How To Eliminate Tent Smell

10 Tips for Cleaning a Smelly Tent

The weather is becoming more unpredictable. This time of year, the crisp, chilly nights invite you to start thinking about your next camping trip. You quickly notice that something smells like it came directly from the garbage can when you take your tent out of storage, and you ponder putting the tent in the same garbage can as the rest of your belongings. Wait. Consider the possibility that you might be able to salvage your stinky tent before you toss it out. A stinky tent may spoil even the most enjoyable camping experience.

I’ll give my suggestions on how to clean a stinky tent and how to keep your tent from becoming the stinkiest child at the campsite.

Tip1 – Preventing a Stinky Tent

Preventing a stinky tent is the first step toward ensuring that your tent has a long life and that you have many years of enjoyable camping. There are various items that should be on your preventative to-do list. Here are a few examples. Following each camping trip, you should take the following steps to avoid the growth of unpleasant organisms and to keep odors at bay.

  • Remove any debris that may have accumulated within the tent. Before putting the tent away, check to see that it is entirely dry. If you believe the water is dry, wait a bit longer for added assurance. Inspect the inside and outside of your tent. Investigate the area for any issues that might result in foul odors.

Tip2 – Determine Why You Have a Smelly Tent

Clear the tent of any debris that has accumulated within it. To store your tent, be certain that it is totally dry. It’s best to wait a bit longer if you believe it’s dry for further assurance. Inspect the inside and outside of your tent thoroughly. Examine the area for any issues that might result in foul odors.

Tip3 – How to Air Out A Smelly Tent

If you have a bad tent smell, I have discovered that air can be a fantastic cleaning technique for getting rid of it. It is completely free and frequently performs flawlessly. Here’s how to properly ventilate a tent. I recommend taking your tent out of the bag a few days before your next big expedition to allow air to circulate through the fibers, eliminating any unpleasant odors that may have accumulated in there over the years. The most effective method of accomplishing this is to hang your tent from a clothesline.

Simply keep an eye out for any sharp edges that might potentially damage or tear the fabric of your tent’s walls.

Tip4 –How to Clean a Tent with Vinegar and Lemon Juice

Vinegar combined with lemon juice is an excellent DIY solution for getting rid of odors caused by fungus such as mold and mildew in your tent. You’ll need vinegar, lemon juice, a tub large enough to immerse your tent, and a little bit of time to complete this project. Fill your bathtub halfway with lemon juice, vinegar, and warm water. Submerge your stinky tent in the solution and allow it to soak for at least an hour. Even best is to set aside two to three hours. Once you’ve enlisted the assistance of a few buddies, remove the tent from the cleaning solution.

At first, you may hang the tent from a clothesline or place it on a table.

As a result of its acidity, vinegar is an extremely effective mold and mildew killer.

In addition, the lemon juice will assist to keep your tent from smelling like pickles. In the event that you merely want a spot clean for mold and mildew, either of these two cleaning treatments will suffice.

  1. 14 cup of white vinegar and one cup of warm water are all that is needed. a cup of lemon juice, a cup of salt, and a gallon of boiling hot water

A spray bottle is filled with both solutions, which have been mixed together. I should point out that the majority of people identify bleach with the destruction of mold and mildew. However, while bleach can stop those nasty germs in their tracks, it is not recommended that you put bleach on your tent. Bleach has the potential to degrade the tent’s fabric, resulting in more difficulties in the future.

Tip5 – Saving a Tent that Smells like Rotten Eggs and Vomit

Furnace fumes and vomit are not scents that should be associated with camping excursions. Don’t be concerned if your tent smells like sulfur or if someone has forgotten where they put their food. You have the option to save it. In addition to having a foul odor, tents that are suffering polyethylene degradation will also have a rotten odor. You will require the following items in order to completely eliminate this odor: a large bathtub, warm water, and a generous amount of mild dish soap are all you need.

Immerse the tent in the mixture for at least an hour, and maybe longer.

The polyethylene coating will be removed as a result of this procedure.

Tip6 – Cleaning a Smelly Pop-Up Tent

Pop-up tents are popular among campers who are traveling alone or with a partner. They might also develop a foul odor. Cleaning tiny tents is necessary, although it is not as critical as cleaning larger ones. Using a spray bottle cleaning solution and popping up your pop-up tent is the most effective way to clean your pop-up tent. You may make your own cleaning solution, such as vinegar and lemon juice, or purchase a tent cleaner that is specifically made for tent cleaning. After spraying the tent with the cleaning solution, allow it to rest for about 30 minutes in a well-ventilated location.

Tip7 – Always Hand Wash Your Smelly Tent

We’ve spoken about a few different techniques to clean your stinking tent. However, I believe it’s crucial to point out that your two hands are the only equipment you’ll need for washing your tent. Tents are not designed to withstand vigorous cleaning. Hand washing with gentle scrub brushes are the best option. However, you must use caution when gently swirling your tent in the enormous tub of cleaning solution. The fibers and mesh components of your tent should not be damaged, and you should avoid doing so.

