You stored your tent and ensured you took the utmost care to ensure it remained in tip-top condition, but you now realize it has grown moldy. You have no idea how this happened or how to go about cleaning a moldy tent.
Unchecked mold will discolor your tent, make it smell terrible, and in the worst-case scenario, make it to become rotten and worn out. Other than possible damage to your tent, mold can be an irritant to your lungs, eyes, throat, and nose.
Keep reading to learn why your tent becomes mold-infested and how to clean it to restore its original condition.
Additionally, you will learn how to avoid mold attacks on your tent again.
Table of Contents
What causes a camping tent to get moldy?
Mold is white, green, or white in color, and it can grow in any environment but especially in damp and humid ones. The following actions will cause your tent to mold:
Storing the camping tent in a wet place
If you store your tent in a wet place, it will likely become moldy, usually within 24-48 hours. You should ensure you store it on a cool and dry surface.
Leaks in your storage area
On the other hand, if your storage leaks water in, it will create an atmosphere that attracts mold. Leaving your doors and windows open will attract elements that make the mold to grow.
Putting away the tent when it’s not completely dry
If you store your tent when it’s wet, that also a recipe for mold to grow since that the place mold thrives the best.
Storing the tent in dark places
A dark place is the best place for mold to grow, and this is a sure way to draw it. To avert this, ensure you put your tent in a well-lit place.
Poorly ventilated storage
If the ventilation in your storeroom is not proper, mold will find its way inside and form in your tent. This is because when you close the doors and windows and air doesn’t circulate well, and the spores that cause mold are locked in where they grow.
Ways to clean mold from a tent
It is good to note that you should never wash your tent in a washing machine as it might destroy the seams, stretch and overheat it, leading to damage. Mold stains are stubborn, which means although you clean them out, they may not totally disappear. The following instructions will guide you while you clean a tent with mold.
Set up the tent
It will be easier to spot the places that are moldy when the tent is stretched. Similarly, you will be able to reach the whole tent as opposed to when it is collapsed.
Remove the loose mold
This obvious step is to make your work easier by removing the mold you can see first. Use a bristle brush to rub off the mold that you can.
Clean it up
Mix warm water, vinegar, and lye soap that doesn’t have detergents. Detergent soaps are harmful because they will attract insects, and they are also hard to rinse and tough on canvas. Apply this mixture on the moldy sections of the tent and use a brush to scrub it. If the mold is extensive, you can still use bleach, but note it may damage the tent.
Rinse it out
You should thoroughly rinse out the tent to get rid of soap and vinegar. Rinse until the smell of both is totally eradicated.
Dry it thoroughly
Give the tent ample time to completely dry before you store it to avoid the mold problem again.
How to help mitigate the moldy smell from a tent
Mold has an unpleasant odor, and even after thoroughly cleaning a moldy tent, it might still be smelly. In that case, use the following methods to help alleviate the smell.
Set up the tent out in the open to dry
Most times, this will get rid of any smell as the tent airs out and dries. To ensure you are not dealing with any pungent smells from your tent in the future, always let your tent dry out completely after each use or wash. Additionally, make sure the tent is stored in an airy room.
Use a fabric deodorizers
Fabric deodorizers like Downy, Febreeze, and Lysol, among others. Spray these just like you would do to freshen your house. The tent will be left smelling good, and it will be comfortable using it.
Use Gear Aid Revivex Odor Eliminator
Gear Aid Revivex Odor Eliminator consists of a mix of natural microbes. This is a safer product and will not damage your tent in any way. This procedure requires you to soak the tent fully.
- Fill a tub full of water to be able to completely immerse the tent.
- Pour 2-4 ounces of Gear Aid Revivex Odor Eliminator in water (2 ounces per 20 gallons of water). Emerse the tent and thoroughly mix to reach every part of the tent. Do this immediately to get the best results.
- Let it stay soaking for up to five minutes and don’t rinse.
- Set out the tent outside to dry completely, making sure to avoid the direct sun.
How to help prevent a tent from becoming moldy in the future
You should altogether avoid the issue of cleaning a moldy tent by learning how to prevent the problem in the first place. The following tips will help you out.
Pitch the tent correctly
Make sure you set up your tent the right way. This means no folds and depressions that can hold and seep in water without your knowledge.
Do not touch the tent with grease
Grease affects the waterproof of the tent, and you should, therefore, avoid touching it with oil or have it pour on the rent.
Avoid all sources of condensation
Any time you cook in the tent, condensation takes place, and if you don’t take note, it will be a cause of molding when you store your tent.
Do your washing outside the tent
Dishwashing soap is a detergent that affects a canvas tent. You can avoid this by being very careful as you wash dishes or completely washing them away from the tent.
Separate the tent before storage
When storing the tent keep each part alone. This means you separate your tent from the guy ropes, groundsheet, and rings since these might harbor some form of dirt that you don’t notice.
Do not touch the tent when it’s raining
If you touch your tent in the rain will seep water that it will retain. This means some parts will be dry while other patches are wet and you might think its all dry
Completely dry the tent
Water is the primary cause of mold, and you should, therefore carefully inspect the tent to ensure the tent is totally dry before you store it.
Reproof the tent
Though the tent comes with anti fungi, it eventually wears out, and you should repeat the procedure. You can do this by setting up your tent after completely drying it. Take out the dirt and dust using a bristle brush and then apply the soaking agent with a soft brush. Leave your tent to dry in a cool place away from the direct sun.
Store it in a well-ventilated room
Completely drying a tent and then storing it in a poorly ventilated room will land you in the same mold problems you are trying to avoid. Check out your storage to ensure no moisture can form on the tent when you store it.
Store your tent in a cotton container
A cotton bag is more suitable for storing your tent since it has pores and does not have surface wetting agents but remains dry. This is unlike a plastic container that sweats and has no ventilation.
Clean and air the tent every so often
Airing and cleaning your tent regularly will ensure you wash away any mold that was beginning to form before it becomes widespread.
Always set up the tent when drying it
When drying your tent, go for setting it up as opposed to hanging it. This is because by hanging it, some folds may not dry, making them prone to mold when you store the tent.
As you can see, mold loves dark and wet places, and storing your tent in such conditions will sure attract it. You will be able to see the mold or, in some cases, just smell a musty odor, which is a tell-tale sign of molding.
To ensure you no longer have to clean a tent with mold, you should thoroughly dry it before storage. At the same time, you should store it in a well lit (if possible), well ventilated and dry place.
Should you, however, still find yourself with a moldy tent, follow the steps above to remove it. Then be sure to implement the steps to help keep the moisture at bay so your tent remains fresh and mold-free.