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Can a tent go in the washing machine?

can a tent go in the washing machine

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Camping has some great health and relaxation benefits but, there is one thing that is certain, you are probably going to look forward to a bath or shower when you get home.

Your things will get dirty and, if the weather is wet and muddy then everything will need a good wash. Even when it is dry the tent and other items get dusty and will need cleaning. The great thing is that most of the gear can go in the washing machine.

But, what about the tent? Can it go in the washer?

If you want the best life possible from your tent then you cannot put it into the washing machine. Washing machines can easily tear a tent, pull out stitches and seams, melt the fabrics and glues that are used in the manufacture of the tent and destroy the waterproofing properties. The modern materials used in tents are simply not suitable for any form of machine washing or drying and, should you use a machine for cleaning your tent then you will probably destroy it.

What is the best way to clean a tent?

The best way to clean a tent is to make every effort to keep it clean while you are using it.

Try to avoid allowing muddy and dirty boots and other items inside the tent and, instead leave them outside.

Likewise make sure that any spillages and other mishaps are cleaned up immediately before they become a problem.

If the exterior of your tent becomes dirty then try to wipe it down with a non abrasive cloth or sponge before you take the tent down. Use clean, warm water and only use soap on really dirty areas, keeping this to as minimal as possible.

Once you have wiped the tent down, allow it to dry before you take it down and pack it away.

How do you get rid of mold on a tent?

If you pack your tent away when it is wet then, there is a very good chance that the next time you get it out to use, it will have areas of mold.

Mold can have health implications and is unpleasant but it can be quite easy to take care of.

Warm water and a soap based detergent will often get rid of mold with the use of a small brush or sponge.

For more persistent areas of mold a dilute bleach solution should be enough to kill the spores and prevent a recurrence.

What are the best things to use for cleaning a tent?

Before you clean your tent you will need:

To choose a dry day – the only way that you will get your tent really clean is to put it up and clean it while it is setup.

The best time to do it is when the weather is warm and dry and you have enough time to wash it, dry it out and treat it.

A bucket with soap and water – a mild soap solution, diluted in lukewarm water is best.

Baby shampoo or mild handsoap can do the job. You can also purchase detergents specifically for tent cleaning – we recommend Nilwax which you can get on Amazon here.

A selection of cleaning items – a soft brush, sponge and some cloths will be needed.

Tent waterproofing – Cleaning the tent will remove the waterproofing treatment and you’ll need to redo this. It is easy and we use spray on treatments such as this one – KIWI which you’ll find here.

Time – your tent will need time to dry out – both after you have washed it and then again after you have applied the waterproofing.

Can you clean a tent with bleach?

Bleach is a really strong chemical that is very effective at killing bacteria and, when used in small amounts and with care, can be useful in getting rid of areas of mold in your tent.

You should, however, not use bleach as a general means of cleaning your tent as it could remove dyes and affect the quality and strength of the tent fabric.

Soap and water should be enough to get your tent clean.

How do you get the musty smell out of a tent?

A tent will become musty if it has been stored in a damp place or was put away wet. If your tent is musty then you should check it for signs of mold and remove this before you use it.

Often the easiest and best way to get rid of the musty smell is to put the tent up on a warm and sunny day, open all of the doors and vents and let it air thoroughly.

Hosing the tent down, internally and externally will help to get rid of the smell but you should only do this when it is hot enough to dry the tent properly.

If all else fails you can get Odor eliminator products which mix with water and are then apllied to the tent to remove the smell.

can a tent go in the washing machine

How often should I wash my tent?

In an ideal world you should never wash your tent.  You should only ever need to spot clean areas of your tent and a full on tent washing should be something that you should never attempt.

Washing your tent will probably do it more harm than good, it takes ages and, if you think about it, you are just going to put it up again, outside, and it will get dirty again.

You should look after your tent but this should take the form of routine maintenance after every use, checking and repairing any damage, perhaps a wipe down of muddy areas.

Final Words

Do not put your tent in the washing machine, your washer will probably destroy your tent and, in the process could also damage itself.

You should never need to fully wash your tent unless you abuse it and allow it to get filthy.

The best way is to wipe it down with warm water and allow it to dry naturally.

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