Tip8 – Never, Ever Use A Washing Machine

The methods for cleaning your stinking tent have been described in detail. The fact that your two hands are the only tools you’ll need to wash your tent, I believe, should not be overlooked. Scrubbing with abrasive materials is not recommended for tents.

Hand washes with gentle scrub brushes are the best option for sensitive skin. But be cautious while you are gently swirling your tent in the enormous basin of washing solution! The fibers and mesh components of your tent should not be subjected to any kind of damage.

Tip9 – Use a Tent Air-Freshener

During your fantastic camping vacation, your tent will begin to smell, and you will have to get out of it quickly. An air freshener can be used instead of packing it up early in the morning. Caution should be exercised, though. Using a fragrant air freshener may draw the attention of undesirable visitors to your home. My recommendation is to avoid using Lysol or Febreeze products. It is preferable to use an odor remover that has been specifically made for camping tents. These goods include enzymes that are activated when they are combined with water.

The idea is to completely eliminate the odor, not merely disguise it.

Tip10 – Implement Post – Clean Treatments

Fellow campers, we don’t want to put in all of our effort into cleaning our tents just to forget to properly pack them up at the end of the season. Any camping checklist should include instructions on how to store a tent properly. After you have fully washed and dried your tent, make certain that it is absolutely dry. It is impossible to overstate the importance of this tip. Leaving any moisture in your tent may cause mold and mildew to grow, making all of your hard work in the field a waste of time.

Because crumbs are difficult to notice with the human eye, it is critical to properly sweep and clean out the tent before using it.

When storing your tent, don’t jam it into a bag like you would a suitcase.

Your tent should be stored in a cool, dry location so that it will be ready for you to use on your next camping excursion.

Long Term Care of Your Tent Dwelling

Friends, we don’t want to put in all of our effort into cleaning our tents and then forget about properly packing them up. Any camping checklist should include instructions for storing tents in the proper manner. Remember to properly dry your tent once you have washed and sanitized it. We cannot emphasize how important this suggestion is. Leaving any moisture in your tent may cause mold and mildew to grow, making all of your hard work in the field a complete waste of time. Mold can grow in any debris that is left inside the tent.

Using a soft bristle broom or a water hose, you may rapidly clear your tent of debris.

Following a thorough drying process, it is advisable to roll it up.

  • Waterproofing is a key step that must not be overlooked. While you won’t need to waterproof your garment after every wash, you should take the time to inspect the seams and fabric for any areas that require care before continuing. It is recommended that you waterproof your tent every two to three years as a general rule.
  • Store your tent in its original bag, or wrap it in a pillowcase if necessary. Pillowcases are excellent since they are loose and allow for plenty of air circulation. It has already been noted that you should not be in a hurry to load the tent inside the bag. When you roll up your tent, the tension is distributed uniformly across all seams and sections of the tent.
  • When going on a camping trip, choose a suitable location to put up your tent and take precautions during the setup
  • Before you begin to put up your tent for the first time, be sure you have read all of the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s possible that you’ll need to get acquainted with them again from time to time.
  • It is recommended that you practice your set up at home first. In the comfort of your own home rather than in the untamed outdoors, setting up your tent will be less stressful.

Rid Yourself of a Smelly Tent and Start Planning Your Next Camping Trip

Camping is a popular family activity for many people. The perfect time to get out and appreciate nature to its greatest extent, sleeping beneath the stars and cooking up your favorite camping foods. Each morning, stepping out of your tent and inhaling the fresh air is a wonderful experience. It is this sense of awe that makes all of the effort involved in caring for your tent worthwhile. Tents that smell bad might ruin the memories that you can form when camping.

It has the potential to make you feel sick. There is absolutely no need to suffer. Using these simple techniques to clean your stinky tent can make a significant difference. Now is the time to start planning your next fantastic outdoor vacation, and don’t be concerned about a stinky tent.

Stinky Tent? 7 Tips on How to Clean a Tent That Smells

Do you have a stinky tent? It’s not a problem! Here are some pointers on how to clean a tent that is smelling bad and may even have mold growing on it, which I hope will be helpful for you. You’ll even learn how to avoid anything like this from happening in the future if it does. It has been my experience that the best approach to clean your tent if you notice that your tent stinks is to soak it in a container filled with a mixture of lemon juice, white vinegar, and water. This solution will completely eradicate any unpleasant odors and will even kill mold and mildew spores if present.

The last thing you want to do before going camping is clean a tent that smells like old gym socks that have been hanging in your locker all summer!

In addition, at the conclusion of the post, we’ve included a video that walks you through the whole process of cleaning your tent from beginning to end.

Tips for Cleaning a Tent That Smells

It’s possible that you’re getting bored of cleaning your tent every time you pull it out of storage, so you should think about and eliminate whatever it is that’s producing the scent in the first place. When your tent stinks, the most typical explanation is that it has been exposed to too much moisture. Depending on how damp it was, you either put it away immediately or stored it in a way that allowed moisture to leak into the container during storage and transportation. Please keep in mind that just because it may not have rained during your camping vacation does not imply that your tent was not exposed to moisture.

