Caring for your Canvas

A well-maintained and clean tipi is the basis for a long tipi canvas lifetime.

Our tipis are manufactured from a market-leading outdoor polycotton fabric that has been tested in all sorts of applications and environments throughout the world. It has been treated with the latest finishes to be highly water, UV and mould-resistant, and fire-retardant. That said, the lifespan of your canvas tipi tent is very dependent upon various weather and wear conditions. The more care you put into looking after your canvas, the longer it will last. Learn more about how you can get the most out of your tipi tent canvas or tipi canvas in this useful guide below.

Caring for your Canvas

General dirt and how to clean your canvas tent

Air pollution, pollen, ultraviolet radiation, natural dirt (including bird droppings, sand and salt water), and domestic dirt (such as cooking stains, wine, and suncream) will all affect the canvas if left uncleaned. As a result, you may be wondering how to clean your canvas tent in the best way to rid your tipi of all this dirt. It is important to let these dry out first, and then soft brush these elements off the canvas as and when they are spotted. Do not scrub too hard or you will risk creating lighter spots in the tipi tent canvas.

Please note that dust, sand and mud are best removed once the canvas is completely dry by brushing with a clean hand brush, to stop them from smearing over the canvas.

Never use detergents. Soap and other cleaning agents (also the “natural versions”, like the Dutch “Groene zeep”) will harm the water-repellent and water-resistant properties of the canvas. Do not use a high-pressure water hose, this will damage the fabric construction and consequently the waterproof properties of the canvas!


Algae will grow on anything if the conditions are favourable (shade/moist/little airflow). There is no protection against algae. Regular maintenance is key for a clean canvas. Mild brushing of dry algae will prevent further growth. Remove algae with a soft brush, dry or in combination with warm water.

If algae is resilient, algae can be removed with a 50% diluted or even 100% pure “cleaning – vinegar”. Apply on the algae (with a brush or spray bottle) and let it soak for at least 30 minutes. Brush and rinse off with excessive clean water (no high pressure). Repeat if necessary. Sun / UV after this treatment will continue the process of removing the algae. Pure or diluted vinegar will not harm the water-repellent treatment. Severe brushing or high pressure will though, so apply gently.

How to remove mildew from your canvas tent

If you don’t remove the general dirt that is sitting on your canvas, then this can act as a nutrition source for mildew. Again, regular maintenance is key. As mildew is not always straightforward to clean and remove, you may want to know how to remove mildew from your canvas tent.

If mildew does occur, we advise a mild 3% chloride solution to remove mildew. Use a soft bristle brush to apply it to the canvas and rinse extensively with water after a couple of minutes. And repeat if necessary. First, test a small area to check possible de-colouring.


Furniture Positioning

For circumstances where your tipis will be used for events, when designing the seating plan and placing out the furniture, never place chairs or similar objects against the canvas. This can also be true for glamping furniture, seating within an education tipi and so on. Abrasion can cause damage, which may result in leakage. Please make all of your suppliers aware of this point too as DJs, lighting companies, and caterers, for example, aren’t often aware of the effect their equipment can have on the tipi.

With regards to catering companies, please ensure that any cooking that takes place within reach of the tipi will not “spit out” oil or other liquids onto the tipi tent canvas as it will stain. For companies who might attach clamps to the wooden poles in your tipis (e.g., lighting companies who are installing extra lighting for the event), please make sure they put thick foam padding between their fixing mechanism and the canvas, this should limit any damage that could occur from it rubbing against the canvas.

Venues and long-term installations

We strongly recommend that maintenance checks take place daily to identify any visible signs of wear and tear that must be logged and reported to management if you have an event tipi.

Also worth noting is that often, a build-up (such as fallen leaves) can collect where the webbing is on the corners of the tipi. You must clean these areas regularly to ensure it doesn’t “sit” on the canvas for long.

For all of our long-term installation clients who have had two or more tipis linked together, (that are subjected to continuous weather conditions), we have developed our Strap Protectors that have been included in your order and will need to be placed in areas where the straps are stretched over the wooden poles (i.e. link section). These must always be in the correct position to stop the straps from rubbing against the canvas in higher winds and therefore creating holes in the tipi tent canvas. Pay particular attention to these areas during your maintenance checks and reposition if necessary.

