After a week in the great outdoors, everything seems to need a good scrub. Our hair, clothes, skin, shoes, and yes, even our tent. Most of the time our tent is mostly dusty, but it occasionally needs a thorough cleaning.

In times like these, you really get the feeling to just throw your tent into the washing machine and just get rid of all the dirt. 

All the dirt inside and outside of the tent comes from different places and different reasons because it must withstand bad weather, and this is where your tent can become quite filthy. 

In other words, tents are extremely prone to dirt, and if your tent is dirty, you might want to clean it. That brings up the question, “can you wash a tent in the washing machine?”

Is It Safe to Wash a Tent in the Washing Machine?

No, the Tents should not be washed in a washing machine because the force inside is too tough for the tent. You could specifically harm the tent’s mesh, coating, and seams and your tent’s fabric might also get ripped. All of this leads to the answer that it is not safe to wash a tent in the washing machine. 

But, if you feel there’s no way around it, it’s best to wash the tent in an industrial-sized front loading washing machine (avoid washing in a top loader) and be sure to use a gentle cycle and treat it with some sprays for weather proofing and UV proofing afterward.

Why It’s Unsafe To Machine Wash Your Tent?

Can You Wash A Tent In The Washing Machine (1)

Tents are resilient and long-lasting enough to withstand rain, snow, wind, and even an unforgiving sun. That does not imply that it is strong enough to withstand an hour in a thrashing washing machine.

Tents are portable lightweight shelters. The characteristics that allow it to do its job well, however, do not bode well when thrown inside a washing machine.

In a rough and tumble washing machine, the tent’s seams are likely to be damaged. Even if you change the setting to a gentle cycle, this would usually be sufficient to mitigate the potential damage.

The seams, also known as seam taping, seal up small holes that form when the tent’s layers are sewn together. If the seam taping is damaged or comes off inside the washing machine, your tent will not be able to keep water out when it rains.

If this is the case, your tent is rendered useless. You will be at the mercy of any sudden rain due to the unpredictability of weather. And a single shower can ruin your camping trip and wet all of your belongings.

Similarly, the mesh on your tent is in charge of proper air ventilation and airflow. This is usually the most fragile part of the tent. The material will almost certainly break inside the machine, resulting into large holes in the mesh.

The tent will be useless at this point because there will be a freeway for bugs to enter your tent whenever they want. It’s also unappealing from an aesthetic perspective.

The coating is also an important part of the tent. It is vulnerable to damage from the washing machine. The waterproof layer is what prevents the tent from being soaked. It is without a doubt the tent’s most essential design. Your washing machine’s spinning forces may crack and compromise the coating, rendering this feature unusable.

To summarize, putting your tent in the washing machine is a bad idea on multiple levels. Although the washing machine’s cycles are far too harsh for the tent to withstand, you can clean your tent the old-fashioned way.

Tips for Cleaning a Tent

  • Preparing the tent for cleaning entails going outside, unzipping the tent doors, and turning it inside out. Shake the tent to get rid of any loose debris. 
  • Clean the tent on the spot: Extra-dirty areas should be scrubbed with a cloth or sponge and a drop or two of mild dish soap. Never use abrasive or harsh cleaning products, such as bleach, spot remover, or laundry pre-soaking products. 
  • Soak the tent in water: Fill a bathtub or utility sink halfway with cool to lukewarm water and add an outdoor-specific cleaner. Allow the inside-out tent and rainfly to soak in water. 
  • Drain the tub and refill it with clean water to rinse the tent. To rinse the tent, swish it around. Repeat until all of the soap has been used up.
  • Dry the tent: Place the tent in a shady outdoor location and allow it to dry for several hours.

How To Properly Store Your Tent After Washing?

After washing your tent, the next step is to properly store it. Never store your tent for an extended period of time unless it has been thoroughly dried out.

Failure to do so may result in mold and mildew growth, as well as a foul odor in your tent. Obviously, if you’re just leaving a campsite and your tent is still wet, you can put it away temporarily, but remember to take it out to dry completely when you get home.

The best place to store your tent isn’t in the bag it came in. Those bags are too close together for the fabric to breathe. If possible, store your tent more loosely than the bag it came in allows. You can and should lightly cover it with a dry cloth or towel to keep dust at bay.

Not putting the tent in a completely sealed bag will help it last longer and prevent the fabric from becoming moldy or mildewed due to trapped unseen moisture that may still be present in the tent even if it appears to be completely dry.

If at all possible, keep your tent inside to avoid being exposed to the elements at all times. If you don’t want to bring it into the house, a garage or shed would be ideal. The shock cords inside the tent poles should be stored in such a way that the tension on them is reduced.

Proper pole storage will also extend the life of the poles, which is necessary to keep the tent functional. Cleanly store your tent, and it will pay back to you by lasting a long time.

Can You Wash A Tent In The Washing Machine (3)

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Machine Wash A Coleman Tent?

No, you cannot use a washing machine to clean your tent. However, you can use a mild soap and sponge to wipe off the dirt away from your tent. And then always let it air dry before packing it again.

Can You Wash A Canvas Tent In A Washing Machine?

No, as said above that you cannot throw your tent into the washing machine just to get rid of the dirt. The canvas will stay in good condition if you brush it inside and out with a soft bristle brush on a regular basis and hose it down with cold, clean water. Keep your canvas or external cover connected. Make certain that the canvas is not exposed to any gasoline, solvents, kerosene, or other similar substances. During camping, make sure that no bushes or vines intrude on your campsite.

Can You Put A Tent In A Front Loading Washing Machine?

Previously, you couldn’t use any front-loading washing machine to clean your tent. Spinning, contact with the steel cylinder, and any chemicals used, including agitators, can all result in lifelong damage. As you can see, this type of washing causes harm to these parts.

Can You Put A Tent Carpet In The Washing Machine?

It all depends on the carpet in your tent! Single-layer carpets without backing can be washed, but make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions first. Rips and wear can occur with stronger cycles. Machine washing can rip the stitching of layered, insulated tent carpets and damage tent carpets with PVC or other waterproof backing.

Can You Put A Nylon Tent In The Washing Machine?

Never, ever wash a nylon tent in the washing machine! Flexing and abrasion will harm the floor coating and fly. If the tent is not too large, it may be possible to wash it by hand in the bathtub at home. Use as little detergent as possible when washing the nylon tent.

Can You Wash A Vango Tent?

Before storing your tent, make sure it is completely dry and free of dirt. We do not recommend washing any tent in a washing machine because it may cause damage to both the machine and the tent.

Can You Wash My Inner Tent In The Washing Machine?

Yes, the inner tent can be machine washed in cold water with a mild detergent. Active mold and mildew will be removed, but mildew stains in the fabric may remain.

Can You Put Picnic Mat In Washing Machine?

Picnic blankets can be machine washed if they need to be cleaned up quickly. Sometimes the blankets can be spot cleaned in the dishwasher, but they must always be dry cleaned. Because the mats do not allow rinsing, it is not possible to machine-wash polypropylene picnic blankets. The mats, on the other hand, can be easily washed and rinsed with a garden hose.

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