If this small amount of moisture is not allowed to dry fully, it might be the catalyst for mildew or mold to begin developing on your tent, as well as the source of that musty odor you despise so much.

  1. Purchase a tent footprint to use as a guide. Using this method, you may avoid having your tent damaged or rainwater pooling beneath your tent. If it does rain, or if there is morning dew, try to give your tent a quick wipe down rather than waiting for it to dry or packing it up while it is still wet and damp. Alternatively, if you must transport it damp, unpack it and allow it to dry as soon as you reach your next location. Never forget to allow it to dry
  2. When entering your tent, enforce a no-food and no-shoes policy. This prevents crumbs and moisture from going inside the machine and being trapped within. Mold and mildew are attracted to moisture and food, which are both present in your tent and encourage their growth. Once you’ve returned home, don’t just throw your tent in the corner. After every lengthy vacation, make sure to thoroughly clean your tent. It is important to clean your vehicle at least once for each season that you take it out, especially if it is used largely for short journeys. As soon as you can, gently spot clean any unclean spots that have accumulated. Odors will be less likely to occur as a result of this. And, as usual, allow yourself plenty of time to dry once you’ve done a spot clean.
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Never Wash Your Tent in a Washing Machine

Obtain a tent footprint to use as a guideline. This prevents your tent from becoming damaged or rainwater from gathering beneath your tent. Rather of waiting for it to dry or packing it up wet, if it does rain or if there is morning dew, try to give your tent a quick wash down. If you must transport anything damp, unpack it as soon as you reach at your next location and allow it to dry. Don’t forget to allow it to dry completely; while entering your tent, enforce a no food or shoes policy. As a result, crumbs and moisture are prevented from entering and becoming trapped inside the appliance.

Do not simply put your tent away when you get home.

After every lengthy vacation, make a point of cleaning your tent completely.

As soon as you are able, gently spot clean any soiled spots.

As a result, the likelihood of scents occurring will decrease. Remember to allow plenty of time for drying after you have done a spot cleaning job.

Should You Use Soap or Go All Natural

Cleaning a tent may be accomplished in two ways. When I initially started looking into how to clean my tent, I discovered that all you need to do is wash it with a light detergent soap and air it dry. Dish soap was highly recommended by a large number of individuals. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on fancy products; the brand from the Dollar Store will suffice. If at all possible, choose a product with a light smell or perhaps one that is fragrance-free altogether. In addition, it is commonly recognized that perfumes may attract unwelcome creatures, such as mosquitoes, which is something you absolutely want to avoid at all costs.

After repeated attempts at cleaning my tent, this has become my favored approach.

Handwashing Your Tent

The cleaning process could take a bit longer if your tent is really filthy. In order to clean the unclean spots, you’ll need to put in a little elbow grease and scrape the regions using a soft, nonabrasive sponge. I prefer to use a spray bottle for this purpose. If possible, hand wash the outer textiles and avoid cleaning the underside of the tent flap, as this may result in damage to the waterproof coating. Never scrub too hard, and always be careful with it, since if you are too harsh with it, you might wind up harming your tent and ruining your trip.

Despite the fact that chemical solutions are available for spot cleaning stubborn stains on tents, I still prefer to use soap and water or a mix of lemon juice and vinegar to clear tough stains.

What if My Tent Has Mold or Mildew

If your tent was stowed away and it was still somewhat moist, there’s a strong probability that mildew, or even worse, mold, had grown on it during the storage period. It’s not an issue! You may use the same vinegar that you used to soak your tent in for this purpose. The only difference is that you’ll want to pour the vinegar into a spray bottle (without diluting it) and add some lemon juice to it before spraying the problem regions with the solution. Allow it to rest for around an hour before wiping it down with a gentle sponge.

Other options include using a mildew and mold stain remover such as Starbrite to get rid of the stains.

How to Store Your Tent Properly

Smelly tents are a camper’s worst nightmare, especially if mold is developing on the inside of them. The most effective method I’ve found for preventing this from happening is to ensure that your tent is entirely dry before putting it away. My method of storing my tent for the winter does not include of packing it up and loading it into my car while camping. As soon as I come home, I wash it thoroughly and hang it outside to dry in the sun, if the weather is cooperative. If the weather isn’t cooperating, I’ll set up the tent in my garage and let it dry for at least 24 hours, if not more, before packing it up for the season.

A couple of ArmHammer baking soda bags are also a smart option if you’re planning on keeping it in a location that’s prone to moisture, such as an attic, basement, or outside shed.

This will assist to keep the moisture under control. When your tent is not in use, this will not only keep it from smelling, but it will also assist to keep mold from forming on the surface of the tent.


Smelly tents are a camper’s worst nightmare, especially if mildew is forming on the inside of the tent walls. The best method I’ve found to avoid this from happening is to make sure your tent is entirely dry before putting it away for the winter season. My method of storing my tent for the winter does not consist of packing it up and loading it into my car. As soon as I come home, I wash it thoroughly and hang it out to dry in the sun, if the weather is cooperative. Whenever the weather isn’t cooperating, I’ll set up the tent in my garage and let it dry for at least 24 hours, if not more, before packing it up for the winter.

