Home Beginners Camping Guide Can You Wash a Tent in the Washing Machine?

Can You Wash a Tent in the Washing Machine?

by Rayhan
Can You Wash a Tent in the Washing Machine

Can you wash a tent in the washing machine? Have you ever wondered? If you are anything like me, you might want to give your tent a proper wipe-down after each camping trip. It feels like throwing that stuff in the washer would provide us with the best result. But little do we know that washing a tent in a machine is dangerous.

Washing machines can harm your tent fabrics very severely. It affects not only the fabric; it damages the waterproof coating of the entire tent, which is an essential part of keeping the campers safe during camping. 

So, it’s crucial to be sincere regarding your technique for washing an unclean camping tent.

This article brings you some practical tips on washing a camping tent. From the materials to use to how often to clean a tent, every information will be discussed here based on comprehensive research sources. Keep reading to learn more.

The Reasons Why You Should Avoid Machine Washing a Tent

Many people have this false perception because tents are made of sturdy polyester and nylon material, so they can withstand any substances that go rough on them. But the truth is, fighting off natural elements and chemical elements is different for tents.

Typically, there are some crucial reasons to avoid machine washing a tent. Here’s a short, brief

1. Fabric Gets Stretched

As most tents are now composed of nylon and polyester, there’s a high possibility for these materials to stretch.

Nylon is a kind of stretchy material. So, when you put a nylon tent in a washing machine, the rapid cleaning cycles cause the fabric to stretch, making it thinner than before. 

And polyester is more delicate in its composition. So rather than stretching out, this fabric is prone to tear down quickly. 

2. Reduces the Material Quality

There are primarily two types of tents available: single-walled and double-walled. You may think double-walled tents can go under a machine wash as they feature a rainfly to protect their inner part. But that is also a wrong concept to follow.

The inner tent part features double-walled tents that are generally fragile. Therefore, they can rip up easily even if you put them in a gentle cycle wash. So, keep a double-wall tent away from the machine wash. 

Remember, if the inner part of your tent gets torn, the sole purpose of the tent will be wasted. That’s because it protects you from the bugs and colder nights during camping. 

On the contrary, single-walled tents feature water and UV-resistant layer on their outer side. Also, they are made to be lightweight. Thus washing them in a machine can make them much thinner.

3. Damages Protective Coating

Your tents have a waterproof coating that isn’t likely to be damaged so soon when you camp under inclement weather. But it can shatter when placed in a washer to withstand its spin. 

A washing machine may also damage the UV-protection coating of your tent. UV coating is an essential feature of a tent that’s layered onto the surface of a tent. If this protective layer gets damaged, you will less likely to be safe in your tent during summer camping. 

Remember, any tent coating can be washed away through a machine wash. Although every tent gets weakened in its features and functionalities over time, that doesn’t relate to making it weaker through a machine wash. 

Many people consider washing a new tent in a washer as such tents are more robust than older ones. But you should avoid this case too. This will make your tent susceptible to leaks and significantly shorten its lifespan.

4. Seams or Seam Tape May Rip

The seams on a camping tent have adhesive to seal them with seam tape. And these seam tape adhesives may come loose when you put your tent in your washer. It may also expose the tent to frequent holes and leaks by unwinding its wielded sewing component. 

In both nylon and polyester tents, you have the option to repair their seams. However, remember that the finishing will never be as excellent as a new tent. You will eventually have to cope with leaks or holes that allow the tiniest pests to enter your tent.

5. Mesh will Rip

Mesh windows and doors are common in tents and are sensitive to abrasive cleaning methods. Keeping tents with mesh ceilings away from machine washing is advisable because doing so destroys the mesh.

Keep in mind that mesh is a highly delicate component. To make it last longer, it needs to be carefully cared for. If you don’t, you’ll have some significant gaps that will allow bugs to build a home in your tent. 

How to Wash a Tent in a Safe Way

Cleaning a tent in a washing machine is not allowed, but you still need to keep it clean from dirt, mold, and mildew. After all, you cannot go on camping in the same filthy tent over and over again.

So, here are some tips:

  • First, ensure that your tent is clean and dry before washing it. This will help to stop any mold or growth of mold.
  • Next, set up your tent in a well-ventilated area. You don’t want any chemicals or cleaners in your tent’s air.
  • Use warm water and mild soap to wash the tent’s exterior. Avoid using harsh chemicals or detergents since they can harm the fabric.
  • Rinse the soap thoroughly with fresh water.
  • Before putting your tent away, let it thoroughly dry out in the air.

How Often to Wash a Tent?

Washing your tent is vital to prolonging its life, but how often should you wash it? Most people will say that you should wash your tent after every use. This is particularly true if you go camping in a dusty or polluted environment.

However, if you’re only using your tent for short hikes or backyard camping, you can probably get away with washing it every few uses.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding how often to wash your tent:

  • If your tent looks dirty, it’s probably time for a wash.
  • If you’ve been camping in an area with a lot of dust or pollen, it’s a good idea to clean your tent thoroughly.
  • If your tent has stains, clean the spot as soon as possible.
  • If your tent smells musty, it’s time for a wash.

So how frequently should your tent be washed? It truly depends on where and how often you utilize it. If you take proper care of your tent, it should last several seasons before replacing it.

Can You Wash a Canvas Tent in a Washing Machine?

A front-loading washer can handle cleaning a canvas tent, though you need to be a little sincere in this case.

  • First, ensure that your tent is made of 100% cotton canvas. If it’s not, washing it in a machine could damage the fabric.
  • Second, you’ll need to use a gentle cycle and mild detergent. This is key in ensuring that your tent doesn’t end up with any holes or tears.
  • Third, you’ll need to be sure to air-dry your tent afterward. 

So it’s essential to give your tent a chance to air out and recover before using it again.

In Summary

We hope the answer to can you wash a tent in a washing machine has been cleared out through this post. We have discussed the top five reasons why it’s dangerous to machine clean a tent, mainly polyester and nylon-composed tents. 

However, in the case of a canvas tent, you may consider machine washing it. You may also dry-wash your tent rather than opt for the machine wash. And for the home-based washing method, try to avoid warm soapy water and use cold water. 

What are you still holding out for? Have you got a soggy tent in your storage? Then start washing it right away!

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, although it’s not recommended to do so. But still, if you think your tent has been muddy, you may consider this method.

Just make sure to choose a gentle cycle and light detergent. Also, remember to follow the care directions on the label of your tent, then you’ll be good to go.

You can keep your tent clean and fresh for many camping trips with a bit of care.

Just about anything. Any detergent, bio-degradable soap will do the trick. But these cleaning items should be mild and shouldn’t contain bleach.

If necessary, you may even use dish soap. Just rinse it well afterward, as soap can leave a residue that can attract dirt and grime.

The answer is yes, you can put a tent in the dryer, but there are a few things you should keep in mind.

First, ensure that the tent is completely dry before putting it in the dryer. Otherwise, it could mildew.

Second, use the lowest setting on the dryer and don’t overdo it. You don’t want to shrink your tent!

Finally, as soon as it’s finished, take the clean tent out of the dryer and let it air dry.

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