Can You Put a Tent in the Washing Machine

Can You Put a Tent in the Washing Machine? [Answered]

After spending a week in the great outdoors, it’s not just your clothes and gear that cry out for a thorough cleaning; it’s also your tent. And a washing machine could be the easiest option for this task. But can you put a tent in the washing machine?

You should not put a tent in the washing machine. It’s better to hand wash a tent. But if you want to use a washing machine, don’t use spin. Use a front loader, avoid strong detergents, bleach, scented products, and fabric softeners, bleach, and fabric softener. 

However, with caution and gentle care, you can give your tent a machine wash. There are some safest ways to do it. Let’s explore them for the safest machine wash of your tent. 

Can You Put a Tent in the Washing Machine?

This question needs a broad explanation instead of a straight answer. Washing your tent in the washing machine might sound good, but it comes with some risks. 

Firstly, the machine’s rough handling can rip your tent’s fabric and shorten its lifespan. Imagine your favorite jacket getting tangled in there – it’s like that, but worse.

Secondly, washing machines are like tent-eating monsters. Tents have a special waterproof layer on the outside. 

Detergent can strip away that waterproof coating. Your tent can easily snag on something and tear. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Lastly, don’t forget about warranties. Washing your tent in the machine can kiss that warranty goodbye. So check your tent’s warranty, especially if it’s brand new.

But ultimately, if you want to wash your tent in the washing machine, you must take the maximum level of caution. 

How to Machine Wash a Tent Without Damaging It?

You don’t have to worry about your tent when you put it into a washing machine if you follow our guide. Here are steps to machine wash a tent without damaging it: .

Materials to Wash Your Tent

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Mild soap
  • Soft brush or sponge
  • Warm water
  • Tub or large container
  • White wine vinegar
  • Drying rack or line

Step 1: Preparation

Start by taking your tent down and removing all the poles, stakes, and other attachments. 

Step 2: Put it into the Washing Machine

Now, gently place your tent into the washing machine. Add some mild detergent and set your machine to the delicate cycle. 

Step 3: Spin and Rinse

Once the cycle’s done, check your tent. If it’s not sparkling clean, don’t worry; you’re not stuck in a rinse-repeat loop. Just run the cycle again until you’re satisfied with the results.

Step 4: Dry Your Tent

After completing the washing cycle, carefully remove your tent from the washing machine. Choose a well-ventilated and sunny place to dry your tent. 

Give your tent a gentle shake to remove any excess water. This step helps reduce drying time.

If you have a sturdy clothesline or a place to hang your tent, that’s an excellent option. Use the tent’s loops or tabs to secure it without causing any stress on the fabric.

Spreading your tent out is another good option. Gravity is your friend in this process. It’ll help water naturally drip off the fabric.

Step 5: Reassembly Time

Reattach all the poles, stakes, and other bits and bobs to your tent. 

Step 6: Ready for Adventure

Your tent is fresh, clean, and ready for another epic camping season. Pack it up, hit the trails, and let the adventures begin.

Check this video for a better understanding –

How to Hand Clean Your Tent? Definitive Guide

Cleaning your tent by hand is a safe and effective way to keep it in top shape without risking damage in the washing machine. Here’s the  step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Pre-Cleaning Prep

Before you start, set up your tent outside to make the process easier. Use a brush to remove any loose debris, like dried dirt and leaves.

Step 2: Spot Cleaning

For general cleaning needs, grab a soft cloth or sponge and some dish soap. Spot-clean the tent by gently wiping areas as required. 

Step 3: Tough Spot

If you’re dealing with a tough spot, reach for an enzyme-based cleaner. Use it sparingly to avoid fabric damage.

Step 4: Sticky Situations

To remove sticky substances like insect waste and tree sap, use rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer. It shouldn’t harm the fabric when used in moderation.

Step 5: Full Tent Wash

If your entire tent needs a thorough cleaning, fill a bathtub with warm water and add dish soap. Then, gently rub the tent to remove stubborn stains.

Step 6: Rinse and Repeat

Rinse the tent thoroughly, making sure to remove all soap residue. If necessary, rewash the tent with white wine vinegar.

How to Clean A Tent With Mold?

Here’s a simple and effective way to clean a tent with mold:

  • Step 1: Mix a solution of 1 part bleach with 10 parts water.
  • Step 2: Apply this solution to the moldy areas using a sponge or brush.
  • Step 3: Let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Step 4: Rinse the tent thoroughly with clean water.
  • Step 5: Alternatively, you can use equal parts vinegar and water instead of bleach. Apply this mixture, let it sit for about an hour, and then rinse with clean water.

How Often Should You Wash Your Tent?

The frequency of washing your tent depends on how often and in what conditions you use it. In general, it’s advisable to clean your tent after every camping trip. 

This helps prevent the accumulation of grime and potential damage to the fabric and seams. For tents used frequently, a more thorough cleaning every season is recommended. 


Explore our frequently asked questions to get answers on tent and machine wash. 

Can you put a tent in the washing machine?

No, you can’t put a tent in the washing machine. Tents are too large and delicate for standard washing machines, and attempting to clean them this way can cause damage.

Can you put a moldy tent in the washing machine?

It’s not advisable to put a moldy tent in the washing machine. Moldy tents should be cleaned manually by scrubbing with a mild detergent. Machine washing can damage the fabric and may not completely remove the mold.

Can you put a tent in the washing machine top loader?

No, you shouldn’t put a tent in a top-loading washing machine. Tents aren’t suitable for machine washing due to their size and fragility. Hand cleaning or spot cleaning is recommended.


The question of whether you can put a tent in the washing machine is crystal clear: No, you should not do so. In contrast, it might seem to take the easy way out. 

Tents aren’t built to endure the spinning, tumbling, and soaking that a washing machine dishes out.

However, if you are supposed to do so, you must do it with proper caution. But the best way is hand washing. Gently scrub away dirt, stains, and any grime. Afterward, ensure it’s thoroughly rinsed and dried before storing it properly. 

This will help maintain the integrity of your tent, extend its lifespan, and keep you camping comfortably for seasons to come.

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