A couple of ArmHammer baking soda bags are also a smart option if you’re planning on keeping it in a location that’s prone to moisture, such as an attic, cellar, or outside shed.

When your tent isn’t in use, this will not only keep it from smelling, but it will also assist to keep mold from forming on the surface of the fabric.

4 Simple Steps to Clean Your Stinky Tent

HelloTrail is entirely sponsored by its readers. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of our expert-recommended links, we may get a commission at no additional cost to you. More information may be found here. Taking a breath of fresh camping air after a stressful week at work is the perfect way to decompress and reconnect with nature after a stressful week at work. You begin to gather your belongings: the food, the clothing, the sleeping bag – hmmm – what else do you need to take with you?

The moment you reach within noseshot of the shelter, however, your nostrils are stung by an unpleasant smell!

Don’t make a big deal about it, though.

How to Clean a Stinky Tent After Camping

There are a variety of procedures available for disinfecting and deodorizing your shelter. I’ve compiled a list of some of the more popular ones, arranged in descending order of effectiveness. Typically, only one or two approaches are required, but if you want your tent to smell very fresh, feel free to follow the instructions to the letter.

1. Let Your Tent Dry and Air Out The Odors

Prepare the tent for cleaning by hanging it in a well-ventilated place for a few minutes before you start using sponges and soap. While I use a clothesline, you may use the backs of four chairs, or something similar, if you don’t have one available. This enables for unrestricted circulation of air throughout the shelter. Okay, Andrew, that was simple enough, but how long should you let a tent air out before using it? Make sure that all of the forest debris has been removed from the tent and allow it to set for 2-3 days.

If you’ve just washed your tent, you may use this procedure to fully dry it out. Wait one extra day once you’ve determined that it’s dry and ready to leave. Mildew might develop in the tent as a result of moisture accumulation, and you’ll have to start the process over from the beginning.

2. Quick Scrub to Clean Dirt and Grime

Make sure to pitch the tent first because it will be much easier to clean this way.Scrub any dirty surfaces with a non-abrasive sponge and cold water and mild, unscented dish soap.After you have cleaned the fabric, disassemble the shelter and set any pole supports, stakes, and accessories aside.Allow your tent to dry completely before storing it.Thank you for reading this article! (See number one on this list.)

3. Warm Wash to Get Rid of Mold

Don’t get discouraged if your tent has mold. To clean your moldy tent, follow the steps outlined below. To clean up the stench, fill a bathtub or kiddie pool with warm water and unscented soap — I like the latter because it keeps the smell outside my house. Disassemble the tent and soak it in the pool for 10 minutes. Unzip all of the tent’s entrances, pockets, and so on. After that, drain the contaminated water. To rinse, fill the tub with clean water and empty it once again, repeating the process.

Allow your tent to dry completely before storing it!

4. Use Mirazyme Tent Cleaner

Although soap – or your homemade vinegar combination – may be effective in killing mold and mildew spores that have taken up residence in your tent, it is not always effective. In addition to handwashing, you may purchase an enzyme cleanser that is designed specifically for this purpose. The Gear Aid product has worked well for me in the past, and while I was a little concerned about the chemicals eating through my tent’s canvas, they worked perfectly. Aside from that, it’s biodegradable and beneficial to the environment.

When diluted, use half an ounce of the enzyme cleanser for every 20 gallons of water.

Post-Clean Treatments

Once you’ve done cleaning the nasty tent musk from your clothes, you’ll most likely put them in a closet until the next time you go camping. Instead of calling it quits, think about including a few extra procedures into your post-cleaning routine to extend the life of your shelter and improve its overall quality.

Seam Sealing

In order to learn more about tent seam sealing, please refer to our dedicated article on the subject, which can be found at this link. The basic procedure is to apply sealant to every sewing stitch in the tent using a spray can or a brush, depending on the type of sealant you are using.

Waterproof/UV Protection

Along with waterproofing the seams, you may wish to waterproof the entire tent as well as the rainfly. Nikwax Tent and Gear Solar Proof is the product I choose to use because it is affordable and simple to obtain. Not only will it coat the tent in a water-resistant coating, but it will also protect the fabric from being damaged by ultraviolet rays.

Rare Bug Treatment: Permethrin

This chemical, when applied to any type of tent fabric or clothes (although it is not suggested for underwear or socks), will repel any and all bug pests.

Although the application is only valid for six weeks, it might be quite useful if you are planning another vacation in the near future. If you decide to bug bomb your bunker, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and always wear protective clothing.

What’s Causing the Stink?

Now that we’ve learned how to properly clean a tent, let’s have a look at what may be creating the problem in the first place.

Dirt and Grime

The majority of the time, filth and grime may be seen. Despite the fact that these impurities are not the major source of your tent’s odor, it is necessary to remove them in order to prevent the material from wearing out.

Mold and Mildew

If these two fungi are not addressed with in a fair amount of time, they can become a significant problem. Tents with these pollutants have a musty and stale scent about them by default.

