Hammocks are hot this summer – in fact, they're one of the biggest garden trends we're seeing this seasons, when many of us want to maximize the time spend in our backyards. But when it comes to hammock cleaning, are you a bit hesitant to do it for fear of a ruined hammock?
Your instincts are right. Although hammocks do need cleaning at least once during the summer, going about it the wrong way can result in a a torn, shrunk, or damaged hammock that you'll have to replace. Fortunately, a few simple tips from hammock pros will help yours last longer than half a season.
1. Do use a soft-bristle brush and hose
As hammock experts from DFO Home (opens in new tab) demonstrate, by far the safest and most effective method for cleaning a hammock is hand cleaning with a soft brush, multi-purpose outdoor cleaning spray, and a garden hose. The top tip here is to ensure the hammock is completely wet all the way through before you apply your cleaning solution, or you may not remove all the stains and dirt. Also, don't be tempted to use a hard bristle brush or scrubber, as you'll likely damage the fabric.
Find the best garden hose in our buying guide.
2. Do NOT use a pressure washer
Do not be tempted to use a pressure washer for a quicker result, as it will 'possibly tear the fabric', according to DFO experts. It is true that hammocks are designed to support a lot of weight, but it needs to be distributed evenly across the hammock. They're definitely not designed to be pummelled with an extremely high pressured stream of water. Stick to the hose only. Moreover, if you're worried that your hammock is too gauzy and delicate even for the hose, just wash it in your bathtub or outdoor paddling pool.
3. Do machine wash on a delicate setting
Outdoor hammock specialists from Grand Turk (opens in new tab) confirm: 'Many hammocks can be washed in a washing machine. Just add a little of dose of mild detergent and wash it in the gentle cycle.' It's important to note that gentle means gentle – no high temperatures, no ultra-fast spinning, and absolutely no bleach or fabric softener, ever.
4. Do not machine wash with other items
This is both for the sake of your hammock and your clothes, but you mustn't ever wash a hammock with any other items. Particularly if you have a knitted hammock, you'll end up with snags or loose threads, and the hammock itself could trap and tear your clothing. Just wash it separately. Also, if your hammock has non-removable bars or fixtures, you'll have to use the hand cleaning method.
5. Do air dry, always
Camping expert Zachary Smith writes for Small Car Camp (opens in new tab): '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.'
In other words, technically, you can, but you probably shouldn't tumble dry your hammock. Mesh hammocks, whether synthetic or cotton, will be especially prone to damage from the tumble dryer, and it's so easy to air dry hammocks – just hang them up as normal – that there's no need to risk it.