When you unpack your tent ready for your next adventure, you may start to notice a musty, moldy scent.
This is because mold and mildew can grow very quickly on wet fabrics such as tents, and leaving them wrapped up in a ball when not completely dry will cause mold to form.
However, this is not a huge issue. Yes, it will smell, but all is not lost. You can clean a ten with mold and mildew, so that it looks shiny and brand new again!
Every time you use your tent, it is going to get a little dirty, wet, or smelly. This is completely normal. What is important is that you clean your tent properly after using, and ensure it is dry before packing it away.
Otherwise, when you pull it out to use again, there will be mildew. Mold and mildew is extremely common on tents, but also extremely unhygienic, so you will want to deal with the issue as soon as you identify it.
Does your tent have mold?
If you are unsure whether your tent has a mold issue, then there are a few methods that you can use to identify the mold. Mold will appear as green, black or even blue specks on your tent’s fabric, whereas mildew is white or yellow.
The mold may even be a little fuzzy, and the tent will most likely smell like a musty old attic. This is due to the moisture that has been trapped on the fabric of the tent.
To avoid this, you can grab a wet rag and rub away at the spots and stains on the fabric of your tent. If the spots of mold and mildew do not rub off, then you may have a bigger mold problem.
Luckily for you, we have a guide of the best ways to clean a tent with mold.
How to clean a tent with mold
For smaller cases of mold, you can just use soap and water. This should be enough if you only have a few specks of mold on the fabric of your tent, and the issue will be rectified with ease.
All you have to do is pitch up your tent, so that it is easier to clean, and brush away any of the mold that you see with a soft-bristled brush or cloth. Make sure that you do this outside, or you will have specks of mold all over your floor!
You can use a brush like this one for best results.
Using a mixture of warm water and a non-detergent soap free of any fragrances, you will want to scrub at the stains of mold or mildew. Scrub until clear, and then rinse with clean water and leave the tent to dry out completely.
If you are going to use this method, then we recommend that you use Nikwax Tent and Gear Cleaner, as it cleans effectively, without damaging the fabric or removing its waterproof layer.
If soapy water just is not cutting it, then we can try a more abrasive method to remove the mold from your tent. The next options you can use are the vinegar and lemon methods. Try mixing a cup of warm water with a cup of vinegar, and place in a spray bottle.
If you do not already have a spray bottle, you will need one, as the rest of these cleaning methods require one too.
Then, use the spray bottle to treat the area with the mold and mildew on, and leave the treatment to sit for a few moments. After this, you can scrub away gently to remove the mildew or mold, and then leave the tent to dry out.
The vinegar should be enough to remove the mold, however, you can use lemon juice instead. For this, you will need about a cup of lemon juice and a gallon of hot water, and also put it in a spray bottle. Spray on the mold and leave to sit for a little while before scrubbing off, and leaving to dry.
You may be surprised to hear that you can actually use tea tree oil as a treatment against mold and mildew. This is an essential oil that is naturally antibacterial and antifungal, so it will be great when used to fight against mold and mildew. However, as it is an essential oil, there is a strong scent, so maybe do not use this method unless you have exhausted all of your other efforts.
For this to work you will need 100% pure tea tree oil.
With your oil, mix two teaspoons of the tea tree with two cups of water, and place in a spray bottle. Mix the ingredients until combined. Then, spray the mixture on the affected area, and leave to sit. You do not have to rinse this off, and you should allow the oil to air dry.
By now, there is a slim chance that the mold will still be on your tent. However, if the mold or mildew seems stubborn and will not move, then you may have to move onto a deep cleaning method.
For this method you can use: RMR-86 Instant Mold and Mildew Stain Remover Spray, STAR BRITE Sail & Canvas Cleaner and All Surface Mold Stain & Mildew Stain Remover.
You will need specific mold and mildew cleaning products to remove any issues, by simply spraying on top, and leaving it to soak. After a little scrub, you can rinse off the tent and leave to dry, and your mold problem will be no more!