on
Washing camping tent and a sleeping bag. - Grab Green

The warm season is coming up faster than we think, which means that it’s time to once again enjoy the great outdoors.  One of the best and most time-honored traditions during the warm months of the year is camping, either with your friends, family, or even solo. 

Anyone who goes camping knows that two pieces of gear are essential: a sleeping bag, and a tent.  And, we also know that once we’re done with them, they can be pretty dirty.  After all, the woods is not the cleanest environment to spend a few days.  So, what’s the proper way to clean them?  Let’s find out.

Do You Need to Clean Your Tent and Sleeping Bags?

Basically, yes, since dirt and dust are everywhere when you’re camping, and can end up soiling your gear pretty severely.  Then, when you bring them back into your home, that dirt and dust is coming along for the ride.

And, it’s not just about the dirtiness, either.  The great outdoors may be beautiful and inspiring, but it’s also filled with allergens and insects.  And, you don’t know if you’re bringing back traces of poison ivy or insect eggs when you return home.  Because of that, cleaning isn’t just about, well, cleaning, but ridding any potential hazards to your home environment.

Another factor is mildew or mold.  If your tent or bag gets wet – like if it starts pouring during your camping adventure – you need to make sure you wash as soon as possible.  Otherwise, you can end up with mold or mildew that you don’t want to be breathing in the next time you go camping.

Handwashing Your Camping Tent

Now, let’s talk about how to wash your tent, which is making direct contact with the outside world.  We strongly recommend cleaning your tent after each camping trip, or each use in general.  First, you’ll want to grab a bucket and fill it with warm water and standard Grab Green Liquid Dish Soap.  Most tents are made from nylon or polyester, and this solution will work just fine. 

Brush off any visible debris, like leaves, mulch, and clumps of grass.  Then, grab a sponge and dip it into the water.  Simply wipe or scrub down the entire tent, inside and out, until it’s clean.  We urge you to be thorough, again in case fleas or insect eggs have ended up hiding in a corner of the fabric.  It may seem tedious, but you don’t want to bring home an infestation of some kind.

Now, you can soak the tent in warm water for about an hour, remove, and air-dry.  It’s best to hang your tent if possible, so it dries evenly. 

How to Wash a Sleeping Bag

Next comes the sleeping bags, which require just as thorough of a cleaning.  First, check the label of the sleeping bag – many come with care labels, just like clothing items, because they can be made from different materials.  A down sleeping bag, for instance, may not be able to handle the rough-and-tough nature of a standard washing cycle as well as a nylon sleeping bag.

If your sleeping bag is washing machine-friendly, go ahead and follow the care instructions.  Otherwise, we recommend washing it in a bathtub with a solution of water and laundry detergent.  Never use hot water when washing a sleeping bag, as it’s not compatible with the materials from which they’re commonly made.  If your washing machine has an agitator, throw some towels into the machine to balance out the weight.

As for drying, again, follow the care label.  Synthetic sleeping bags may require a single drying cycle, and down sleeping bags may actually require several cycles to get fully dry.  Some sleeping bags may need to be hung to dry, as they can’t handle the rough nature of a dryer.  Again, avoid high heat if using a dryer, as this can be bad for the material.

Should You Wash Your Tent and Sleeping Bags Before Going Camping?

One question we get asked often is whether or not it’s recommended to wash your tent and sleeping bag before going camping.  That really depends on how it’s been stored.  If you’ve been keeping these items in, say, a dirty, dusty garage or shed, then it’s probably wise to give them a good wash before use.  Otherwise, you will be breathing in that dirt and dust, and possible allergens, as well.  Plus, there is the insect factor, once again. 

If your sleeping bag and tent are stored inside your home, in a generally clean and well-maintained area, then you don’t need to wash them.  They’re almost definitely still clean from last season, and ready to be used.

What Kinds of Products are Best?

So, what types of products are ideal for washing tents and sleeping bags?  At Grab Green Home, we’re proud to offer only eco-friendly, nontoxic formulas that you can feel good about using regularly to handle all of your laundry needs.  When it comes to sleeping bags in particular, it’s best to avoid allergens and toxic materials in detergents, as sleeping bags are making contact with your body while you sleep.  Grab Green’s formulas can handle dirt, dust, mildew, grass stains, and more, all while leaving your sleeping bags and tent smelling fresh and looking their best.

All Grab Green Home products are EPA-approved, free of known toxins, dyes, and common allergens.  Our products are also cruelty-free, and even give back to the environment rather than deplete our soil and water sources.  Camping brings us in touch with the beauty of the outdoors, and by using our eco-friendly products, you will be doing your part in making the outdoors more sustainable.

As Summer Approaches, Keep Your Camping Gear Clean!

With summer right around the corner, it’s time to take stock of your camping gear, and check to make sure that your tent and sleeping bags are in order.  It’s also time to consider putting more effort into keeping that gear clean after each use, and possibly before you even go on your first trip, if necessary.

Remember, Grab Green Home carries a wide selection of eco-friendly, nontoxic laundry products that can keep your camping gear looking as good as new, without the unwanted chemicals that harm our health and the environment.  Our products are gentle, yet effective enough for your camping needs.

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