Camping is supposed to be a fun activity, and it is something people do to get away from the daily world and relax.
All that is good but you can’t relax in a tent if it stinks badly. Can you?
So, why does a tent smell? Well, it is actually because of the formation of mold and mildew on your tent. If they start developing on your tent, it gives a very bad smell and they don’t even go off easily by cleaning. You need to know how to clean a tent that has developed mold.
So, we are here to help you with that and tell you how exactly you can remove these stinky things from your tent. Let’s get started.
What Are Mold And Mildew?
To get rid of the problem, let’s get to the base of the problem first. Let us take a look at what mold and mildew are.
Mold is a kind of fungus that contains multiple identical nuclei. You can identify a mold if you see black or green patches on your tent. Further, they are dangerous because they penetrate through the surface and get inside your tent.
Mildew is better than mold. It is identified by white, gray, or yellow patches on your tent and it stays on the surface. They are found in damp spaces.
Why Are Mold & Mildew Formed?
As we can see both mold and mildew are fungi, so they develop in places where there is dampness or dirty water. When you camp during rainy weather, the water drips on the surface of your tent. When you return and keep your tent away, if by chance some amount of water, however little, gets trapped inside the tent while packing, over the course of time, mold and mildew start developing in the tent.
So, when you take your tent out, it will start to stink. Also, sometimes, there is natural precipitation or condensation on the surface of the tent when kept away. Then, in that case, as well, the tent starts developing mold and mildew.
If you want to know more about how to clean a tent that smells, you can check How To Clean A Tent That Smells: 8 Easy Ways To Keep Your Tent Stink-Free.
So, now that we know all that, let’s first see how can we avoid mold and mildew altogether.
How To Clean A Tent With Mold: 5 Ways Of Prevention
There are many things you can do to keep your tent from developing any kind of mold. You must do all of them to ensure that your tent remains clean.
1. Clean Your Tent:
Firstly, you have to clean your tent as soon as you are done camping. Every time you go camping in some dirty or rainy environment, it is very important that after you return, the first thing you do is clean the tent with fresh water and detergent.
As it is said, prevention is better than cure, so if you don’t let any dirt or stale water stay in your tent, your tent is more likely to last for a long time and get no foul smell.
2. Dry Your Tent:
You should develop a habit of drying your tent after every use. If you dry your tent, no moisture can get into the tent and hence no smell. After you are done with camping and your tent is cleaned with water and detergent, if you pack it instantly without drying it, it will catch a foul smell.
So, it is best to dry your tent not in an enclosed area like indoors but in the open under the sun. You can keep it under the sun for a day because it takes a while to completely dry out.
Make sure that fog and mist don’t fall on your tent though, then all your effort may go to waste.
3. Seal Up Your Tent:
Next is storing your tent, and the best method is sealing it. You can pack your tent away into a sealed container and it will guard your tent against moisture or pests. If you use this method, you also have to pack a moisture and odor absorbing object with the tent. It is best to use some rice in a cloth, or the commonly available naphthalene balls for this.
4. Use Airy Protection:
If you don’t use the sealing method, this is another method to prevent developing mold. In this method, you can store your tent in its original bag or any other space which is climate controlled. Space has to be maintained at a stable temperature and humidity. Places like a storage closet can be used for this method. A moisture-absorbing object isn’t necessary but you can place one for extra precautions.
5. Check On Your Tent Regularly:
Finally, you must always check on your tent at regular intervals. As we have said that mold can develop because of condensation on the tent while it is kept away as well. So, always check on your tent every six months to make sure there isn’t any mold.
If you find any, clean your tent in the process that we will tell you in detail below.
How To Remove Mold:
Removing mold can be a tricky process and may require you to do hard work, but it isn’t impossible, and here are 4 methods by which you can remove mold.
Use Soap And Water:
The first method is using soap and water to clean your tent. You have to pitch your tent somewhere like on your patio. Then, start scrubbing your tent gently. Use a cloth or a scrubber. Remember that there is a waterproof layer, and to make sure that the layer remains intact we scrub gently.
If your tent is a canvas tent, you can apply a bit more pressure. Then mix some non-detergent soap with water in a bucket and use it to scrub the mold and mildew. Then rinse the tent with clean water and let it dry under the sun.
Use Vinegar And Lemon:
In a container, pour water and vinegar in equal amounts to make a solution and then pour it into a spray bottle. Now, spray some of the solutions on the affected areas with mold and let the solution as it is for some time. Then scrub the areas gently.
In place of vinegar, you can also use lemon. Ass, some people don’t like the smell of vinegar, you can add some salt and lemon to water and spray that solution instead.
You must keep in mind that before using any method, first try it out with a small portion of the tent and if it is safe, then proceed with the entire tent.
Use Spray-On Treatment:
In this method, you can use mold removal products, like Concrobium, for example. Certain products are made for cleaning mold stains. You have to apply these products to the mold stain, let it dry, scrub it, and repeat the process twice.
Use Deep Cleaning Method:
If you have tough mold problems that previously mentioned methods couldn’t remove, you can get to a deep cleaning method that can surely remove all the mold and mildew off your tent.
First, fill a large container, like a bathtub with lukewarm water, and then add some enzyme cleaning product.
Then, turn the tent inside out, and unzip all the zips. Soak the tents as long as is required and then rinse the tent with fresh water. After you are done cleaning, look for some spots remaining and clean them using the previous method. Finally, dry your tent by pitching it and then hanging it in a shady area.
Always check for the waterproofing of your tent after cleaning with these methods, as some products may damage the waterproof coating, especially if you leave them for long.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
As it is said that prevention is better than cure, you must always try to prevent first and if the problem persists, look for a cure. Similar is for cleaning a tent, always try to get your tent checked regularly so that mold doesn’t get the chance to grow in the first place.
As campers, we can tell you not to use a washing machine ever for cleaning your tent. Do the hard work and it will save you a lot of money, we can assure you that.
Also, always make sure to check on the instructions that are given on the products before you start any cleaning process. These methods will work on all kinds of tents, so whatever type of tent you own, these methods can help you.
Please share with us your fun camping stories and tell us how you got rid of mold in the tent, through the comment section below.
As per tradition now, Happy Camping!