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September 08, 2020Best In Tents

A canopy tent can be a big investment, so get your money’s worth by taking proper care of your tent. Even high-quality tents with mildew and rust-resistant materials can’t last forever if you don’t properly clean and dry your tent. Figuring out how to clean a tent canopy may seem overwhelming, but we’ve got all the steps below.

Before we break down how to clean a canopy, let’s cover the materials you’ll need:

  • A drop cloth to lay your canopy on top of
  • Water from a hose, water sprayer, etc.
  • Gentle cleaning solution (we cover what you can use below)
  • Non-abrasive brushes, sponges, rags, etc.
  • Drying towels

Cleaning a tent

Step 1: Clean General Dirt

Effective canopy maintenance begins by removing any visible dirt, debris, and noticeable gunk on your event tent. You can begin this process while your tent is still set up, simply brushing off any leaves or debris.

This can also be a great time to check your tent for any damage, like small holes, stains, or tears. These can usually be easily repaired if caught soon enough, and are easier to spot while your tent is up.

Step 2: Gently Clean Your Canopy

It’s fairly simple learning how to clean a canopy top, as it is much like sweeping and mopping a floor. Once your event tent is taken down and your canopy is spread out on your drop cloth, you can sweep.

Make sure to use a soft, non-abrasive broom or brushes to sweep away any remaining dirt and grime. Give your canopy a rinse of clean water, then spot clean with your cleaning solution and rags or sponges. Using gentle materials is how to clean a canopy cover without scratching the surface and damaging its coating.

Step 3: Clean Up Your Frame

Don’t forget your tent frame is involved in how to clean a canopy tent properly. There are many ways your tent frame can get dirty, and you don’t want guests discovering that.

You can clean your frame with the same gentle cleaning solution as your canopy top. This will help you clean off any dirt or food that happened to get on it during the event. Again, this is also a good time to check your tent frame for any damage.

Cleaning a party tent

Step 4: Dry Your Tent

Many people don’t realize that drying your tent is a part of the process to properly clean an outdoor canopy. Water damage is a real threat to both your tent frame and canopy cover.

Not only can it physically cause damage and form mildew and mold, but it will also smell. That certainly isn’t the experience you want guests to have in your canopy tent!

Step 5: Properly Store Your Tent

The last step in how to clean a pop-up canopy or any other event tent is to store it properly. Storing your tent in a cool, dry space will keep everything in top shape and ensure no mildew or mold can grow on the canopy.

It’s a good idea to make a designated spot for your tent as well, instead of crowding in other tools and materials beside and on top of it. Anything on top of your tent can tear the canopy or damage your frame, so it’s best to clear space for storing your event tent.

What Cleaning Solution to Use for Tent Cleaning?

Yes, you can wash a canopy cover, but you’ll have to be mindful of the products you use. Some cleaning products include chemicals that are too harsh for your tent canopy. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to make your own tent cleaning solution. Mix together water-- the warmer the better-- soap free of fragrance or added chemicals, and vinegar (ratio: 4 parts water, one part vinegar, light soap as needed). 

Important Tips on Making Your Canopy Tent Serve Longer

Party tent cleaning

There are many steps you can take in the cleaning process to ensure a long life for your tent. Here are the best ways to get the most use out of your tent and keep it in great shape for years: 

Don't Use Commercial Washers Too Often

Commercial washers usually aren’t the best answer to how to clean an outdoor canopy. As stated previously, harsh chemicals can wear away at your tent. Making your own tent cleaning solution and using gentle washing will ensure the tent materials stay in great condition.

Inspect The Tent for Damage

The tent cleaning process is one of the best opportunities to evaluate your tent for damage. You can catch it quickly and do the proper canopy maintenance before it becomes a problem. Check your tent before cleaning, and look for air bubbles when it’s wet to see any signs of holes or tears. 

Don’t Store Your Tent Until Its Dry

Even mildew, mold, and rust-resistant tent can get damaged if it stays wet for too long. If you store your tent while it’s still wet, you’re putting your tent at risk of damage from all three. Ensuring your tent is dry before you store it is an essential step in preserving your event tent.

Clean It on a Non-Abrasive Surface

Debris and abrasive surfaces like gravel or asphalt can easily damage your tent canopy. Protect your tent from tears, holes, and dirt by laying down a drop cloth before cleaning. If you don’t have a drop cloth, ensure you clean your tent on a soft surface that won’t leave scratches or other damage.

Don't Use a Brush for Cleaning

Brushes are abrasive to your tent and can damage your canopy like anything else. Always make sure to use soft materials to clean your tent, from canopy to frame. Cloths, rags, and mops make better tools for getting dirt and grime off your event tent.

Don't Add Excess Weight to The Truss Bars

Any extra strain you put on your event tent affects the tent’s overall lifespan. Don’t pour water on or wash your tent without dismantling it first. Additionally, outside of cleaning, try not to add too much extra weight to truss bars when decorating your tent.

Proper Tent Anchoring

Another step you can take outside cleaning your tent to ensure its longevity is securing it correctly. Anchoring your tent usually involves using weights that can damage your tent if used or installed incorrectly. Use our tent weight guide to properly secure your event tent without damaging the frame.


Proper tent cleaning and canopy maintenance are key to ensuring your tent lasts. With the proper cleaning process, a quality event tent can stay in great shape for over a decade. If you’re looking for the perfect event tent, American Tent has the quality event tents you’re looking for. Visit our catalog of products and see what American Tent can offer your business!

Order Your Event Tent Today!

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