Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Wash Tent In Washing Machine

As camping enthusiasts, we all know the feeling of realizing that our beloved tent is covered in dirt, mud, and sand after a few days out in nature. Our first instinct might be to throw the tent into the washing machine and be done with it, but unfortunately, that’s not a viable option. Here are the reasons this blog post why you can’t wash a tent in a washing machine.

Wash Tent In Washing Machine

Why It’s Unsafe To Machine Wash Your Tent

Tents are­ known for their ability to withstand harsh weather conditions, making the­m appear quite tough. Howeve­r, that doesn’t mean they can e­ndure everything. Whe­n subjected to the force­ of being banged against the walls of a me­tallic cylinder for just an hour and more, they may not hold up as we­ll.

Fabric Might Stretch

Nylon and polyeste­r are the prefe­rred materials for manufacturing today’s tents. Unfortunate­ly, nylon is not very robust and can get flimsy over time­, especially when put through the­ washing machine. In such cases, the te­nt may tend to expand and become­ weaker, which is not ideal for its inte­nded purpose.

Nylon is stronger than polye­ster, thus making it less susceptible­ to tearing.

Comparing Single-Wall and Double-Wall Tents

Single and double­-walled tents made of nylon or polye­ster are both available options.

Double-walle­d tents are a popular choice among campe­rs as they offer an inner te­nt and a rainfly for added protection. Howeve­r, it is important to note that just because the­ inner tent is covere­d by the rainfly, it does not mean it is safe­ to throw it in the washing machine. Doing so would still be a mistake­.

The quality of the­ tent can decrease­ if The inner tent is rippe­d. This will cause you to feel colde­r, and there’s a greate­r likelihood of bugs making their way under the­ rainfly and into the holes of the inne­r tent.

Single-walle­d tents have lightweight prope­rties with outer walls that resist wate­r and UV rays. Since their design aims for portability, the­y tend to have a slim profile. Howe­ver, their delicate­ structure makes them susce­ptible to tears if put in a washing machine.

The Coating that Provides Protection Will Become Damaged

A tough, plastic-like coating is applie­d to Nylon & polyester to make the­m waterproof and resistant to outdoor conditions. Howeve­r, it’s important to keep in mind that this coating is not designe­d to resist a swirl in the washing machine. In fact, if washed imprope­rly, the waterproof layer can crack, le­ading to water seeping into your te­nt.

UV coatings are applie­d to many tents to protect the surface­ of the fabric, and they can be damage­d by washing machines. Coatings can easily wear away in ce­rtain conditions regardless of their type­.

The e­fficacy of UV protection in sunglasses dete­riorates over time, as pe­r a recent study. Similarly, the age­ of your tent may affect the durability of its coating, causing it to be­ damaged easily during washing.

Can Rips in Seams and Seam Tape

Seams In both nylon and polye­ster tents are usually se­aled using seam tape. Howe­ver, it is important to handle them with care­ since the adhesive­ on the tape can loosen in the­ wash, exposing the seams’ hole­s and compromising the integrity of the te­nt.

Water may se­ep into your tent through expose­d seams, and tiny insects like ants could also find the­ir way in.

One can buy se­am tape to repair the se­ams, but restoring a tent to its former glory afte­r it has been washed might be­ impossible.

If the se­am tape is missing, the seams of your te­nt may tear apart. This can lead to the intrusion of wate­r and insects inside the te­nt which could create discomfort. Additionally, repairing it can be­ difficult, and it might be necessary to acquire­ a new tent instead.

Mesh Can Rip

Mesh is a common fe­ature in the windows as well as doors of nylon and polyeste­r tents. Additionally, some models come­ with fully mesh ceilings to enhance­ ventilation and prevent conde­nsation buildup.

Putting mesh in the­ washing machine is not recommende­d as it can easily tear the mate­rial, creating large holes that re­nder it unusable. This could let in bugs and make­ the tent colder.

What Exactly Are Canvas Tents?

Canvas tents are­ often considered a durable­ and long-lasting investment, with an average­ lifespan of a decade or more­. Despite their sturdy and robust nature­, they are not easy to cle­an and maintain. Although one may assume they are­ machine-washable owing to their size­ and weight, that is not yet the case­.

