Updated at: 19-07-2022 - By: Helen Skeates

It’s possible that a musty, moldy odor will greet you when you unpack your tent in preparation for your next excursion.

Leaving a tent wrapped in a ball that has not dried entirely encourages mold growth because moist textiles, such as a tent, can grow quickly.

This, however, does not pose a major problem. All is not lost, even if it does smell. Mold and mildew may be removed off a ten, making it appear like new again!

There will be a small amount of dirt, wetness or odor in your tent every time you use it. This is nothing out of the ordinary. Following correct cleaning and drying procedures before storing your tent is essential.

To avoid mildew after resuming usage, keep it in an airtight container. As soon as you notice mold or mildew growing on your tent, you’ll want to get it taken care of as quickly as possible.

Does your tent have mold?

If you’re not sure if mold is a problem in your tent, you can use a few different methods to find out. When mold grows on your tent’s fabric, it appears as green, black, or even blue flecks, whereas mildew is white or yellow.

How To Clean A Tent With Mold - The Ultimate Guide

Mold may even be fuzzy, and the tent will most likely smell like a musty old attic. This is because the tent’s canvas has become saturated with dampness.

You can avoid this by rubbing the spots and stains out of your tent’s fabric with a moist rag. As a rule, if the mold and mildew spots don’t come off with soap and water, you may have a larger mold issue.

You’re in luck, since we’ve put together a list of the best techniques to remove mold from a tent.

How to clean a tent with mold

Soap and water can be used to clean up minor mold infestations. A few particles of mold on your tent’s fabric should be all that’s needed to fix the problem with ease.

With a soft-bristled brush or towel, all you need to do is set up your tent so that you can easily clean it. When doing this outside, be careful not to get any mold on your floor!

For the greatest effects, use a brush like this one.

Mold and mildew stains can be scrubbed away with a mixture of warm water and a non-detergent soap free of any perfumes. Rinse the tent thoroughly with clean water after scrubbing it until it is clear.

If you’re going to clean your tent this way, we suggest using Nikwax Tent and Gear Cleaner, which gets the job done without hurting the fabric or losing the waterproof coating from your tent’s interior.

It’s possible that a more abrasive approach of cleaning your tent of mold will be more effective if soapy water fails to do the trick. The vinegar and lemon methods are the next ones you can try out. Try combining a cup of warm water and a cup of vinegar in a spray bottle and using it as a cleaning solution.

A spray bottle is required for all of these cleaning procedures. Those who don’t currently own one should get one now.

Then, spray the mold and mildew-infested area with the spray bottle and let it sit for a few minutes. To get rid of the mildew or mold, you can use a sponge to gently scrub the tent and then leave it to dry.

However, if you want, you can use lemon juice instead of vinegar to get rid of the mold. A gallon of hot water and a cup of lemon juice are all you need for this method. Let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub it off and let it dry before using it again.

Tea tree oil can be used to treat mold and mildew, which may come as a surprise to you. Mold and mildew will be no match for this essential oil’s inherent antibacterial and antifungal properties. However, because it is an essential oil, the aroma is strong, therefore this procedure should only be used if all other options have failed.

Fill a spray bottle half-full with two tablespoons of tea tree oil and half-full of water. Combine the ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Then, apply the mixture to the affected region and allow it to sit for a few minutes. If you don’t want to rinse it off, just let it air dry.

It’s highly unlikely that the mold on your tent will still be there by now. Deep cleaning may be necessary, though, if the mold or mildew is persistent and won’t budge.

Essential Tips When Cleaning A Tent

A few pointers to bear in mind when cleaning a tent before we get started on the mold removal (mold or not).

  • Using an abrasive cleaner could damage the fabric of your tent and limit its lifespan.
  • Tents should never be washed in a machine. It’s capable of destroying the tent’s fabric, seam tape, special coating, and any waterproofing it may have contained.
  • The outside material can only be washed by hand. Attempts to remove the polyurethane waterproofing coating from the interior of most tent flies may cause harm to or remove it entirely if done improperly.

More basic cleaning tips can be found in our step-by-step guide on how to clean a tent.

How To Clean A Tent With Mold While Camping

For most people, mold forms on their tents while they’re in storage, and unless they examine their tent before they leave for their trip, they may not know they have a mold problem until they get at the destination.

Let us know if you have any questions or concerns, and we’ll be happy to help.

What you’ll need

  • Soap
  • Water
  • A sponge or a piece of cloth
  • The rays of the rising sun

Step 1: Set up the tent

The rain fly should be removed before you begin cleaning your tent.

Step 2: Prepare some warm soapy water

Add your mild soap to warm water and swirl to thoroughly combine.

Step 3: Scrub using a rag or a sponge

Remove any mold growth by scrubbing the tent.

Step 4: Rinse thoroughly

Following a thorough cleaning, make sure to rinse away all of the soap from the affected areas.

Step 5: Leave it to dry completely

IFrameIt is recommended that you leave your tent to dry in the shade after washing it. As an alternative, the sun acts as a natural bleaching agent and can help eliminate any leftover bacteria that you may not have wiped off. Do not, under any circumstances, dry a tent in a dryer.
Easy 3-Part Guide On How To Clean A Tent With Mold - Krostrade

DIY Remedies For Removing Mold On A Tent

It’s easier than ever to clear mold and mildew from your tent before you leave for a camping vacation with basic household materials.

The following do-it-yourself mold removal procedures work well, but they may shorten the life of your tent in the process. Natural products can be used to clean, but they must be used with caution.