It is important to ventilate the tipi well, including times when the tipi is not or rarely being used. This will avoid the tipi from becoming damp and thus mould and mildew from forming. The best way to do this is by turning on the heaters you have installed inside the tipis regularly.

For tipi hire and short-term installations

For businesses where the tipis will be built and dismantled every week, such as with outdoor tents for events, always check your canvas before dismantling. Check for any mud along the mudwall, bird droppings, spillages on the tipi canvas from the event, any small tears from furniture pushing up against the canvas (such as the DJ, bar or tables & benches) and any build-up of fallen leaves in the gussets. Conduct any small repairs at this point (as long as your canvas is dry) and ensure the fault is logged against the tipi number and the event it occurred at.

Please ensure that you always dry your canvas before you pack it away to store. Never keep the tipi stored away wet for longer than two days otherwise, due to insufficient ventilation, fungus can affect the canvas which will then create permanent marks. When dealing with fungus, use a soft brush or sponge and a lot of fresh water. If you have to temporarily store the tipi wet, be sure to remove the mud and dirt from the mudwall before you take it down and put your tipi back out to dry within 48hrs.


Zips sometimes have to endure extreme tension caused by wind or pressure caused by people or objects leaning into/onto the tipi. To limit damage to zips, close all zippers when the tipi is not in use and protect them by treating them with silicone lubricant frequently to ensure soft closing and opening – don’t force it! When possible, during a particularly hot or cold day, close the zips.

A product such as GearAid Zipper Lubricant, or Zip Slip will suffice, but please ensure the lubricant does not get on the tipi canvas as this will damage the fabric construction and consequently the waterproof properties of the canvas!


Tiny tears

For very small tears to the fabric, when time is of the essence, we can recommend TearAid Fabric Repair Tape, which won’t pull off when stretched. Durable, flexible, airtight, watertight and puncture-resistant – Tear-Aid® is an invaluable tool used in many industries where an air-tight, water-tight seal is essential.

Its instant adhesion, no-sewing application and high-bond strength make it simple to use, and it offers an exceptionally tough, matte finish that is effectively resistant to abrasion, puncture and tearing.

Especially if you are a tipi-hire business, we recommend a roll of this in every vehicle going to a tipi build.

Small tears

For slightly larger tears than the above, or when D-rings are pulled off by high winds or mishandling, we sell The Tipi Company TipiPatch Repair Kit which includes:

  • 10 x varying small pieces of tipi canvas (approx. 10cm x 10cm); with double-sided tape pre-stuck on the back, ready to adhere to the tipi canvas)
  • Spool & Cotton
  • Pack of curved needles
  • 5 x D-rings on webbing.

£25 + VAT & P&P

Large tears

For any large repair requests, please fill in our Online Repairs Form. We ask that you clearly identify where the damage is on your canvas tipi tent by affixing a cable tie with a label, or red tape to the D-ring (on the mudwall) that is the closest to the damage before sending it to us. If our team cannot easily identify where the damage is, they will need to inspect the whole canvas. Due to the size of the canvas, this Inspection Process often takes 3-4 hours to complete. Please try your best to flag where the damage is so that we don’t have to do so. If you are personally delivering the item to us at HQ, you can always point out the damage to our seamstresses directly which will save you the Inspection Fee. The more information we have (including photos beforehand), the more accurate our Repair Quote will be so please try and put as much information as possible in the Online Repairs Form.

Tipi tent canvas tips at The Tipi Company

We hope you have found some useful solutions to any canvas tipi tent cleaning issues you have had. If you are interested in acquiring one of our durable, British-made tipi canvas tents, take a look for yourself at our premium tipis to see the sort of tipis we can provide you with.

If you want to find out about our many different tipi tents for sale available, or would like assistance with your tipi assembly, get in touch to see how we can help you. Contact us today on 01204 860 738 or email us at