Can I Wash My Hammock in the Washing Machine?

Written By Matthew Cordero

Going on hammock camping trips usually means that you’ll end up with dirty hammocks at one point or another. Because of this, many people wonder if it’s safe to wash hammocks in the washing machine.

Most hammocks are machine washable. Hammocks made out of soft woven fabrics such as cotton and delicate rope are best washed by hand because they are fragile and may be damaged in the wash, and those with hammock stands need to be washed by hand. Read the manufacturer’s directions to be sure.

washing machines

As there are many different hammock varieties out there, it’s important to understand how each of them should be washed so that you know how to properly clean yours. Read on below to learn more.

Can You Put a Hammock in the Washing Machine?

A clean hammock is essential not only essential for making it healthier to sleep in, but it also extends its lifespan.

The very nature of hammocks exposes it to bacteria, dust, dirt, bugs, and many other things. That’s why washing them is so important. And while hand washing is still the safest way to wash hammocks, it’s not as convenient as using a washing machine.

Since there are so many varieties of hammocks out there, here’s a guide for washing specific hammock types.

Parachute Hammocks

Parachute hammocks are made from nylon, and they are machine washable as long as you use a mild detergent. Don’t machine wash the hammock with other materials since nylon hammocks have a thin fabric that can easily be ruined by harsh cleaners or other items in the washing machine. Use cold water, operate on a delicate cycle, and don’t use fabric softener.

Alternatively, parachute hammocks can be washed by hand. Soak it first in cold water with some mild detergent mixed in. Don’t use a brush or any other cleaning tool that’s harsh to clean it because it can compromise the quality of the nylon. Stubborn stains or dirt should be removed by hand, and the most effective way to do so is by gently agitating the area in water with mild detergent.

Fabric and Canvas Hammocks

Fabric and canvas hammocks are machine washable.

If there are stubborn stains, you can use a soft bristle brush to agitate the dirt, gently scrubbing on both sides of the fabric with mild detergent after machine washing. This method also works for removal of mildew spores and pollen.

Rope Hammocks

Rope, knitted, and macramé hammocks are delicate. Examples of rope hammocks include the Mayan style, Brazilian, Nicaraguan, or Venezuelan, and soft, cotton rope hammocks. These require more special attention which is why it’s not advisable to use a washing machine to clean it, otherwise this could result in overstretched, damaged hammocks which are irreparable.

Gentle hand wash is always recommended for rope hammocks. If there are stubborn stains or dirt on knitted or rope hammocks, submerge them in warm water, add mild detergent, and a scoop of baking soda to loosen it up. Alternatively, you could spray the affected area with a stain remover for spot treatment, but never use a rough brush to spot treat any rope or knitted hammock.

If the ropes are made from polyester or DuraCord ropes, simply submerge it in warm water mixed with mild detergent. Use a soft scrub brush to gently get rid of stains and dirt, then let the rope hammock rinse in the water for 1 hour. Rinse excess solution using a garden hose.

Once done, allow the hammock to air dry.

Hammocks With Spreader Bars

Non-Removable Spreader Bars

Find a flat surface such as your driveway where you can lay out tarpaulin. Spread the hammock as wide as possible, and use a soft bristle scrub dipped in a bucket of water mixed with mild detergent to scrub it clean as delicately as possible. Once done, flip it over and do the same with the other side.

For wooden spreader bars, use a damp cloth that has been soaked in mild detergent and water to give it a good rinse. If the spreader bars are steel, use a soft bristled scrub brush dipped in mild detergent and water.

Removable Spreader Bars

Detach the spreader bars, o-rings and other hardware.

The hammock can be washed by submerging them in a small wading pool or bathtub, filled with mild detergent and warm water. Let it soak for an hour. Use a soft-bristled scrub brush to gently remove dirt and stains for steel spreader bars, but for wooden spreader bars, use a damp cloth soaked in mild detergent.

Use a soft bristled scrub brush to remove stains, and then rinse it using a garden hose. Air dry once done.

How To Wash A Hammock Swing

Dust off any excess dirt from the hammock swing, then submerge the entire hammock in warm water with mild detergent in a bathtub or kids’ swimming pool. Let it soak for 3-4 hours, though if there are stubborn stains it may need to be longer. Adding ½ cup of baking soda to the mixture to help remove stubborn stains, and massage the fibers as gently as possible.

Be cautious when massaging the ropes especially if they are made of macramé or cotton, and be careful not to pull any of the strings when doing so. Rinse with a garden hose, and air dry when done.

How To Wash Hammock Straps

Hammock straps are prone to getting dirty over time, too. To wash them, just add some mild detergent or dish soap into a bucket with warm water. Submerge the straps in it for 15-20 minutes.

Use an old toothbrush to scrub off any remaining dirt with the soap, then give it a rinse with running water before you leave it out to air dry.

If the hammock straps have tree sap stuck on them that the soapy water is unable to remove, spray it with all-purpose alcohol cleaner or hand sanitizer and give it a good scrub with an old toothbrush.

What Are the Best Mild Detergents for Washing Your Hammock?

When washing your hammock either by hand or by washer, it’s important to only use mild detergents. Here are some great examples that you can find on Amazon:

-   Puracy Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent
-   Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Laundry Detergent
-   Woolite Delicates Hypoallergenic Liquid Laundry Detergent

Important Reminders

Keep these in mind before washing any type of hammock:

  • Before you proceed with washing your hammock, either by hand or by machine, always only use mild detergents. Never use fabric softener or bleach.
  • Before washing, remove the carabiners, spreader bars, and other metal/attachable parts then give the hammock a good shake to get rid of loose dirt.
  • Always use the delicate setting on the washing machine, and use cold or warm water. This gentle setting protects your hammock by not exposing it to fast spins and high temperatures.
  • When machine washing, do not mix the hammock with other items. This rule is important for protecting both your hammock and your clothes. For example, a knit hammock could easy get a few loose threads snagged on articles of clothing. Just be sure to wash them separately.
  • Never use a dryer for any type of hammock. Instead, leave them out to air dry during a sunny day.  Don’t hang it up with wooden cloth pegs, or it could result in rips. Leave hammocks to dry on a smooth surface, and gently straighten it out.
  • Never use a pressure washer when hand washing hammocks. Pressure washers exert extreme force and can easily tear the hammock fabric.

Last but not least, always check the manufacturer’s washing directions to be completely sure of the correct washing instructions for your specific hammock.