WrappingCleaning It Up…

Maintaining the cleanliness of your smelly tent might be time-consuming, but it is necessary if you want to extend the life of your shelter. Should this procedure fail, try the hand wash method and possibly a good soak in an enzyme bath to see if it helps. Make use of the chance to seam seal, waterproof, and bug bomb your tent after it’s all finished drying. As opposed to raising hell, simply remove the object! Andrew’s fascination with the outdoors began at a young age while growing up on a farm in the Midwest and going on family holidays to the West.

He hasn’t come across a phony summit that he doesn’t enjoy yet!

How To Clean a Tent That Smells

You were under the impression that yourtent had been properly stashed away. If you take it out for the first time for a long camping trip, it stinks to high heaven! Do not be discouraged; you will be astonished at how quickly and simply the problem may be resolved, even if there is obvious mold or mildew. First and foremost, here are the supplies you’ll require:

  • A gallon of white wine vinegar
  • Dish soap or detergent that is mild and fragrance-free
  • Bottle with spray
  • A 5-gallon bucket or big plastic tub large enough to bathe your tent in
  • Sodium bicarbonate or borax
  • A soft brush or sponge is recommended.

The cleaning procedure

The procedure is basic, and it will not take a significant amount of time. It is all dependent on how horrible the tent smells at the time. For this reason, the simple and the difficult routes will be demonstrated to you.

For tents that are not that dirty

Now that you have gathered all of the necessary supplies, follow these procedures to thoroughly clean a stinky tent:

  1. Here are the procedures to follow if you have a stinky tent now that you have all of the necessary items:

Cleaning badly smelling tents

If the tent is really filthy, I recommend carrying out this task on a concrete surface such as a patio or driveway. Approximately half a cup of mild detergent and half a gallon of vinegar should be added to your bucket or tub after filling it approximately a third of the way with water. You may use one cup of detergent and the remaining vinegar to clean a big tent. After you’ve stirred everything together, pack your tent into the container. You may stir the cloth with your hands or feet, but be careful with your movements.

  • This stage should not be completed with a washboard; although the tent material appears to be strong, the waterproofing is not.
  • Allow for at least an hour of soak time in the tent.
  • It is also the longest.
  • If you have a large tent, recruit some people to assist you.
  • Then, laying the tent out on the pavement, wash out all of the soapy water that has accumulated.
  • Remove the rinse water by wringing it out.
  • One further method of wringing out the water is to lay down the tent and use an empty 5 gallon bucket or circular garbage can as a rolling pin to roll the water out.
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Avoid folding, squeezing, ringing, twisting, or smashing the tent excessively.

Using a clothesline, patio furniture, metal fence, or even the bed of a truck, dry the tent once it has been thoroughly soaked.

In order to complete the drying process, take the somewhat moist tent and set it up.

It also gives you the opportunity to check for any stains that may require extra treatment with vinegar and soap.

After all, the tent appears to be in excellent condition, so you could assume you’ve solved the problem.

Nothing degrades a tent’s waterproofing more quickly than running it through the washing machine.

The washing machine will weaken the tent, and the expense of a laundry mat and waterproofing is far greater than the cost of a few drops of vinegar, some soap, and some elbow effort.

If you care for your tent properly, you may prevent this major cleaning task in the future. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Immediately after returning home from a camping trip, shake out the tent and spray it down with Lysol. Before storing it, allow it to air out and ensure that it is totally dry. Check to see that there is no dampness remaining within. Make a loose fold and put it in a suitcase, laundry bag, or other container with enough of airflow to prevent mildew. It is not suggested to use plastic tubs with sealed lids. To keep your tent dry and deodorized, place an open box of baking soda or borax inside it. It is also possible to use a de-humidifyingsilica gel product in the container or storage location if your environment has seasons of wetness or if your storage space has a tendency to become moist over time. Typically, you can get them in the laundry aisle of your neighborhood bargain shop.

A clean, fresh tent that is simple to maintain and operate is vital for your vacation camping adventure in the great outdoors. Make sure to bring your spray disinfectant with you as a precaution so that you may appreciate nature without the musty odor. Making a small investment of time to clean and air out your tent will not be in vain. While daydreaming about your upcoming weekend getaway, have fun with it.

How To Clean A Tent That Smells (Proven Methods)

Is the stink emanating from your tent becoming unbearable? Take back control with these tried-and-true ways for cleaning a stinky tent! In addition, you’ll learn how to determine what’s producing the foul odor and how to avoid it from happening again. Let’s get this party started!

Why Does My Tent Smell?

The most effective method of keeping your tent smelling fresh is to identify the cause of the aromas in the first place. You will be able to completely avoid the unpleasant odors in this manner. The following are examples of common causes:


Most of the time, dirt and filth are not the actual cause of a stinky tent. Filth created by spilt food, on the other hand, might result in mold and mildew, which can cause a tent to smell! Furthermore, excessive grime and filth is just unpleasant and gives the impression that your tent is neglected. If you enter your tent with your shoes on or if you bring snacks and food into the tent, you will most likely bring dirt and other filth with you.


