How to Wash a Hammock

Hammocks are very prone to trapping mud, dust, and moisture inside the fabric. This can cause mold and mildew to develop, as well as just being generally unpleasant to relax in.

It is vital to clean your hammock regularly to keep it in a good condition. 

How often should you clean a hammock?

You should clean your hammock regularly. It should not go more than a month without being washed to ensure good levels of hygiene. Of course, if you are using it frequently it may be smart to wash them even more frequently. 

If your hammock gets wet then it should be washed and thoroughly dried to reduce the risk of mildew and mold developing. If you are finding yourself being bitten a lot by insects, you can spray a few layers of insect repellent onto the fabric.

Removing mold and mildew

Mold and mildew are varieties of fungus. They develop when the fabric is left exposed to moisture and humidity and can be a real pain to get rid of. It does not require the use of harsh chemicals, just some time and elbow grease.

A great way to remove these is by combining equal parts of white vinegar and water. Spray this onto the affected areas and scrub with a sponge or soft-bristled brush. 

If it is smelling particularly musty, apply some baking soda to the offending areas. Allow it to sit there for a few minutes and then shake off.

Both of these steps can be done before you do a full clean of the hammock. 

How to clean a hammock

Your first step is to vigorously shake the hammock out to remove any loose debris from the interior. We recommend leaving one end tied up and shaking the other end really well.

Hammocks can be made from a variety of materials, all of which will require slightly different care and maintenance. If in doubt, you should check with the manufacturer to see what they recommend in terms of care. 

If there are removable spreader bars contained within the hammock, you should take these out first. You should also remove any carabiners from the hammock. 

With a hose

Lie the hammock fabric out flat on a clean surface, such as a tarpaulin or a dry paved area. 

Use a garden hose to spray all over the hammock fabric. If there is stubborn dirt, you should apply a little mild dish soap and scrub the affected area with a soft-bristled brush. 

If there are still marks on the fabric you can spray on some stain remover. This should help to get rid of any stubborn dirt. 

After this, use the hose again to rinse the hammock fabric thoroughly. 

You should allow it to dry naturally. If the weather is dry, we suggest hanging it outside from a tree or on a designated hammock stand. 

Hand washing

This is an easy process to carry out. Simply fill a bath or large bucket with 2 gallons of lukewarm water. Add 2 ounces of dish soap or mild laundry detergent to this water. 

If your hammock is Brazilian, Mayan, or Nicaraguan, you should tie the strings at either end of the hammock to stop them from getting tangled. 

Submerge the hammock fabric in the diluted detergent solution. Agitate the fabric, swishing it around and scrubbing it against itself to remove stubborn dirt. 

Drain the water and add in some fresh, clean water. Swish the hammock around to remove any remaining detergent from the fabric. Repeat this process until the water runs completely clear. 

Gently wring out the excess water and reinsert the spreader bars. If your hammock does not have these we suggest spreading the fabric apart using a brush or stick.

Hang the hammock up outside to dry. 

Machine washing

Many modern hammocks are designed to be suitable for washing in a machine. This is highly convenient and does an effective job of cleaning the hammock.

You should use a cold, gentle cycle on your washing machine if your hammock is suitable for machine washing. Do not tumble dry though, instead hang outside to dry naturally. 

You should never use bleach or fabric softeners on the hammock. It is also advised to wash the hammock alone on a low spin cycle. 

How to store a hammock

You should only fold and store hammocks when they are completely dry. This is because folding damp fabric increases the risk of mold and mildew growth. 

If you have a Brazilian hammock, this should come with a storage pouch. Simply fold up the hammock until it fits inside this and you are good to go.

For hammocks with a spreader bar, lie them out flat. Fold one end of the ropes and the ring into the bed. Use the spreader bar to roll this end towards the other. For hammocks without a spreader bar, fold the fabric in half so that both ends are touching. Hang on a hook using the rings, rolling up the hammock if needed. 

To minimize the risks of mold and mildew, your hammock should only be stored in a cool and dry place. They should be inside a bag that allows the material to breathe.

They should be kept indoors, away from damp and direct sunlight. A basement is often an ideal storage space for hammocks, provided there is no damp. You should check the manufacturer’s instructions for the optimal storage solution for your hammock. 

If you can only store your hammock in the garage, it must be contained inside a waterproof bag that can be sealed. It should be stored high up to ensure no rodents or other animals can enter the storage bag. This is because they are likely to bite holes in the fabric and destroy the structural integrity of your hammock.

You should avoid storing your hammock outside as far as possible. If you have no alternative, try to ensure your hammock is out of direct sunlight and contained within a weather-tight tote bag.

Andrew Mullen
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