Can You Wash a Camping Hammock in the Washer?

Camping Hammock in the Washer

Can You Wash a Camping Hammock in the Washer?

Let’s face it. Being out in the woods for multiple days leads to dirty gear. This includes your hammock. I can’t tell you how many times I have come back from a camping or backpacking trip and all my gear…well…stinks. It happens to everyone, so I thought I would explain how I wash my hammock to keep it fresh and in good shape. 

Yes, you can wash your hammock in the washing machine in many cases. A word of caution before you do so, please consult your hammock manufacturer’s washing instructions to ensure you can wash it in a washing machine or if it needs to be washed by hand. Also, be sure to take off the carabiners and set your washer on a gentle/delicate cycle using mild fabric detergent. Do not use bleach or fabric softener. Set the washer to cool water and low spin cycle. Then air-dry the hammock. Do not put it in the dryer.

When we are out camping or hiking, our hammocks are rarely just used as just a bed. Your hammock is often also your chair to relax in and a place to lounge about and eat your meals. At least for me, I use my hammock for more than just sleeping in and most people I’ve met do the same. 

Let’s face the facts. When you’re out in the wild for multiple days, you typically don’t have access to shower easily and it can be hard to keep your personal hygiene at its best. You are likely very unpleasant smelling, my friend. If you get lucky and have access to beautiful, clean streams, you will be able to clean off a bit of the funk there. In that case, I have no shame of jumping in and cleaning off. Nonetheless, when you get back home after a long trip, everything will stink, including your gear and hammock. So let us talk about how to handle the stinky aftermath and how to take proper care of your hammock in order to keep it clean and fresh. 

ENO Sub 6 Hammock Product Care

Manufacturer Washing Instructions

First, let’s state the obvious. Always check the washing instructions from your hammock’s manufacturer. Most of the better-known brands of hammocks have some type of small post on their blog or hidden on their website explaining how to properly wash your hammock. As of yet, I haven’t run into a brand of hammock that can’t be cleaned. If the washing instructions are not clear or cannot be found, email the manufacturer. Almost all hammock companies are more than willing to help you out and give guidance.

The way I wash my own hammock is the same as how most of the manufacturers recommend, but please double-check to be sure.

Preparation to Wash:

There are a few things that need to be done before you put your hammock in the washing machine. Don’t just toss it in there until you’ve made sure that you’ve done these next few things first.

Check for Any Debris

crumbs, bits of food, mud, etc. Take your hammock outside and give it a good shake out. You don’t want all that extra stuff in your washer. 

Removing Hammock Carbieners for Washer

Remove All Carabiners from your Hammock.

For a couple of reasons, you don’t want to ruin them, and you also don’t want them to damage your washing machine or tear your hammock. Set your carabiners somewhere close by so when the hammock comes out of the machine you can put them right back on. 

Washing the Bug Net

If you have an attached bug net, unzip and detach it then place it in the washer as well. If you have an all-in-one hammock and bug net, just be sure to unzip it all the way before putting it in the washer. 

Inspect the Condition of the Hammock

I also give my hammock a good look over to make sure there aren’t any rips, tears, or holes in the fabric. You will also want to double-check the knots if you have any on your style of hammock. Ensure they are still tight and secure.

What to Use to Clean your Hammock

This isn’t rocket science, but you still want to make sure you follow just a couple of basic rules when deciding what to use to wash your hammock with. Try to stay away from scented laundry detergent and opt for a more natural, mild, and fragrance-free detergent

What NOT to Use

Definitely be aware of what not to use to wash your hammock. Bleach is a big no-no because it can destroy the integrity of the hammock fabric. If you find mold in your hammock, choose a more natural mold remover rather than using bleach. Also, most of the big manufacturers of hammocks strongly advise against using fabric softeners. You don’t need your hammock to smell like a meadow breeze, it just needs to not smell at all. If you want that smell like that hang near a meadow and wait for the breeze.