In the event that you roll up and pack away your tent while it is still wet, or if you keep your tent in a damp and moist environment, you will almost certainly be met by mold and mildew the following time you go camping. Mold and mildew give your tent a stale and musty smell, which makes it uncomfortable to sleep in during the daytime. In addition, mold and mildew can create a variety of health concerns if left unattended.

Polyurethane Break Down

The majority of tents are polymer-coated to ensure that they are waterproof. It’s possible that UV rays from the sun will degrade polyurethane, leaving your tent with an unpleasant odor similar to that of pee.

Preventing Tent Odors From Building Up

The first step to having an odor-free tent is to prevent it from happening! Having determined the source of the scents in your tent, let us work to prevent them from occurring in the first place. What if I told you. It is moisture that is the primary source of tent scents. Moisture, whether it comes from rain, humidity, or storage in a wet environment such as a basement, encourages the formation of mold and mildew, which results in a musty odor in your tent. Storage in a clean, dry environment will help to keep your tent clean and fresh-smelling.

  • It’s important to clean off your tent if it rains while you’re camping and allow it to completely dry before packing it up.
  • What about dining inside your tent?
  • Aside from that, mold and mildew — not to mention pests – might find their way inside your tent through the opening.
  • This will assist in removing any little food crumbs from your tent, which can serve as a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

The bottom line is that keeping your tent dry and clean considerably decreases the likelihood of it becoming stinky. As an extra advantage, it minimizes the amount of time it takes to prepare for your next camping excursion!

How To Clean A Smelly Tent

There are a few various approaches that may be used to properly eliminate unpleasant odors from your tent. Depending on what’s causing your odor problem, you’ll need to pick a method (or many ways). Let’s figure out what the most effective odor-fighting strategy is for your situation.

Air Drying

Straightforward and effective, When air-drying your tent, all you have to do is set it up outdoors on a clothesline or other suitable structure, and let the breeze and sun take care of the smell. First and foremost, you’ll want to sweep away any dirt. In two to three days, your tent will have a pleasant scent about it. Good for: Tent smells that have developed as a result of being stored in a musty basement or having filthy garments left in them, as well as stale meals. If you observe any signs of mold or mildew, this remedy will not be effective.

Wash Your Tent

Has dirt or other filth accumulated on the outside of your tent, which might be adding to the awful smell? It may be removed in a short period of time by cleaning it away with clean water and soap. The most efficient way to wash your tent is either to do it while the tent is still pitched or to soak it in water and scrub it with your hands afterwards (do NOT attempt towash your tent in a washing machine). Regardless of the method you pick, the procedure is the same:

  1. To begin, spot clean any sections of the tent that are particularly discolored or difficult, using a soft-bristle toothbrush or other mild cleaning equipment
  2. Then proceed to the next step. Cleaning the tent: Wring out the tent well with a soft sponge and dish soap, paying particular attention to the seams and zippers, where dirt and mold may easily accumulate. Finally, you’ll want to carefully rinse away any soap residue from the tent and allow it to dry before continuing. You may either hang it to dry or leave it in a pitch to dry. Just make sure that your tent is out of the sun throughout the drying process and that you do not place your tent in the dryer to try to speed up the drying process

How to Clean a Tent (with Pictures) || REI Check out our full tutorial on how to clean a tent the proper way for a step-by-step procedure. Notably, if you intend to waterproof your tent, you should do so before allowing your tent to dry out completely. Suitable for: a wide range of odors. Cleaning is an important first step, whether your tent has a musty odor due to mold or mildew, requires a fresh layer of waterproofing, or is just dirty and in need of repair or replacement.

DIY Mold Removers

In the event that your tent has mold on it, warm water and soap may be sufficient to remove it. However, you may use certain common home products to destroy the mold, which will help to reduce the likelihood of it resurfacing.

Lemon JuiceSalt Method

  1. In certain cases, warm water and soap can be sufficient to remove mold from your tent. However, you can destroy mold using several common home objects, which will help to reduce the likelihood of it returning.

Vinegar Method

  1. 1 cup white vinegar to 1 gallon of water is a good starting point. Fill a spray bottle with the mixture and use it to spray the moldy portions of your tent
  2. Remove mold by scrubbing it with a sponge or, if you’re using a canvas tent, a bristle brush. Please do not rinse the tent so that the vinegar may do its magic on the inside of it. Allow the tent to dry completely outside in direct sunshine.

For more thorough information on eliminating mold and mildew from a tent, please see our tutorial on how to clean a tent with mold. This product is recommended for: Tents with mild to severe mold and mildew problems.

Enzyme Cleaners

Please refer to our tutorial on how to clean a tent that has mold for more thorough information on removing mold and mildew from a tent. When it comes to mold and mildew, this product is excellent.

  1. Fill a big tub halfway with water (about 20 gallons)
  2. Combine with 1/2 ounce of Revivex to get a diluted solution. Open any tent flaps and unzip any zippers that may be present
  3. For a maximum of 5 minutes, soak the tent in the tub. Make certain that the tent is totally submerged and soaked. After the tent has been completely submerged, remove it and allow it to dry naturally. It is not necessary to rinse. Eventually, the stink will dissipate as the tent dries.

