Are Hammocks Machine Washable? (How To Clean Your Hammock)

I love using my hammock when I go camping. It was getting a bit dirty after several camping trips and so I wondered what the proper way to wash a hammock was. Being the lazy person I am my first priority was finding out if hammocks are machine washable. I did some research on how to properly wash a hammock, here’s what I came up with:

Are hammocks machine washable? Most hammocks are machine washable. Camping hammocks are typically made from synthetic nylon material and can be washed in a machine. All hammocks can be easily washed by hand. Hammocks should be hung up to dry and not placed in the dryer.

There are some precautions you should take before tossing your hammock into the washing machine. Know the material of your hammock before putting it into a washing machine, this can probably be found on a tag on the hammock itself. When in doubt you can always easily hand wash any hammock.

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How to properly wash your hammock in the washing machine

So you want a machine to do all the work for you, I don’t blame you that’s what I like to do to. If you plan on washing your hammock in the washing machine then there are a few steps you need to take before doing so and there are some things to keep in mind.

Step 1: Remove the Carabiners.

Carabiners are the metal loops that attach to the hammocks straps. These should not go into your washing machine because they will be noisy and can cause some internal damage to your washing machine. No one wants that so make sure you remove these before tossing the hammock in.

Step 2: Use a gentle cycle and mild detergent.

Use your gentle cycle on the machine since hammocks are typically made of thin material and it will help the hammock last longer for you. You do not need very much detergent, just a small dose will do. It is best to wash the hammock alone in the washer and use cold or cool water since it is less damaging to fabrics. Use a low spin cycle too.

Note: Only use a front-loading washer or a top-loading washer without an agitator since an agitator can damage your hammock.

Step 3: Dry your hammock by hanging it up

Dry your hammock on a clothesline, a tree, a fence, or something similar. Be careful about not putting your hammock on something that could tear it. If possible, try not to leave it in direct sunlight since UV rays can speed up the degradation of fabrics. Let your hammock fully dry before putting it away. You can speed up the process if there is a breeze or you can use a fan pointed towards the hammock. 

Note: Do not put your hammock in the dryer since the excessive heat can cause the synthetic fabrics to weaken.

How to properly hand wash any hammock

Step 1: Rinse your hammock

You can spray down your hammock with a garden hose, you can dump water on it with a bucket, or you could put it in a semi-full bathtub. The idea is to get the hammock wet with plain old water first.

Step 2 Apply mild detergent using a soft sponge or brush

Now add some detergent to the mix either by scrubbing lightly with a sponge soaked in soapy water, or adding the detergent to the bathtub water. Use a soft sponge or brush to gently clean your hammock. Once you are finished, you can empty the soapy water from the bathtub or bucket.

Step 3: Re-rinse your hammock

Refill your bathtub or bucket with new water. Then get off all of the detergent with the clean new water. Your hammock is now cleaned by hand and you should be proud of yourself. You can now go get it dirty again and repeat the process, that is after you dry it of course.

Step 4: Dry your hammock by hanging it up

Follow the same steps drying as you would after machine washing: Hang up your hammock to dry on a clothesline, tree, fence, or something similar. Don’t put your hammock on something that could tear it. Try not to leave it in direct sunlight for too long because UV rays can speed up the degradation of fabrics.  You can speed up the process if there is a breeze or you can use a fan pointed towards the hammock. Let your hammock completely dry before putting it away.

How to properly store your hammock after washing and drying

Properly storing your hammock is easy. Just like with most of your camping gear you want to store it in a cool dry place in a breathable bag. Avoid storing your hammock outside or just leaving it hung up outside. If you must store it outside, in a shed, or in a garage then putting it in a weather-safe tote box is your best bet. Ideally, though you should store it inside your house since it probably doesn’t take up much room anyway. Always make sure it is completely dry before storing it for any period of time.

Note: Seriously it needs to be completely dry or else mold and mildew could develop and you could find yourself needing a new hammock

How to prevent a hammock from getting dirty

Now that you have washed your hammock you might want to be more careful about preventing it from getting dirty again. It is going to get dirty if you use it (we are camping after all) but there are some things that you can do to try and minimize how dirty your hammock gets and lessen the number of washes it needs.

Take off your shoes when using your hammock

If you keep your shoes on when lounging in your hammock it could introduce dirt and other nasty things that stain and make your hammock smell. Take the 2 seconds it takes to slip your shoes off before using your hammock and it will help keep it clean. In fact, you should try to avoid lounging in your hammock if you are wearing any dirty clothes. If you went hiking or fishing, or whatever and got your clothes a little dirty, be sure to change them first before heading for the hammock if you want to keep it clean.

Avoid eating or drinking in your hammock

Food and drinks can stain your hammock or invite bugs to join you in it. Try to eat before you go lounging around in your hammock. Drinking water is okay, but other liquids could stain a hammock and make it smell, not to mention attract animals and bugs to sniff out the smells.

Put away your hammock when not in use

It can be tempting to leave your hammock up all day and night when you are camping. It certainly is convenient, and I have been guilty of this too. If you pack it up after each use it will stay cleaner and last a lot longer. Just make sure it is dry before storing it.

Related questions:

Can you put a hammock in the dryer?

You can put a hammock on the dryer but it could cause damage to the synthetic materials. If you must then put it on a gentle low heat. Hang up to dry whenever possible whether indoors or outdoors.

Can you leave a hammock in the rain?

You can leave your hammock in the rain and it will be fine, but you should try to minimize your hammocks exposure to the elements whenever possible. All-weather will slowly degrade your hammock and so you should store it whenever it is not in use.

My Favorite Camping Gear

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Zachary Smith

Zach is an avid outdoorsman that loves going camping with his Prius every chance he gets. He also regularly enjoys hiking and fishing. When he's not outside you can probably find him writing about it on this website. See his full bio here

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