How To Clean a Canvas Tent : Step by Step Guide

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There are many different ways that people have tried cleaning their canvas tents.

Some of these methods work better than others, but they all depend on what kind of stains you are trying to get rid of.

Canvas tents are the perfect piece of equipment for glamping & camping. They offer protection from bugs, sun, and rain. However, they require some TLC to maintain their durability and good condition.

To clean, retreat and maintain your canvas tent, follow these simple steps:

How To Clean a Canvas Tent

how to clean a canvas tent

1) Always start with a dry tent, so it’s easier to brush off any dirt or sand before you wet it down.

Unroll your tent. Put down the groundsheet and remove all dust, dirt, and particulate with a clean broom or vacuum cleaner.

2) Put on rubber gloves or use a sponge if you don’t want your hands getting dirty when scrubbing the material.

3) Mix warm water (not hot) with mild soap in a bucket.

To kill mold, mix 4 parts water and 1 part vinegar. Or use a cleaning product that is meant for canvas.

4) Wet down the surface of the canvas with a hose using light pressure; this will help remove any stubborn stains that may have been left on the tent.

5) Apply a small amount of soap to the area and gently wash with a sponge or brush. If needed leave the vinegar to soak in for 15 minutes before washing with soap and water.

6) Rinse off the soap with warm water as you go. Start from the top and work your way down.  Rinse again and again. 

7) Use a squeegee to remove any excess moisture.

8) Hang the tent to dry indoors or in a shaded area

After it’s completely dried, you should apply some water repellent (such as 303 fabric guard) for further protection.

Voila! You now have a clean canvas tent that will serve you for years to come.

How To Retreat Your Canvas Tent

how to clean a canvas tent

After you use your canvas tent for a few seasons, the fabric may become worn, and the coating on it will start to break down. This can lead to water damage. To retreat your tent:

  1. Wash the canvas tent as described above.
  2. Rinse each piece thoroughly to remove any leftover dirt or soap.
  3.  Let it dry completely before reassembling the tent.
  4. Then, move on to applying a coat of waterproofer liberally using a spray, paint roller, or a plant sprayer.
  5. Let it dry completely before storage.

Tips for Maintaining a Tent

It is important to maintain your tent.

The better you take care of it, the longer it will last and the healthier it will be for glamping and camping activities.

Here Are Some Tips on How To Properly Maintain a Canvas Tent

how to clean a canvas tent

1) Store your canvas away from sunlight in an indoor space where there is no moisture or bugs (bugs can eat holes in your tent).2) Store it unfolded to avoid warping.

3) If you are not using the tent for a while, make sure to store it in sealable plastic bags or containers to prevent any dust from getting into the fabric and ruining its surface.

4) Never store it in a damp place.

5) Always keep it dry and never leave it out when not using the tent to avoid mold, mildew, or rot.

6) Bring your canvas camping equipment inside at night and before bad weather hits (rain).

7) Shake out dirt before packing up the tent.

8) Make sure to store it in a dust-free place, preferably on some frame or hanger, so that air can circulate around the material.

9) Make sure to treat your tent right away if it gets wet (water or dew) after you leave it out. This will prevent mold and mildew from forming on the fabric.

10) Never set up a canvas tent near the fire, heaters, gas lamps, or open flames, as this can damage the material.


How Do You Get Stains Out of a Canvas Tent?

how to clean a canvas tent / How do you remove stains from canvas tent

Stains are not difficult to remove from a canvas tent, but you should take the appropriate measures before trying anything.

For example, if there is mud on the floor of your canvas tent, leave it to dry first.

Then proceed to remove as other types of stains- Spray with distilled white vinegar and let it dry. Next, clean by scrubbing it lightly with a soft brush using a mixture of lemon, salt, and warm water (use cold water if the stain is mud).

Also, avoid using detergent soaps or bleach which is harsh on canvas and tough to rinse out

If mold has accumulated in any areas of the fabric around poles or seams, try using a solution of baking soda and water. If this is not working, try using a mixture of one part bleach to ten parts water.

How Do You Keep a Tent From Getting Moldy?

One of the best ways to prevent your canvas tent from developing stains or mildew is by storing it properly.

If you are taking down your glamping & camping equipment for the winter months, make sure that all dirt and debris are removed before folding up or rolling up your tent.

Then store your tent in a dry, ventilated space such as an attic or garage.

How Do You Remove Mildew From a Canvas Tent?

If you find that mildew or mold has formed in your tent, try using a solution of baking soda and water, but if this does not work, it is best to consult with an expert.

What Is the Best Way To Clean Canvas?

Canvas can be cleaned with warm water and soap but avoid using bleach products since this will cause damage over time.

If there has been any mold on the fabric, use baking soda and cold water for the best results. If this is not working, try using a mixture of one part bleach to ten parts water.

How Do You Clean Waterproof Canvas?

Waterproof canvas can be cleaned much like regular cotton, but you may want to use a gentle soap instead of dishwashing liquid. Check the above procedure to clean canvas tents.

Once the fabric has been washed, it will likely need to air dry, so take care not to scrub or twist it too roughly.

Does Vinegar Hurt Canvas?

No. vinegar does not harm canvas when used correctly, but it should be noted that other types of fabric can react badly with acidic products, such as white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

Vinegar is one of many household items that can be used to clean canvas. If you have never tried it before, give it a shot since the results might surprise you!


By following these steps, you will be able to clean your canvas tent and maintain its durability.

However, if your tent is beyond repair or starting to fall apart, then it’s time for a new one that won’t take up too much storage space.

Now go out there and enjoy the great outdoors with your friends. Happy glamping 🙂

How To Clean a Canvas Tent

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