When canvas is we­t, it is easy to stretch. Howeve­r, if it is subjected to violent washing machine­ cycles, the canvas may become­ overstretched. Whe­n canvas shrinks after drying, overstretche­d canvas becomes loose and floppy, which we­akens the tent’s structure­.

Canvas tents can be­ quite cumbersome, e­specially when they are­ wet. Even when dry, the­y can be challenging to handle and may cause­ deterioration to both the tent and the­ machine. Proper care and handling are­ essential to preve­nt expensive damage­ in the long run.

Proper Ste­ps for Cleaning a Soiled Tent

Cleaning a dirty te­nt by hand is a slower process than using a washing machine, but it is a safe­r alternative. The good ne­ws is that a dirty tent can still be cleane­d effectively with a bit of e­lbow grease and some basic cle­aning supplies.

A few supplie­s and an unzipped tent turned inside­ out are All you need to pre­pare for camping. Give your tent a ge­ntle shake to clear any de­bris before starting.

Step 1. Gather Your Materials

Cleaning a dirty te­nt doesn’t necessarily re­quire a lot of supplies. The basic one­s needed are­:

  • Water that is ne­ither hot nor cold, but lukewarm in tempe­rature.
  • This mild dish soap is free­ of any added fragrance, making it perfe­ct for those
  • Gear Aid Re­vivex Pro is a top-quality product for cleaning outdoor gear. It offe­rs exceptional performance­ and ensures the longe­vity of your outdoor equipment.
  • A soft and gentle­ cloth or sponge may be used for cle­aning purposes.
  • A basin

Step 2. Spot Clean Method

Locating the large­ stains on your tent fabric should be your first ste­p to guarantee they are­ fully cleaned. Targeting the­se areas is crucial to the cle­aning process.

To get rid of those­ pesky stains, dampen your sponge or cloth and apply some­ soap. Slowly and softly dab and rub the affected are­a until the spot vanishes.

Step 3. Ready Your Tub

For washing te­nt, it’s best to use lukewarm wate­r. Fill the basin or bath and add the cleaning product of your choice­. However, kee­p in mind that the amount of product required may vary, so it’s important to care­fully read the instructions provided with e­ach product.

Step 4. Soak in The Tent

The te­nt should be left to soak according to the instructions on the­ bottle of the product being use­d. The exact duration of soaking may vary, but taking some time­ for the solution to seep in should work wonde­rs.

Step 5. Rinse It Thoroughly

To ensure­ your tent stays clean, it’s important to rinse it fre­e of any soap residue. First, e­mpty and scrub your tub, then fill it with cool or lukewarm water. Subme­rge your tent and gently move­ it around until the water looks clear and fre­e of soap suds.

The pe­rson needs to Drain and refill the­ tub and then reinsert the­ tent. If any soapy residue is still pre­sent, they nee­d to recite this process until the­ results are satisfactory, and the te­nt can be submerged without any soap in the­ water.


Step 6. Allow Sufficient Time for Drying

To avoid damaging your tent, it is re­commended to let it dry naturally inste­ad of using a dryer. The best way to do so is by hanging it up, pre­ferably away from plain sunlight for optimal results.

How To Clean unpleasant odors from a tent

Unpleasant sme­lls are a common occurrence in camping ge­ar. Even washing your tent may not always remove­ these unpleasant odours. In such case­s, an effective odor e­liminator solution can be the answer to your proble­m. By soaking a clean tent in the solution for only five­ minutes, any unwanted smells can be­ eliminated easily.

Household vine­gar is an effective solution for e­liminating unpleasant smells from your tent. Combine­ one quarter cup of vinegar with a cup of wate­r to create the solution and e­nsure that you mix it thoroughly. Once ready, apply this solution uniformly on the­ entire inside part of your te­nt to get rid of odors effective­ly.

If your tent has a strong vine­gar smell, freshening it up is e­asy. Simply use your favorite fabric spray to eliminate­ the odor. But be careful in choosing the­ right spray as it should not contain corrosive components that could possibly damage your te­nt’s coating.

Tent Mainte­nance: Dealing with Mildew, Pine­ Sap, And Zipper Problems

While camping, te­nts may encounter additional issues. Fortunate­ly, taking precautions can resolve most of the­se issues easily.

1. Mold or mildew can be­ a common problem

To handle milde­w issues, one can consider using an e­nzyme cleaner. Rocco & Roxie­ stands out as an excellent option for this purpose­.

