Care for Canvas Wall Tents

Care for Canvas Wall TentsCanvas tents are durable, and their care is straightforward. However, canvas does have some unique qualities that are different than other types of tents on the market. The great killer of canvas is mold or mildew. Canvas tents that are set up continuously or stored damp are at the greatest threat of being ruined by mildew. These tough tents can be an asset that last generations when properly cared for.


Difficulty: Moderate

Use and Maintenance

Things You’ll Need:
  • Soft scrub brush
  • Water source
  • Garden hose
Step 1
Ventilate the tent occasionally if the tent is going to be set up for long periods of time by opening all of the flaps, or raising the walls. This will prevent moisture and humidity that is built up from cooking and living in the tent from creating mildew on the inside walls of the tent.
Step 2
Check tent stakes and ropes for tautness during high wind conditions. Windy and gusty conditions can cause damage to canvas, grommets and tent frames by stretching and tearing the fabric, particularly around grommet areas where lines are attached.
Step 3
Do not allow snow or water to accumulate onto the canvas. The heavy weight will cause the canvas to stretch, sag and eventually leak. Sweep snow and water from the top of the tent after it has accumulated or prevent accumulation by using a nylon or plastic rain fly.

Cleaning and Storage

Step 1
Set the tent up and ensure all stakes are properly placed, lines are taut and doors are tied or zipped closed. The canvas should be free of any creases or sags that may cause water to pool.
Step 2
Clean your canvas tent with water and a brush. Most canvas tent manufacturers have treated the tent with water-resistant treatment that could be damaged by the use of soaps or detergents and may void the manufacturer's warranty.
Step 3
Clean and dry the tent thoroughly before storing. Storing a damp canvas tent, even for a short period of time, will cause mildew to grow very rapidly.
Step 4
Store the tent in a cool, dry location. Direct sunlight may damage the water-resistant treatment.

Tips & Warnings

When bringing a wet tent home from a trip, immediately set it up at home until it can be dried and stored properly. Mildew will begin to grow on stored, wet canvas in a few short days.
The fastest way to destroy a tent is to put it away wet or damp. Take the time to set it up at home to clean and dry it out properly before storing it!
Do not use insecticides, bug repellents, soaps or detergents directly on the canvas. It may damage the manufacturer's water repellent treatment.


Article Written By Eric Duncan

Eric Duncan is a military veteran and a professional in the safety, travel and aviation industries. Duncan has been writing since 2002 for magazines, newspapers, local business literature and on such websites as He has earned his Bachelor of Science in professional aeronautics and his Master of Business Administration.

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