How to Clean A Rooftop Tent – Step by Step Cleaning Guide

Rooftop tents stay clean than any other traditional ground tent. However, it is much easier to keep away from mud, dirt, or sand. But we cannot say that rooftop tents do not need cleaning. You will find bird droppings, tree sap, and debris on your tent.

No worries! we will show you step by step how to clean your rooftop tent. You need to clean the mattress cover, mattress pad, and base of your tent which is covered by the mattress. You also need to clean the fabric by airing or watering it.

In this article, you will learn how to wash rooftop tents, remove mold from rooftop tents, and clean rooftop tent covers. Read on to learn more.

Cleaning A Roof Top Tent: 8 Easy Steps to Follow

When you spend a weekend in a rough area with your tent, it is likely that you will return with a dusty and dirty tent. You might notice funky odors and ugly stains. So what you need is cure and cleaning which is not too hard to do. Now, I will discuss some essential steps with you with a step-by-step guide.

1. Airing Out Your Tent

First of all, airing out your tent after each uses is a great idea so that it prevents your Roof-top Tent (RTT) from unsettling smells inside. By this, you also get rid of any accumulated dust throughout your camping trips. It is the least invasive and time-consuming. Airing of your tent should be done periodically.

2. Deep Clean Once A Season

Now is the time to deep clean your rooftop tent. Depending on usage, it is a good idea to deep clean every season. Firstly, you need to clean the bedding. Simply remove the pad and bedding from your tent. Unzip the mattress cover and insert it in the washer.

3. Whole Wash with Water

Next, you should water the whole RTT thoroughly. This way helps you to clean the fabric easily and get rid of dust. You can even use some soap solution to scrub out the stains.

4. Clean and Wipe With A Towel

Once you’re done cleaning, grab a towel and wipe it down. Sometimes dirt stays between mattress and base so you should clean these areas to keep your tent fresh. You can also whip down the poles if they are uncovered.

5. In the Case of Softshell RTT

In the case of softshell RTT, PVC cover collects dust and mud. Scrubbing the cover with water will take care of the problem.

6. Ladder Cleaning

Now, you have to clean the ladder of the tent. Ladder cleaning is easy but it is essential, especially if it’s a sliding ladder. Dirt makes it hard to use the ladder freely. If it’s a telescoping ladder, you can easily wipe it down with no performance issues.

7. Packing Up

Allow the RTT and all of its components to dry before reassembling and packing them up fully. Packing the roof down when wet or damp will cause mildew to form. When you look at it, this dark and unpleasant substance will be evident, but more so when you smell it. It is near impossible to remove once it appears.

8. Finishing the cleaning process:

When you have finished cleaning your tent, put everything back inside and on it just as it was before. It is now ready to use again on your next camping trip!

Removing Mold from A Tent

Removing mold from a tent is much easier if you follow some tricks to solve the problem. Mold can grow in your RTT if you pack it when it is wet and forget to reopen it to dry. If you leave it damp for 48 hours, mildew will grow.

Take some soap and water solution, scrub the fabric thoroughly where it is prevalent. Let the tent become completely dry. If you want to take extra precautions, you can apply a vinegar and lemon juice solution to the area. After drying the tent, water it down.

Another useful option is to use bleach and water solution to get rid of mold. But I will suggest not to take this action as it can damage or discolor the fabric permanently.

How to Clean Rooftop Tent Cover

If the cover is of cotton or polycotton, you can simply brush it off. Using water is much better, however.

In the case of coated fabrics such as PVC, acrylate, PU, you should use lukewarm water and a towel so that you can save the coating from damage.

Some tent canopies are of high-quality material. These rooftop tents are already equipped with fungicidal and dirt-resistant properties. In order to clean those tents, you should use a soft brush and lukewarm water.

For mold stains treating the most common item are vinegar, alcohol, chlorine bleach cleaners. But all of them can attack your tent coating. So, we advise using special tent cleaners.

The same applies to mold fungus. Various types of fungicides are available on the market that are not harmful to tent fabric.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can we wash a tent cover?

Tents should never be washed in the washing machine. This is not the proper way to clean a tent. By doing so, the fabric, mesh, or seams may be torn or stretched. So, avoid using the washing machine.

What can I use to clean my tent?

The tent can be cleaned with a cloth or sponge soaked in mild soap, but never with bleach or spot remover. These products will permanently damage the coating of the tent.


If you want to prevent your roof tent from becoming ruined by hard cleaners, you should always follow a manufacturer’s instruction manual before choosing and applying a cleaner. Otherwise, you can test the item in a small area first.

I think you have learned how to clean the rooftop tent properly. After cleaning the RTT, ensure all soap is thoroughly washed off. It is possible to save the tent from stains and mold by storing it correctly. Also, be sure that your awning is dry before storing it. You obviously need a dry ventilated place to store your tent. I recommend storing the tent in cotton bags and keeping the poles separate. Avoid high-pressure cleaners and brushes at all costs.

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