5 Simple Tips: Cleaning the Tent Carpet

Tips For Cleaning Awning Carpet

Friends keep asking us how to clean a tent carpet in the most effective ways. After all, you need space and, depending on the method, time and energy. Because you should know that getting rid of dirt, mud and odors from the tent carpet is not that easy.

We are here to present you with the 5 best tips for cleaning the tent carpet. We also provide some tips and tricks for the pre-treatment and drying of the tent carpet.

1. Wash Tent Carpet in Washing Machine

Cleaning the awning carpet in the washing machine is a convenient and easy solution. However, you cannot use this cleaning method for every tent carpet. If the tent carpet is too large and you don’t have access to a larger industrial washing machine, consider treating it with one of the other methods. On the other hand, a smaller tent carpet that only covers a few square meters is ideal.

Be sure to test beforehand how much space the tent carpet takes up in the washing machine. You definitely want to avoid an overcrowded machine! Pay attention to the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions before you put the tent carpet in the washing machine. Not every material is suitable for machine cleaning.

Do you have an awning carpet made of polyester fabric? Then cleaning in the washing machine at 60 degrees is usually sufficient to clean the soiled tent carpet. Even if most of the materials can handle hot water at 80 degrees, you should only wash the fabric at a maximum of 60 degrees to be on the safe side.

You should only consider cleaning at 30 degrees (easy-care level) for light soiling. In many cases, you cannot get stubborn dirt completely out of the material. Just like any regular washing routine in the machine, remember to include a measuring cup of washing powder when cleaning your awning carpet.

2. Clean Tent Carpet with a High-Pressure Cleaner

 Clean tent carpet with high-pressure cleaner

Do you have a good high-pressure cleaner with a sufficiently large detergent tank? Do you have enough space on a flat surface such as your patio? Then cleaning the awning carpet is quick and easy. It is best to spread out the tent carpet on a hard surface that is as level as possible. If you have the opportunity to do this on a paved path, the driveway or the terrace, this is the best choice.

Before you use the pressure washer, sweep away the loose dirt with a street broom. When using the high-pressure cleaner, make sure that you use a suitable material-friendly, biodegradable universal cleaner. You can of course omit the cleaning agent for light soiling. On the other hand, the universal cleaner is ideal for stubborn traces of mud and unpleasant odors.

Depending on the pressure washer, it is possible to work with hot water. Similar to the washing machine, you should be careful not to use water that is too hot. To be on the safe side, you should use water with a maximum temperature of 60 degrees to clean your tent carpet. Especially the tent carpets, which are made of foamed PVC, often do not tolerate temperatures above 70 degrees Celsius.

If you use a high-quality high-pressure cleaner, cleaning with cold water is completely sufficient. Cold water under high pressure alone already has a very good cleaning effect. If that is not enough, spray some additional universal cleaner from the cleaning agent tank.

3. Cleaning in the Car Wash Street

Don’t have your own pressure washer to hand? No problem – there is usually a car wash near you that you can use yourself. A self-service car wash is therefore a great alternative. In self-service car washes, you can insert a few coins to get a high-pressure gun that you can use for a certain amount of time. It serves almost the same purpose as the high-pressure cleaner at home.

The regulations in the self-service car washes are not uniform – so clarify beforehand by telephone whether cleaning a tent carpet is allowed. Maybe you combine it with a visit on site, if your car could do with a car wash anyway.

It is best to wrap the dirty tent carpet in a rubbish bag and place it in the trunk. In any case, you want to avoid having to clean the trunk afterward. You also need garbage bags that are stable enough, because the cleaned tent carpet is quite heavy due to the moisture. You should tie up the garbage bags or seal them with duct tape to prevent dirt and moisture inside.

Here, too, it depends on the size of your tent carpet and the available space to spread it out. Smaller awning carpets can be completely unfolded on the ground without any problems. Larger models should be cleaned step by step due to the possible lack of space.

After spreading, start spraying it off with the car wash’s high-pressure gun. The recommended minimum distance from the nozzle to the vehicle in many self-service car washes is 30 centimeters to avoid damage to the vehicle and the paintwork.

You can get closer to cleaning your outdoor mat. This will improve the cleaning effect, but on the other hand, you will be more likely to get wet. In summer, depending on the temperatures, this can be quite pleasant!

Unless you know exactly what it’s made of, skip the car wash shampoo and just use the pressurized water rinse alone. For the car shampoo of the facility, some operators use quite aggressive ingredients, and you cannot know to what extent they could damage your tent carpet.

4. Effortless Clean with Garden Hose and Scrubber

Cleaning the tent carpet with a simple garden hose is not one of the best methods that we will show you here. However, this method of cleaning has a few advantages. Unlike cleaning in the car wash, for example, you can get started as soon as the garden hose is connected and the tent carpet is spread out on your patio at home. Also, you don’t have to worry about damaging the material – you’re using cold water.

Before you start, you should roughly clear the surface of the mat from loose dirt with the street broom. In contrast to the previous methods, the cleaning effect is not as good, especially with stubborn dirt and mud. In addition, it is tedious even at higher pressure and takes longer than with a good high-pressure cleaner.

