The lure of returning home from a day of camping exhausted and then tossing your tent’s mess in the washer is perfectly normal.

However, can you wash your tent using the washing machine? Another method, should you wash your tent with a washer?

The simple answer is No (sorry we’re not putting up a dramatic show here). However, we’ll discuss the reasons behind this and provide some helpful tips to clean your tent in the proper manner.

How Do Tents Get Dirty?

Tents are great for camping. All you need is a few easy-to manage tools and knowledge of how to use them, then it’s off into the wilderness with your tent.

The shelter is equipped with all the basic amenities to ensure your safety, comfort and protection.

The exterior of your tent will be subject to mud, pests and rain. You may pick up various debris while hiking or camping which ends up inside the shelter no matter how careful you are with care-taking efforts. A vestibule can make all the difference in keeping it clean during these rugged trips outdoors.

Camping trips are always fun but they can also be a hassle to clean up after. For most people, the time spent cleaning is one of their least favorite parts about camping.

Can You Put Your Tent In A Washing Machine?

Tents are strong enough to handle strong winds, heavy rains, and even snowstorms, which means they’re likely to be safe in the washer isn’t it?

Not quite. The idea of having your tent twirl inside a huge cylindrical space with fabric panels getting cleaned and entangled is a different thing entirely.

The movements of a washing machine can be very harsh and could have negative consequences for even the toughest tents. Even if you set your machine to its most gentle wash setting It can nevertheless damage the waterproof coating of your tent and meshes.

The conclusion is no don’t do it.

Reason’s Why You Shouldn’t Put A Tent In A Washing Machine

The ability to stay dry has always been a challenge for humans, but until World War II there were no other options than just pitching our tents over dirt or sitting in wet grass.

The design of today’s tents is not as water-resistant and durable because they have many seams that create small holes along the sides. These leaks allow rainwater to seep through even in light showers, which can cause problems for campers who may be sleeping inside their tent.

Tentmakers take care of this problem by taping a thin polyurethane film beneath the seams, which are vulnerable to damage from harsh motions in washing machines. It only takes one small hole for rainwater or dust particles enter your tent and cause absolute chaos inside.

Modern tents have mesh and vents to prevent condensation from forming in their interior fabric. This is especially useful if you’re camping during cold weather, because it can be very frustrating when your sleeping bag turns into a wet sponge.

Vents and meshes are the most brittle parts of a tent. And they’re the most likely to be ripped and torn in a washer even after 15 minutes of gentle cycles.

Also, we’ll say it once more, don’t clean your tent with an appliance for washing.

Method’s You Can Use To Wash A Tent?

Cleaning your tent the right method isn’t difficult. It will ensure that you are able to take pleasure in your tent for decades to come.

There are two primary methods of washing your tent. Both methods we go over in detail in our cleaning your tent guide. However, we’ll briefly discuss both options in the following paragraphs.

The Garden Hose 

This method is like washing your vehicle. It will require the same cleaning products similar to the Tub Method However, it’s cleaning the camping tent out in the open most likely in your driveway or garage.

  1. Again, you’ll have remove your tent from any dust or dirt that’s left on the surface. Do a thorough sweep of the floor or vacuum, then be sure to perform the flip-and-shake technique to get rid of anything you may have missed.
  2. Make use of a garden hose to take away any mud, leaves as well as hard water staining that may be accumulating outside your tent. This Garden Hose method is useful in the event that your tent is extremelydirty. A large amount of mud that has been caked and forest debris can swiftly block the drain of your bathtub or shower.
  3. Then, dip your sponge that isn’t abrasive in detergent and scrub away any remaining stains that water pressure from your garden hose did not wash off.
  4. Wash the detergent off. Set your tent up on an old clothesline or hang it over the wall.

Don’t do not place a Tent in the dryer to accelerate drying. Be sure to put the tent in a fold and put it away after it has dried completely.

Wash in A Tub

To use the tub method you’ll need three items:

  • A non-abrasive sponge
  • Tent soap or mild dish soap, without harsh whiteners or powerful chemicals
  • A large bucket or bathtub

Cleaning Instructions

  1. Clean any debris that may be in the interior of your tent using the help of a vacuum cleaner or broom. Sometimes, it’s even beneficial to turn your tent to 90 degrees and shake it vigorously to clear any dirt that may have been sunk into the floor.
  2. Clean up any troublesome areas as they are easily accessible. It is possible to use a toothbrush or a non-abrasive sponge for this.
  3. Unzip the zippers of your tent, then put it in the tub to soak up the water and dishwashing mix. Clean the rest of the tent using a non-abrasive cloth. Don’t forget to clean seams and zippers.
  4. Rinse the soap off thoroughly.
  5. Set up the tent over a clothing line, or place it on the wall, and let it dry completely.

When Is The Time To Wash Your Tent?

There’s no rule of thumb for when to wash your tent, but it depends on what you want. For some people they prefer a more natural look and feel while others might need an extra clean surface with fresh moisture in order not get any mildew or bacteria growing inside which could lead them into disaster.

Tents are not meant to be left out in the rain, so if you notice any signs of mold or mildew on it then wash your tent right away! If there is a foul smell coming from inside as well when wet-wet season comes around again make sure that all leaks have been sealed before leaving for good.

Make sure you vacuum your tent after every use. Remove any stones, leaves and dirt that have made their way into the interior of this important piece in order to help keep it clean.

If you wash your tent, make sure that it’s completely dry before storing. This will prevent the growth of mold and mildew in any moisture on its surface.

The Way To Store A Tent Properly

When storing your tent, make sure that you protect it from dirt and moisture. If possible store in an area where there isn’t any natural debris or leaves on the ground to avoid getting caught up with anything sticky.

If you’re looking to store your tent in an enclosed area, make sure there is no excess humidity and that the space has cool dry air.

Make sure to check your tent for any insects before putting it away. Ants, moth pupas and caterpillars can attach themselves while you are camping and if they do then there is no way of knowing until after the fact.

There are many factors that can affect the durability of your tent. Make sure it’s dry, clean and pest free before putting away.

By Anthony Paton

Anthony Paton, the outdoorsman who loves to report all sorts of interesting stories about camping in Great Britain. He's based out London and doesn't get much time for himself these days because work commitments keep him away on occasion but does what he can with what little free time there is.