This product is recommended for: Tents with mild to severe mold and mildew problems. This is especially true if the musty stench persists after the clothes have been washed.


Another factor that contributes to a stinky tent is the breakdown of the polyurethane waterproofing, as previously noted. If your tent is exposed to sunlight on a regular basis, it will eventually succumb to the effects of ultraviolet radiation.

We recommendNikwax TentGear Solarproof as the best tent waterproofing spray because it not only waterproofs your tent, but it also provides UV protection to keep you safe from the elements. To apply Nikwax TentGear Solarproof, follow these steps:

  1. After carefully cleaning your tent, set it up (if it hasn’t previously been set up) and drape the rain fly over the top of it. Nikwax should be applied evenly to the exterior of the tent and rain fly. Once the cream has been applied for several minutes, wipe away any excess with a wet towel. Allow for full drying of the tent and rain fly before storing them

After properly cleaning your tent, set it up (if it hasn’t previously been done so) and drape the rain fly over the top of it. Nikwax should be applied evenly to the tent’s exterior and rain flap. After a few minutes, use a moist towel to wipe away any remaining product; and Prior to putting away, let the tent and rain fly to dry fully.

How to Clean a Tent That Smells

Only a stinky tent can completely spoil a camping trip, and this is one of those things. Many campers (particularly newbies) have experienced this problem, which is regrettably not uncommon. Your tent may emit a variety of nasty scents, ranging from dirty gym socks to something you can’t even recognize. These odors can linger and persist even after your trip has over. There is a possibility that you will have mold and mildew developing in your tent, which can be harmful to your health. Because of this, we’ll cover how to clean a stinky tent, as well as how to avoid a stench from growing in the first place, in the next article.

Exploring How to Clean a Tent That Smells

Who wants to spend time cleaning the tent every time they are preparing to head out on a camping trip? Check out these simple measures that will assist you in getting rid of the precise reason why your tent may be smelling, and be prepared to have your life changed! Make sure the tent is totally dry before storing it, and store it in a location where moisture will not be able to get inside. Even if you are fortunate and your camping vacation is not disrupted by rain, this does not imply that there is no humidity or that your tent did not become moist due to the dew in the morning.

Mold, for example, and the noxious odor that makes this cleaning work so unpleasant are just a few examples.

Here’s how you can prevent odors in your tent:

  1. In order to extend the life of your tent and keep it dry, consider investing in a footprint.
  1. Whether it’s raining or not, don’t forget about the dew and humidity in the morning. Prepare the tent by drying out any moisture and avoiding packing it up wet
  1. There are no shoes and no food permitted! It should be treated as a rule, and your tent should be kept free of any crumbs or dirt. Remember that it is far easier to adhere to this policy than it is to deal with mold caused by the food or moisture as a result of the policy.
  1. It is critical to thoroughly clean your tent before putting it away for the season. If you don’t clean up after yourself after a long vacation, what appears to be a 5-minute effort might develop into a time-consuming duty later on. Clean your tent on a regular basis during the camping season
  2. Remove any dirt or moisture from your tent as soon as possible to avoid the tiniest danger of mold or odor spoiling your vacation. The most important thing is to allow it to dry fully.
See also:  How To Lock Roof Top Tent

Try Not to Wash Your Tent in a Washing Machine

I used to believe that cleaning a tent might be as simple as tossing it in the washing machine and forgetting about it; I believed it would even be a life hack at the time. Spoiler alert: it was not the case. I’m relieved that the tent I used for my experiment was neither brand new nor pricey. It demonstrated the point that tents and washing machines were just not made to be together. Washing machines have the potential to harm your tent, and they are generally not suggested for large-scale goods made of delicate fabrics and fabrics.

Choosing Soap or Natural Cleaning Solutions

One method of cleaning a tent is to use a light detergent, such as dish soap, which is quite effective. There is no need to spend a lot of money on expensive brand soap; any generic brand will suffice! It is preferable to use soap that has a light to no fragrance, since any floral or pleasant scent will only attract bugs and bees, which is the last thing you want when on vacation. There is a simple DIY cure that I discovered and tested several times: simply combine vinegar, lemon juice, and water!

Washing Your Tent by Hand

To thoroughly clean your tent, start with a soft sponge and work your way through the sections that require additional attention. Using a spray bottle allows you to cover more ground! Never scrub or use abrasive sponges on the tent coating since this can damage it. It is advised that you clean the tent with care, as it is possible to harm the waterproof surface of the tent if you brush too vigorously.

If you have heavy duty stains, you can use a specific cleaning solution, but if you are rushed for time or don’t have one on hand, soap diluted with water or lemon juice mixed with vinegar is the way to go!

Removing Mildew or Mold From Your Tent

Not to worry if your tent has mildew or mold on it; there is a cure for this problem as well! All you need is vinegar and a small bit of lemon juice mixed together, and then spray the moldy spots with the mixture using a spray bottle. Natural disinfectants such as lemon juice and vinegar will be created by the acid in these ingredients. If you want the best results, let the tent sit for about 60 minutes before cleaning it thoroughly with a clean, non-abrasive sponge. Once again, your tent is in like-new condition and ready for your next camping vacation!