Method 1: Lemon juice and salt

You’ll need these supplies:

  • a quart of water
  • a quart of fresh lemon juice
  • salt, one-half cup
  • Brush with bristles or sponge?

To make 1 gallon of lemonade, combine 1 cup lemon juice, 1 cup salt, and 1 gallon boiling water. Scrub your nylon/polyester tent’s mold patches with a bristle brush or a towel dipped in this solution. Clean your tent with a sponge. The non-abrasive side of the sponge should always be used.

Instead of using a sponge, use a bristle brush to clean a canvas tent. Remove as much mold as possible from your tent’s canvas by scrubbing it. It is best to let the tent dry out in direct sunlight after rinsing with clean water.

Method 2: White vinegar diluted with water

Because vinegar is so effective at cleaning, it is often referred to as a “cleaning powerhouse.” You’ll need the following:

  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Vinegar
  • A cannister with a spray nozzle
  • Brush with a supple, soft hairs

Mix 1 gallon of water with 1 cup of white vinegar. Spray the afflicted sections of your tent with a mixture of vinegar and water. To remove the mold, use a bristle brush or sponge to scrub the affected area.

When using vinegar, do not rinse the tent. Allow the tent to completely dry out in the sun’s rays.

How To Prevent Mold And Mildew In Your Tent

For those who prefer not to deal with mold and mildew in their homes, you can take steps to keep mold and mildew from forming in your tent. If you’re looking for a reliable way to keep your tent fresh, these are the finest practices.

  • Clean your tent at least once a season; it is recommended that you do it more frequently.
  • When you’re done camping, make sure your tent is completely dry before storage.
  • Your tent should be stored properly; keep it in a cool, dry place and in a bag that allows it to breathe.
  • When you’re not camping, inspect your tent to make sure it’s still clean and dry.
  • Keep your tent’s vents open and the windows and doors open as much as possible while in use to provide appropriate ventilation.
  • Spray your tent with a waterproofing solution once a season to keep it dry and prevent moisture from forming on the inside and outside.

If your tent is moist, dark, and musty, mold will form, so use the advice in this article to keep your tent clean, dry, and fresh.

How to identify mold on your camping gear and tent

Every time you use your tent, I strongly advise you to check it for mold and mildew. You’ll be able to see any mold growth and eliminate it as soon as possible this way. If you’re a regular camper and use your tent frequently, this is very crucial.

If you detect anything odd or suspect while inspecting your tent, you should first make sure it isn’t unclean before concluding that it is mold or mildew.

If the stain won’t come off with a wipe, you may have mold or mildew on your hands. Black, green, or blue mold patches that are also fuzzy are common. Spots of mildew might be white, gray, or yellow in appearance.

Mold and mildew both produce a musty odor when exposed to moisture, so if mold is a problem, you’ll also detect a musty odor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you sleep in a moldy tent?

If need be, you can sleep in a mildewed tent. Even if you detect mold and mildew on your tent after setting it up, you can still sleep in it for a few nights.

Symptoms like a runny nose and itchy eyes are the most common side effects of camping in a moldy tent. Pollen allergies are akin to this. However, if you can handle the moldy smell and some pain for just one or two nights, then a moldy tent is fine for sleeping in.

How To Get Rid Of The Moldy Smell?

The vinegar, lemon, and tea tree oil mentioned earlier are excellent for removing the stench. Baking soda, vinegar, and water can also produce comparable results, as can a cup of bleach and a cup of warm water.

While tea tree oil is an option for those who prefer a natural approach, there are several essential oils available that are as effective at masking odors. In addition to water, you can use hydrogen peroxide or borax to scrub the tent.

What does mold look like?

Knowing what mold and mildew look like will help you decide if your tent is infested. Streaks, spots, and clumps are all common occurrences. Depending on the type of mold, it might be white, green, or even black. A “fuzzy” appearance is another possibility.

To remove this, you cannot just wipe it or dust it off with a broom handle. Use one of the cleaning solutions we’ve provided earlier to scrub and clean it. The easiest method to avoid mold and mildew is to keep your tent clean and dry.

How do you Clean A Canvas Tent?

It is preferable to use a soft bristle brush to remove mold from a canvas tent. Avoid using solutions like bleach or detergent soaps which can be harsh on the canvas material.

It is preferable to use a soft bristle brush to remove mold from a canvas tent. Avoid using solutions like bleach or detergent soaps which can be harsh on the canvas material.

What If You Discover Mold On Your Tent While Camping?

When it comes to removing mold from a canvas tent, a soft bristle brush is the ideal tool. To avoid damaging the canvas, stay away from harsh solutions like bleach and detergent soaps.

There is little doubt that the musty smell will be a bigger problem. Cleaning your tent while you’re away is still an option. Ideally, you’ll also have some kind of soap on hand for cleansing your hands and any other surfaces you may come into contact with.

That soap can be used to make a mixture of warm water and soap to clear the mold on your camping stove or over an open fire. To remove the mold, use a sponge or a towel. A thorough cleaning should be done after returning to your home to remove all mold and mildew.

How To Clean A Tent With Mold? | Beginner Guide - TentsVela

Wrapping Up

Mold and mildew can be eradicated in your tent in a variety of ways, and using a chemical solution or another mold-killing mixture is always a safe bet.

Take rid of the odor once it’s clean, and then have a wonderful camping trip with a mold-free and fresh-smelling tent.

Mold removal is time-consuming and labor-intensive, so try to avoid it in the future. Simple to follow, these preventative measures should make your tent last longer and stay cleaner.