This is not so noticeable with smaller tent carpets, but all the more so with larger areas. Also keep in mind that you should usually spray both sides of the tent carpet.

With this cleaning, you should also be prepared for a nice cool down from the water splashes, especially if you hold the nozzle of the garden hose close to the honeycomb structure of the outdoor mat. So keep that in mind with regard to clothing – if necessary, spray without clothing without upsetting the neighbors!

After cleaning tent carpets with the garden hose, dirt is probably still visible in some places. Now the scrubber is used:

  • Put some soapy water or biodegradable dish soap in a bucket, dip the scrubber in, and scrub the dirty areas of your awning carpet clean.
  • You can then use the garden hose to remove cleaning agent residue and dirt from the affected areas.
  • You repeat the whole thing for both sides of the tent carpet, depending on how dirty it is – done!

5. Clean the Tent carpet in the Garbage Bag

A time-saving way for light soiling of your tent carpet is the following ingenious trick. For this you need:

  • A strong, waterproof rubbish bag
  • Washing powder
  • Cable ties or duct tape
  • Warm water

First, use a broom to remove leaves and loose dirt from the tent carpet. Then you roll it up to a small pack size and put it in the tear-resistant garbage bag.

You should do this on a flat surface that is free of sharp objects that can damage the bag. You should also sweep the patio at home before you put the tent carpet in the bag. Now add a measuring cup full of washing powder and fill the bag with lukewarm water. Now seal the top of the sack, preferably with duct tape. Cable ties work just as well. The bag must be well closed.

After the bag is securely closed in front of you, move it vigorously but gently to distribute the detergent. In order to achieve the best possible cleaning result, you should leave the garbage bag to work for many hours. During this time, make sure to move and roll the garbage bag on the floor a few times as often as possible to spread the mixture.

Take the tent carpet out of the bag and spread it out again on the area you used previously. Now rinse the awning carpet with clear water from a bucket or garden hose.

The advantage of this method compared to cleaning with a hose and scrubber: you save a lot of strength and energy because the dirt is much easier to remove than with the garden hose or scrubber alone.

How to Dry Your Tent Carpet After Cleaning

The best way of drying after cleaning the tent carpet is a rotary dryer in the garden. The permanently installed rotary clothes dryers are stable enough to carry the heavy weight of the wet tent carpet.

Alternatively, you can let the tent carpet dry in the sun on the clean patio floor. However, you should turn the mat over when the top side has dried. You also need a fairly large area for this. Drying on the rotary dryer, on the other hand, is more convenient.

What to Do If the Awning Carpet Smells Strong?

Depending on the type of dirt and how long the tent carpet has been in use, pre or post-treatment is recommended to completely remove unpleasant odors. If you only wash the tent carpet at low temperatures in the machine or by hand, a bad smell often remains on the synthetic material.

Many campers often use an energy-saving program to wash textiles in order to protect the environment. But: The shorter the running time of the machine and the colder the water used, the more likely it is that odors will remain in the material.

Did you know that bacteria are only effectively killed above 60 degrees Celsius? So only use colder water if the outdoor mat does not give off any bad smells. For stubborn odors, we strongly recommend pre-treating and cleaning at high temperatures.

Pre-treat with fabric softener or odor remover

A solution to the annoying odor problem: fabric softener or odor eliminator. By the way, for the pre-treatment, we use Dr. Beckmann odor remover and are so far satisfied with the result in combination with washing powder in the machine.

If you decide to use this method, look out for products that, like the Dr. Beckmann odor removers have passed an endurance test (for example with cat urine – nothing smells worse!). This way you can ensure that the pre-treatment actually binds odors effectively.

If cleaning in a washing machine, simply put the odor remover or fabric softener in the fabric softener compartment provided in your machine. Do you use dr Beckmann? One cap (35 ml) is sufficient. Then add a measuring cup of washing powder and wash as described in tip 1 above.

For all other cleaning methods, we recommend placing the tent carpet in a large container or tub of hot water as a pre-treatment. Then add the fabric softener or odor eliminator, distribute it in the water bath, and leave the awning carpet to work for a few hours.

Coffee binds odors

Coffee is a good way to bind annoying smells. It may sound strange, but coffee actually binds and masks unpleasant odors quite effectively. To do this, put some ground coffee or a few coffee pods in a sturdy rubbish bag together with the awning carpet. It is best to tie the bag shut with duct tape or cable ties.

Now you let the wonderful aroma of the coffee take effect overnight. The worst smells in the tent carpet should now be history!


Cleaning the tent carpet isn’t magic. It is particularly important that you take care of the tent carpet regularly after every camping trip or vacation. Be thorough when cleaning and always allow it to dry completely before putting it away for storage. If you take these 5 tips to heart and follow them carefully, you will enjoy your tent carpet for a very long time and your next stay at the campsite will be a real pleasure.

Perhaps you are already the proud owner of such an outdoor mat. If not, then take a look at our buying guide on the subject of tent carpets, where we will present you with the best examples.

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