Tent Maintenance

Do's and Dont's: How to Properly Clean Your Tent Material Fabric

Understanding the do’s and don’ts of proper tent fabric storage, cleaning and maintenance can keep your investment in perfect shape.


It’s imperative for rental company owners to understand the proper way to maintain and clean the vinyl material that their tents are manufactured from. Commercial tents regularly cleaned and maintained with the proper techniques don’t just look better, they remain in good condition for longer, giving you a better return on investment. Dirt accumulation on the tent surface leads to mold and mildew growth, shortening the material's lifespan.

Cleaning your commercial tent fabric is just as crucial as regular tent cleaning. However, it's essential to know the best practices for cleaning commercial vinyl tents to avoid damaging or degrading the fabric. While there are several standard techniques for cleaning, including hand-washing, machine-washing, power-washing, and even using a floor polisher, some methods can do more harm than good. To clean a commercial tent without making harmful mistakes, follow these dos and don'ts.

Wedding tents, also known as wedding marquees or event tents, can be made from various materials depending on the type and style of the tent. The choice of material depends on factors such as durability, aesthetics, weather resistance, and the intended use of the tent. Here are some common materials used for wedding tents:

  1. Polyester Fabric: Polyester is a popular choice for wedding tents due to its durability, affordability, and versatility. It is often used as the main fabric for the tent canopy and walls. Polyester can be coated or treated to enhance waterproofing and UV resistance properties.
  2. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): PVC is a common material for constructing wedding tent canopies and sidewalls. PVC-coated polyester fabric is highly durable, waterproof, and can protect against the elements. It is often used in larger event tents or structures.
  3. Canvas: Canvas is a traditional and natural fabric that offers a classic and elegant look for wedding tents. It is commonly made from cotton or a blend of cotton and polyester. Canvas tents are known for their breathability and aesthetic appeal, but they may require additional weatherproofing treatment for enhanced water resistance.
  4. Polyethylene (PE): Polyethylene is a plastic material often used for smaller, more affordable wedding tents. PE is lightweight, easy to handle, and provides basic protection against sun and light rain. However, it is not as durable or long-lasting as other materials.
  5. Stretch Fabric: Stretch fabric tents have gained popularity recently due to their unique and contemporary look. These tents are typically made from polyester and spandex, allowing for stretch and flexibility in their shape and design. They can create eye-catching and modern wedding settings.

It's worth noting that wedding tents often consist of a combination of materials, with the frame or structure typically made from aluminum or steel for stability and support. Additionally, wedding tents may incorporate transparent or translucent panels made from materials like clear PVC or polycarbonate to allow natural light and create a visually appealing ambiance.

Regardless of size or function, tents are made to withstand the outdoor elements. However, they are not indestructible. Cleaning a rental tent is an important task to ensure the tent is in good condition for subsequent use. Tents need to be maintained and cared for like any investment-- a spray-down alone won’t suffice. There are various things you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to cleaning and maintaining your tent fabric. Here are some general steps to clean a rental tent:

  1. Remove Debris: Before starting the cleaning process, remove any debris, such as leaves, dirt, or loose items, from the tent's interior and exterior. Shake out the tent or use a broom to sweep away larger debris.
  2. Spot Cleaning: Inspect the tent for any stains or spots. Spot-clean these areas using a mild soap or detergent solution and a soft brush or cloth. Gently scrub the stained area and rinse with clean water. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can damage the fabric.
  3. Washing the Tent: If the entire tent needs cleaning, set it up in a spacious and clean area, such as a backyard or open space. Use a mild soap or tent cleaner designed for the tent fabric type. Follow the instructions on the cleaner for the appropriate dilution ratio. We recommend asking your local manufacturer which products you can or cannot use on the fabric.
  4. Scrubbing and Rinsing: Using a soft brush or sponge, gently scrub the tent fabric with the cleaning solution. Pay attention to any soiled areas or stains. Rinse the tent thoroughly with clean water to remove all soap or cleaner residue. Ensure that the tent is completely clean and free of any soap suds.
  5. Drying the Tent: Let the tent air dry entirely after rinsing. Hang it up or spread it out in a well-ventilated area, preferably in the shade to prevent excessive exposure to sunlight. Make sure the tent is fully dry before packing or storing it to prevent mold or mildew growth. Ensure that the whole tent - including ratchets, ropes, poles, zippers, and other components is moisture free, as mildew or mold can quickly grow on damp fabrics.
  6. Additional Protection: You may want to periodically apply spray-on UV ray protection for an additional layer of protection. You can also do this with water resistance, so ask your local tent manufacturer where to buy UV Ray or Water repellent sprays appropriate for your tent. You may also want to use a dry spray on poles and zipper tracks to help keep the parts lubricated.
  7. Inspection and Repairs: Inspect the tent for any damages or tears while cleaning it. This requires checking the tent's interior and exterior for damage, in addition to the poles, zippers, and screens. Consistent and thorough inspections can add years to the life of your investment and prevent damage to the tent's fabric. If you notice any issues, note them and inform the rental company for necessary repairs or replacements. Specifically, check your tent's seams and ensure they are not falling apart. If they are, have them repaired as soon as possible. Or, consult your tent fabric supplier if you would like to repair the seams yourself.

It's essential to follow any specific instructions the rental company provides regarding tent cleaning. Different tent materials may have specific care requirements, so check for any specific recommendations or restrictions.

Now here’s a list of things you should not do:

  • Do not use a detergent on your tent fabric, this will break down the material and any specialty features like UV and water resistance.
  • Do not use bleach, as the fabric will deteriorate. Bleach can also change the color of the tent’s fabric.
  • Do not store your tent in a wet or damp area, this can encourage the growth of mold or mildew.
  • Do not let debris, dirt, water, or items collect the inside of your tent. This can cause damage to the fabric as well. Remember, caring for the interior is just as important as the exterior.
  • Do not leave your tent set up, or out in the sunlight for extended periods of time (i.e. weeks or months) unless specifically instructed to do so by your manufacturer. You don’t want your tent subjected to the elements for longer than it has to be. If your tent is out too long in the sunlight, you risk degradation of the fabric's UV resistance properties.
  • Do not use abrasive brushes or sponges to clean your tent. you risk scratching, ripping, or tearing the fabric.

By following these instructions, you’ll ensure that the investment you’ve made will last. If you’re unsure how to best care for your tent, always consult your textile supplier on how to clean and maintain your fabrics.

Remember, taking care of your tent involves due diligence. Printing out a step-by-step guide on post-event tent fabric care for your employees or yourself is a significant step in keeping best practices on the top of your mind. Consult this list every time you use and store your tents, and train your employees on the do’s and don’ts of cleaning and maintaining your tent fabrics. Knowledge is the first step in preventing damage to your investment.

It's essential to follow any specific instructions the rental company provides regarding tent cleaning. Different tent materials may have specific care requirements, so check for any specific recommendations or restrictions. If you're uncertain how to clean the rental tent properly, it's best to consult the rental company for specific instructions or to inquire if they offer cleaning services. They can provide guidance based on the tent material and construction type.

Tent fabrics require special care, and selecting the suitable material is as important as proper upkeep. Download our free guide, Five Factors to Consider When Buying Tent Fabric Material to help inform your decision making.



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