Questions?  (920) 431-0938
Eng Spa

Back to Blog

September 08, 2020Best In Tents

A commercial 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. The good news is that you can wash a dirty tent to make sure it lasts. Wondering can you wash a tent in the washing machine? Or what is the best tent cleaner? Figuring out how to clean a tent canopy may seem overwhelming, but we’ve got all the steps below.

Materials You’ll Need for Washing a Tent

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 for a homemade cleaning solution below);
  • Non-abrasive brushes, sponges, rags, etc.;
  • Drying towels.

tent cleaner

5 Steps to Take to Clean Your Tent

Tent care is a must-have when it comes to long-term tent use if you want to have a positive tent experience, that’s why it is important to take the following steps for how to care for tents.

Step 1: Clean General Dirt

Start with hand washing so you don’t transfer dirt or oils from your hands onto your tent. 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 for a clean canopy tent.

This can also be a great time to check your tent top 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 brush 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 to discover 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.

canopy tent cover

Step 4: Dry Your Tent

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

Not only can it physically cause damage and form mildew and mold, but your canopy tent cover 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?

You would never use a harsh cleaning solution on your baby’s gentle skin. Think about your tent the same way. Tent care tips from experts include using only non-abrasive sponges or rags and a non-detergent soap and avoiding excess water. Do not use household cleaners including:

  • Harsh dish soaps;
  • Bleach;
  • Spot removers;
  • Laundry pre-soaking products.

What You Shouldn’t Do?

Keep the basics in mind when it comes to cleaning your tent fabric:

  • Always read the directions that came with your tent;
  • Be gentle with zippers and poles;
  • Never store a tent wet;
  • After your tent is completely dry, don’t leave it in the sun for too long;
  • Never machine-wash or machine-dry a tent.

Important Tips on Making Your Canopy Tent Serve Longer

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. If you are wondering how long tents last, remember that it all depends on tent maintenance.

can you wash a tent in the washing machine

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. If you find a tear, check out our blog: how to fix a ripped canopy.

Don't Store Your Tent Until Its Dry

Even a 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 tent care and 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 to clean 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.

Remember that a tent is also known as a temporary structure - the keyword is “temporary”. It's not permanent like a building. The anchoring points have to be checked at being the stakes in the ground or the dead weights if you're using a dead weight, the straps that hold the top to the frame need to be checked periodically.

Typically, in the long term, you're going to do several checks within the first week, just checking all of the tightness and integrity of these things, and then after that, it's every week, once a week, for two weeks, and then after that, you can do it monthly. Just check things periodically, don't set it, and forget it.


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!

Contact our team for additional information.

Tony Ehrbar's headshot

Tony Ehrbar

Owner & CEO

Tony's entrepreneurial spirit is woven into the fabric of American Tent (an Inc 5000 company), shaped by his experience running a successful event venue & tent rental service. His recognition as the Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019 is a testament to his impact & dedication to his community. As the Co-founder and CEO of Renegade Plastics, Tony is leading initiatives in the tent industry to integrate eco-friendly, recyclable materials. Contributing as a board member for the Advanced Textiles Association (ATA) & the Green Bay Area Public Schools Foundation and being featured by Entrepreneur, Oracle, & Modern Weddings, Tony plays a pivotal role in enhancing the growth and success of the textile industry.

Order Your Event Tent Today!

If you enjoyed today’s entry, be sure to bookmark our blog page and check back frequently for the latest updates.

We regularly post helpful resources that can help you plan great events and learn more about our event tents.

Our friendly customer service team is always happy to answer any questions you have about pole tents, frame tents, and sidewalls, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need more information!

Find out how much better it is to have Shelter. Simplified.

Give us a call today at (920) 431-0938!

Contact Us
Shopping Cart

There are no items in your cart.

Continue Shopping