How to Clean Your Bell Tent

Solar radiation, UV, rain and any extreme weather will affect the waterproofing of your bell tent.

Applying a new coating with care demands time and effort, but extends the life span of your tent considerably. The canvas has been impregnated with anti-mould agents before leaving the factory, but when using the tent often or in a harsh a environment this process needs be repeated on a regular basis.

Before EU rules and regulations applied, heavy chemical products were used to impregnate tents. These products lasted longer, but were harmful to the environment and our health. The products we use are 100% biodegradable and can be applied by you without protective clothing.

For the removal of the black mould staining, many have had great success with a brand called Concrobium, it’s product Mould stain eraser peroxide derived from Thyme, which isn’t particularly harsh on the canvas or has any harmful environmental afterlife.



There are many different types available in the market, I’d recommend
applying a water based one for environmental consideration and also
better breathability after application. I’ve used Bradproof with

Soapy Water:

warm soapy water is fine as long as the soap isn’t too strong (as in detergent that can be abrasive to fabric). I personally don’t use this step very often.

Bird droppings:

I usually brush off bird dropping when everything is dry… otherwise let the rain and sun take care of it, it will disappear soon enough.


Vinegar is something that can be done in between the deep cleans with product. Think of the vinegar as a mid maintenance step that can be done on a more regular basis. This can also be done with borax.


The waterproofing step will be done after cleaning proceedures such as concrobium moud stain eraser or heavy Borax treatment.

Commercial Cleaning:


The easiest way to re-waterproof your bell tent:

  1. Pitch your tent and make sure the tent is 100% dry.
  2. Remove dust and dirty with a hard brush.
  3. Use Bradproof waterproofing agent. 1 litre approximately covers 6m square.
  4. Apply the waterproofing agent with a paint roller. The cotton needs to be soaked properly.
  5. Let your tent dry in the wind, preferably not in the sun.

If the cotton canvas of your bell tent has been affected by mould, mildew or weather conditions, do as follows:

  1. Moisten the cotton.
  2. Dissolve 1 unit of bleaching liquid into 10 units of water.
  3. Apply the solution to the wet canvas and let the canvas absorb it for about 30 minutes. Prolong the absorption time if necessary.
  4. Rinse the canvas with plenty of water.
  5. Clean the canvas using Ultramar Shampoo, so there is no bleaching liquid left on the canvas.
  6. Let your tent dry properly.

Use Bradproof to protect the cotton against fungi, algae, filthy water, etc. A perfect waterproofing agent to make cotton tents waterproof is BRADPROOF. It is an environment-friendly product, non-toxic and biologically degradable. Tent rental places and army tents have used it with excellent result since 1943. The product is water based, without solvents or hydrocarbons. The usage varies between approximately 8 m² and 12 m² a litre. It is possible for a gray shine to appear on dark-coloured cotton after treatment; after a few downpours, however, this will disappear.  Some companies industrially impregnate cotton in case you don’t want to do it yourself. The cotton is first cleaned and then impregnated under high pressure. This, however, is quite expensive.

Feedback from a recent customer:“I had good success with a generic “Coles” brand sodium percarbonate solution. The larger tent was parked close to a gum tree so attracted a lot of pollen and some nighttime critters leaving a black discharge on the tents. After soaking in a wheelie bin overnight, washing off and drying for 2 days, it looks brand new. “