How To Clean Canvas Tent

Tents made of canvas make for good temporary shelters, and campers and people who go on other kinds of outdoor adventures often use them. Due to the fact that these tents are made of canvas, the fabric has the potential to become soiled very rapidly when it is exposed to the elements, such as dust, dirt, or mud.

Mold and mildew can also begin to grow on certain canvas tents after being subjected to rain or other wet circumstances for an extended period of time. The good news is that washing a canvas tent isn’t quite as difficult as it might sound! To begin, all that is required of you is to brush away any dust or grime that may be present on the surface before washing it with soap and water. In the end, you will need to completely remove any trace of soap by rinsing it off with cold water and allowing it to dry on its own.

Even while it may seem like a lot of labor, doing so can allow your canvas tent to last for a significantly longer period of time. In this detailed walkthrough, we will not only show you how to completely clean a canvas tent, but we will also provide you with some helpful pointers on how to properly maintain it so that it will survive for many years to come.

You probably want to know how to clean your canvas tent, don’t you? The answer is as easy as washing, drying, and putting it away. In order to keep its effectiveness consistent over time, you may occasionally need to “season” it or add a waterproofing spray to it. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s discuss how to go about doing all of this and addressing any concerns you might have.

Care and feeding of canvas tents

Every once in a while, even the best canvas tents will require a little bit of maintenance and repair. If you believe that the waterproofing may be deteriorating, you can add more waterproofing sprays. Before putting them away, you will need to clean them well and eliminate any mold and mildew. Under no circumstances should you ever pack a tent that has not been thoroughly cleaned. In addition, you should never pack the tent until it is totally dry. You do not want to risk getting mildew, bacteria, creases, and ultimately a loss of the tent’s elasticity by folding it while it is wet, which is what would happen if you did so.

Let’s go into more detail now that we’ve covered the most important safety precautions.

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Storage for tents

After you have finished cleaning your tent, you will need to pack it up. It is imperative that your tent not be packed when damp, improperly folded, or soiled with mud and leaves. Or, what’s even worse, the canvas may be treated directly with insecticides and then packed with the pesticides. When you want to use them again, these items will not only eat away at your canvas, but they will also cause it to darken, become weaker, and be very difficult to clean up.

Microbes found in nature can be found in soil, grass, and leaves. If you forget about them and leave them on top of your canvas tent, they will produce overgrowth and may even harm the tent. Wet tents provide the perfect environment for the expansion of microorganisms, which results in an unpleasant odor and causes structural damage to the tent itself.

The tent should then be cleaned, dried, and put away. Leaving it exposed to the sun for an extended period of time might also be of great assistance in avoiding these complications.

A guide that explains how to clean a canvas tent, step by step

The Methods Used to Clean a Canvas Tent CLEANING

It can also be cleaned using a garden hose if you have one available. It is important to keep in mind that cleaning something and then wiping it down with a clean, dry cloth is preferable to using many cleaning solutions, even if you believe that doing so will make your job easier. If you insist on using soap, select one with a gentle detergent instead.

Treating waterproofing

You should do this on a hot, sunny day if at all possible. Your tent has to be cleaned, and any parts that can be washed should be. Wipe away the dirt, and if anything is trapped on the cotton fibers, you can also use a brush with soft bristles, but be careful not to scratch them. After thoroughly drying it with a cloth, you should then allow it to air dry. After that, get your spray-on waterproofing ready. On the canvas of the tent, you will need to apply a very light coat. It is suggested that you get a waterproofing spray bottle that also has built-in UV protection. The next step is to expose it to the light and let it dry out completely so that it becomes infused with canvas material.


Spraying pesticides or bug repellants directly on the canvas is not permitted. This could cause the water-repellent treatment to become compromised. You must constantly keep in mind that you are supposed to spray inside of the tent and not on the tent. The tent will lose its color and its treatment that makes it waterproof, and its tensile strength will decrease because the tightly woven strands will be broken apart.

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The process of eliminating mold from a canvas tents

Warm water and a mold treatment that is designed for use on canvas materials can be used to eliminate mold growth inside the tent. Both soapy water and hot water are acceptable options here. This will make the process of removing any bird droppings simpler and more expedient. It is important to remember to apply the waterproofing treatment or sun protection in order to prevent damage from UV rays once the process of mold removal has been completed.


Before attempting to pack up the tent, you should first let it dry out in the sun. Maintain the pitched position while you clean. Allow it to dry out while it is still hanging. When there is no longer any moisture present and the items that were used to waterproof it have also dried, only then may you fold it. Remove any tree sap, filth, stains, dust, and debris that may have accumulated as well. A modest amount of attention can go a very long way.

If there are any areas that you may have missed the first time around, you can clean them with a sponge and some clean water. After the item has been allowed to dry, it is normal to become aware of other areas that require further cleaning. If something like that occurs, there’s no need to panic; the problem may easily be fixed by spot cleaning and then allowing it to air dry entirely.

After you have finished, you can pack it by folding it into a nice tuck and securing it with a pin.

What is the most effective way to clean tents that are made of canvas?

To thoroughly clean a tent made of canvas, you can give it a pressure wash. However, you should never use soaps or detergents that are too thick. Materials that are often found in households are too abrasive to properly clean canvas, and using them to clean canvas will harm the waterproofing finish on your canvas tent.

A quick “dry cleaning” of the canvas should be done first.

If the canvas is not really unclean, you can spot clean it with a sponge and some clean water if necessary. This is an excellent idea. You should be able to give it a dry clean, particularly if there is no dirt from mud, bird droppings, or elements of mold on it. After the area has been cleaned, you should wait for it to dry. After it has been allowed to air dry or dun dried, check to see if any additional cleaning is required, and then proceed to spray it with a waterproofing solution.

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Some Helpful Tips (which may seem obvious but worth reviewing)

Pitch the tent on a good site

  1. That means you should set up your tent in a location that won’t ruin the natural setting for you and the other people who are trying to enjoy it. Make sure that nothing on the ground, such as twigs or rocks, will cause the floor of your tent to become damaged.
  2. Using a campsite that has already been built usually ensures that there will be more protection for your tent.

Take good care of your precious tent

  1. Please remove your shoes before entering the building.
  2. Before you put the tent away, use a mini broom and dustpan to clean the inside of the tent.
  3. Take extreme caution when handling the poles, and treat them with the utmost delicacy.

Make sure you thoroughly dry it

  1. Mold is head over heels in love with damp tents.
  2. However, there will be times when you will need to pack up a damp tent; however, you should NEVER leave it in that state. Hang it up on the clothesline or make any other kind of arrangement for the drying process. NEVER allow it to become wet. It really needs to dry out! It is so simple to say to oneself, “I’ll do that later!” Don’t add it to the list of things you ‘Can’t be Bothered’ with.

Pacing your tent

When you fold up your dry tent, you should always do so in a different manner so that the creases do not wear out over time and become brittle. This will prevent the creases from becoming worn through.

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