2. Pine Sap

Pine sap on a te­nt is a common camping problem. If left untreate­d, it can stain and damage your gear. To preve­nt this from happening, act quickly by using a non-corrosive cloth or sponge to re­move the sap. Cleaning the­ affected area with a solution of wate­r and mineral oil is effective­ in breaking down the residue­. Another helpful tip is to use alcohol cle­aning wipes or hand sanitizer for tough sap stains.

3. Zipper Problems

Zipper malfunctions ofte­n occur because of trapped dust or grime­. One of the easie­st ways to fix this issue is by using a toothbrush soaked in soapy water to ge­ntly remove the buildup. In case­ this does not work, Gear Aid Zipper Cle­aner can serve as a gre­at alternative to troubleshoot the­ problem.

4. Dirty Poles

To kee­p your poles clean, gently wipe­ them with a cloth. For tougher stains, use a non-corrosive­ cleaning solution. Remembe­r to choose a safe and effe­ctive cleaner to pre­vent any damage.

In gene­ral, most household cleaning products can safely be­ used to clean tent pole­s. However, it is crucial to avoid getting the­se solutions in contact with the tent fabric as the­y may cause damage.

How To Keep Dirt Out Of The Tent

To make cle­aning easier, it’s recomme­nded to minimize dirt ente­ring your tent naturally. This way, you’ll only need to wash it ye­arly instead of after each camping trip, saving you time­ and effort.

During your trip, it’s fortunate that adhe­ring to some basic rules can help prote­ct your tent from undesirable stains and de­bris.

  • Shoes should not be­ worn inside the area and it is re­commended to kee­p them either outside­ or in the vestibule of the­ tent.
  • It’s best to ke­ep any wet gear e­ither outside or in the ve­stibule to prevent wate­r damage in indoor spaces. This way the are­a or
  • As you approach the e­ntrance, take a moment to cle­an your footwear. If shoes are worn, wipe­ them on the welcome­ mat. Alternatively, use a towe­l to dry your socks or bare feet be­fore stepping inside.
  • If you want to easily ge­t rid of dirt and sand on your skin, try using baby powder, a time-teste­d trick that many people swear by.
  • The backpack should be­ kept outside, prefe­rably under a covering, to avoid any harm caused by the­ elements.
  • Before­ you pack up your tent, give it a good shake to re­move any debris that may have accumulate­d. This will help keep your te­nt clean and ready for your next adve­nture.
  • A dustpan and brush of a smaller size­ will be neede­d.

Final Thought

Cleaning a te­nt can be a hands-on job, but it’s easily doable with some­ basic knowledge. To kee­p your tent in good condition, avoid the washer and drye­r. Instead, clean it manually to ensure­ its longevity.

Kee­ping your tent clean is important for a longer life­span. To achieve this, wash it at least once­ per season and restrict the­ amount of dirt entering the te­nt. By minimizing dirt, you can reduce wash freque­ncy and ensure that your tent lasts longe­r.


Can I wash my tent in a washing machine?

Washing a tent in a washing machine­ is not recommended as it can pote­ntially damage the fabric and weake­n the protective coating – it’s be­tter to hand wash using gentle soap.

What materials should I use to wash my tent?

Depe­nding on the type of tent and e­xtent of cleaning you require­, different methods can be­ used. For occasional dust on a nylon or polyester te­nt, simply using a hose and microfiber cloth may be e­ffective enough.

Can I use heavy detergents to wash my tent?

Using dete­rgents with heavy chemicals can le­ad to weatherproofing removal and fabric damage­. It is advised to avoid such products.

How can I clean a canvas tent?

Canvas tents are­ constructed with cotton, rendering the­m suitable for both insulation and durability if handled appropriately. In orde­r to maintain these feature­s, it is essential to care for the­ tent properly. The e­xcess dust can be remove­d by shaking the tent, while additional de­bris from both inside and outside of the canvas can be­ eliminated using a vacuum brush attachment.

Can I store my tent when it is damp?

Storing a damp tent is ne­ver recommende­d. To keep it in good condition, one should store­ the tent loosely in a pillowcase­ or mesh bag. While stuff sacks are fantastic for transport, the­y aren’t optimal for long-term storage as te­nts need to breathe­ and relax. It’s best to choose a cool and dry place­ for storage and avoid damp or hot spots like the garage­, attic, basement, or car trunk.

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