canvas tent care and maintenance

Keeping Your Canvas Tent in Top Condition: Essential Care and Maintenance Tips

Purchasing a new canvas tent is an exciting investment in outdoor adventure. A quality canvas tent can offer years of outdoor enjoyment, but only with proper care and maintenance. In this article, we will provide information and tips on how to care for and maintain a new canvas tent

Canvas Tent Care Tips

Regular cleaning of your canvas tent is essential for maintaining its lifespan. Use a soft brush or broom to remove dirt, dust, or debris from the canvas. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can damage the waterproofing or stain the canvas. If necessary, use mild soap and warm water to clean stubborn stains. Rinse thoroughly and allow the tent to dry completely before storing

Canvas tents are naturally water-resistant, especially have being seasoned, but you can improve that water-resistance by adding additional protective coatings. This coating will fade over time so eapplying waterproofing to your tent is an essential step in maintaining its ability to repel water. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and apply the waterproofing spray evenly over the entire tent. Allow the tent to dry completely before storing.

However, note that all tents sold by Elk Mountain Tents require no sun, rain, or mold treatments. Their unique canvas material is naturally waterproof and is incapable of rotting like cotton canvas. That said, it is recommended that you have a rainfly for maximum protection.

Proper storage of your canvas tent is another step maintaining its quality and longevity. Store your tent in a dry, cool, and well-ventilated area. Avoid storing your tent in direct sunlight, as this can cause the canvas to fade and degrade. Make sure the tent is completely dry before storing, as any moisture can lead to mold or mildew growth.

Canvas Tent Maintenance Tips

  1. Inspect Regularly

Inspecting your canvas tent regularly is an essential step in maintaining its quality and durability. Check for any signs of wear or damage, such as tears, holes, or frayed seams. Repair any damages immediately to prevent further degradation of the canvas. For cotton canvas, this inspection includes examining the tent before you take it out as it may have been nibbled by creatures while in storage. You won’t have to worry about nibbling creatures with Elk Mountain Tents, though, as their canvas material is synthetic.

  1. Avoid UV Exposure

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause the canvas to fade and degrade over time. To protect your canvas tent from UV exposure, set it up in a shaded area or use a tarp or fly to provide additional shade. If storing your tent outside, use a UV-resistant cover to protect it from the sun’s harmful rays. Some waterproofing solutions will include UV protection as well.

  1. Proper Ventilation

Proper ventilation is essential for preventing mold and mildew growth on your canvas tent. When setting up your tent, ensure that there is adequate airflow by leaving the windows and doors open. During storage, use a breathable storage bag or container to prevent moisture buildup. All models of tents sold by Elk Mountain Tents come with screened windows and ventilation shafts along the ridge. Although the canvas material used by Elk Mountain Tents is incapable of rot, mold can grow on any surface in as little as 24 hours and this can still impact the appearance and integrity of the material.

  1. Stove Safety

Using a stove or heater inside your canvas tent can be dangerous if not done correctly. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe stove or heater use, and make sure that the tent is adequately ventilated to prevent carbon monoxide buildup. We also recommend using a stove mat for the floor and heat shields for the walls nearest the stove. Alternatively, you can apply a fire treatment to the canvas as well.

Canvas tent care and maintenance


Q: Can I use bleach to clean my canvas tent?

A: No, it is not recommended because bleach can damage the canvas and weaken the waterproofing, although the damaging effects are less present in a synthetic canvas. Instead, use mild soap and warm water to clean any stains.

Q: Can I use a pressure washer to clean my canvas tent?

A: Perhaps on a low setting, but let’s go with “No,” since pressure washers can damage the canvas and waterproofing. Use a soft brush or broom to remove dirt and debris.

Q: Can I use a fire retardant spray on my canvas tent?

A: Yes, fire retardant sprays can be applied to the canvas to increase fire safety. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe application. The most important part here is knowing which kind to apply especially if using a synthetic canvas as cotton canvas fire retardant will dry crusty on the outside and flake off rather than seep into the polyester. For polyester canvas we recommend FPCC Fire Retardant.

Q: Can I use a fan or dehumidifier inside my canvas tent?

A: Yes, a fan or dehumidifier can help to improve ventilation and prevent mold and mildew growth. Your biggest challenge there is generating the electricity.

Q: How do I store my canvas tent long-term?

A: To store your canvas tent long-term, make sure it is completely dry and clean. Fold it loosely and store it in a dry, cool, and well-ventilated area. Do not store your tent in a compression bag or container, as this can damage the canvas.


Proper care and maintenance of a new canvas tent are critical for maximizing its lifespan and performance. Regular inspection, UV protection, proper ventilation, and stove safety are all essential components of canvas tent maintenance. Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning, waterproofing, and repair. With proper care, your canvas tent can provide years of outdoor enjoyment and adventure.