Using the Washing Machine

Some hammock manufacturers advise against washing your hammock in a top-loading washing machine and they only recommend the use of a front loading type. I’m not entirely sure of the reason, but my educated guess is that the hammock can get wrapped around the agitator of a top loader and your hammock can get tangled or ruined during the wash. 

Can You Wash a Camping Hammock in the Washer

Almost all the hammock manufacturers advise you to do the following:

Steps to Machine Wash a Hammock

  1. Your Hammock Should Be the Only Item in the Load. It is acceptable to add in the bug net since it can be considered a part of the hammock, but wash everything else separately. 
  2. Set your Washer Setting to the Gentle Cycle or Delicate Cycle depending on your model of washing machine. 
  3. DON’T Go Overboard on Detergent – you only have one thing in the load. 
  4. Set the Water Temperature to Cool 
  5. Set the Spin Cycle to Low Spin or Slow Spin, once again depending on your washer. 
  6. Start It Up and let it go.

While the Hammock is Washing

While my hammock is washing, I like to take that time to clean off my carabiners as well. These little guys can often be easily forgotten about. You can wash your carabiners in warm soapy water being sure to get all the crud, mud, and dust out of the joints and spring. Use a small scrub brush if necessary. Then dry them off with a towel and set them out to dry. Once they are dried off, you can put a little graphite as a lubricant on the spring and hinge to help extend the life of the carabiners.

Hand Washing

I know some of you might wonder if you can just hand wash your hammock because you’re a little nervous about what your washing machine might do to it. Understandable. Your hammock was an investment and no one wants their gear ruined. If you have a top-loading washer, or if you’re nervous about machine washing, hand washing your hammock is a pretty simple process. 

Steps To Hand Wash a Hammock

  1. First, fill your bathtub up with some cool water. 
  2. Then pour in your soap and mix it around a bit. 
  3. Then place your hammock in the water. From this point, you have the option to let it soak, but you don’t have to. 
  4. If you need to, you can use a soft bristle brush to clean it, but your hands will often do just fine. Start at one end of the hammock and work your way down. Make sure you are getting both sides of the hammock. I just put one hand on each side and just kinda rub my hands together while the hammock fabric is in between them. 
  5. Once you have it scrubbed to your satisfaction, drain the water and rinse it with cold water. 

Drying your hammock

DO NOT PUT YOUR HAMMOCK IN THE DRYER! Your hammock is more than likely constructed of nylon, a material derived from plastic – it will melt. So don’t do this unless you want to ruin both your hammock and dryer. 

Reattaching Hammock Carbieners for Washer

When you take your hammock out of the washer, first put the carabiners back on. Now, find an appropriate spot to hang it up to dry. If it’s a beautiful day outside, you can set your hammock up out in your backyard. It will dry pretty quickly. Expect about a half-hour if there’s a gentle breeze going. 

Storing your hammock after washing

Once your hammock is finished drying, it is safe to pack it away. In order to keep your hammock in good condition, store your hammock in a dry place where moisture will not get to it and create a mold problem. You will know if your hammock has been in too much moisture because it will have a musty smell. Also, do not leave your hammock out in the sun for long periods of time. The UV rays can degrade your hammock material and the color will begin to fade. So don’t store it on the porch or on a window sill.

So Know You Know 

I hope you found this post helpful if you had questions about washing your hammock. Whether you use the washing machine or hand-wash your hammock, it’s good practice to wash your hammock about once every season or more depending on how often you use it.  Just be sure to follow your manufacturer’s recommended washing instructions for the best results.

So go outside and get that hammock all dirty again as you enjoy The Wanderful Wild.

The Wanderful Wild

Hi! I’m Chris, and I love being outside. I am an avid hiker and camper. I have two boys that love camping as much as I do and an amazing wife that lets me get lost in the Wanderful Wild. My goal for this site is to be a resource to anyone that is wanting to get outside more.

Recent Posts