These are available for purchase on the internet.

Storing Your Tent The Right Way

Not to worry if your tent has mildew or mold on it; there is a cure for this problem. Use a spray bottle to spray the moldy spots. All you need is vinegar and a small bit of lemon juice, mixed together. As a natural disinfectant, the acids in lemon and vinegar will work together. Wait 60 minutes for optimal effects and then carefully clean with a clean, non-abrasive sponge after it has been sitting for 60 minutes. Once again, your tent is in excellent condition and ready for your next camping trip!

It is possible to order these items on the internet.

Never Deal With a Smelly Tent Again!

Not to worry if your tent has mildew or mold on it; there is a remedy for you! All you need is a mixture of vinegar and a small bit of lemon juice; spray the moldy spots with the solution using a spray bottle. Natural disinfectants such as lemon juice and vinegar will be created by the acidity of the ingredients. If you want the best results, let the tent rest for around 60 minutes before cleaning it gently with a clean, non-abrasive sponge. Once again, your tent is in like-new condition and ready for your next camping trip!

These may be obtained over the internet.

How to Clean a Tent That Smells?

When you think about going on a trip to the great outdoors, the only thing that comes to mind is having the most wonderful adventure of your life. Having the perfect trek, choosing the nicest camping place you can find, having wonderful weather during your vacation, creating memories that you will be delighted to look back on, and so forth are examples of what we mean. It is possible that I could add a few more items to this list, but one item that no one would ever consider include is having to cope with a stinking tent.

  1. Unfortunately, this does happen occasionally.
  2. You may do your best to air out the tent while on your trip, and then thoroughly clean it when you get back home.
  3. A variety of factors might contribute to bad odors in a tent.
  4. Other causes include dirt and grime, perspiration, germs, and other organic matter.

If, by chance, you find yourself with a stinky tent on your hands and are wondering how to get rid of the smell, I am here to inform you about all of the many methods you may use to do so. To learn how to clean a tent that is smelling foul, continue reading.

How to Clean a Tent That Smells?

As I discussed briefly before, there are a variety of factors that might contribute to a foul tent odor. Simply leaving food in the tent or leaving sweaty clothing in it for a lengthy amount of time will result in you having a nasty tent on your hands, which you will have to clean before you can use it again. As someone who enjoys camping on a regular basis, I’ve had to deal with my fair share of stinky tents over the years. However, despite the fact that the experience was never pleasant, it provided me with enough expertise on the subject that I am now able to easily and successfully eliminate smells from a tent.

Prevent your tent from adopting a faulty smell

The first thing I’d like to bring out is that keeping the tent from becoming stale should always be your top concern when camping. As a result, you will spare yourself the hassle of having to clean the tent afterward. Here are some suggestions to keep your tent from smelling bad in case you’re wondering how to avoid it from happening.

  • One of the first things I’d like to bring out is that keeping the tent from becoming stinky should always be your first concern. You’ll spare yourself the hassle of having to clean the tent this way, as well. If you’re wondering how to keep your tent from smelling bad, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

Cleaning a smelly tent

Finally, I’d want to go into further detail on the last point I made, which was the bit about how to clean a tent. Cleaning a tent is far more difficult than just tossing it in the washing machine. A true camping expert will always advise you that you should never wash your tent in the washing machine, but should instead hand wash it! Some of you may not be up to the work, but believe me when I say that giving your tent a good scrub after each trip and allowing it to air dry for as long as necessary is essential to maintaining it in the best possible condition.

1) Set your tent again

You must be completely exhausted when you return home; cleaning is the last thing on your mind at that point. Nonetheless, I advise you to get the confidence to put up your tent once more and thoroughly clean it before it begins to smell. You may put the tent in your yard, on a balcony, in a garage, or any other location around the house where there is enough room for it to be comfortable. Once you’ve set up the tent, go through it to see if you’ve forgotten anything. Any debris that is still present in the tent might contribute to the tent’s unpleasant odor.

2) Remove dirt and grime

Dirt and filth do not normally produce scents, but you will need to remove them from the tent if they are there. As a result, before you begin scrubbing, be sure that all of the dirt has been removed from the tent. Then you’ll be able to go on.

3) Prevent the growth of mold or mildew

Leaving your tent damp might result in the growth of mildew or mold on the surface of the fabric. As a result, your tent will begin to smell foul, and you will need to clean and disinfect the fabric before proceeding with the rest of the process.

It is recommended that you use a combination of water and vinegar for this purpose. You should combine equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle for best results. Then spray the entire tent with the solution, which will destroy any germs or fungus that could be lurking about.

4) Check for remaining stains

What happens if you tread in animal feces and carry some into the tent with you? Isn’t it true that this will result in a foul odor and maybe discolor the fabric? In the event that you discover any difficult stains, no matter what caused them, you must clear them immediately. Cleaning stains using a soft sponge that has been dipped in water and detergent is what I propose. Take care to ensure that the laundry detergent you use does not include any chlorine or perfume. The bleach will harm the fabric, and the smell will attract bugs and other animals to the tent, making it uninviting.

It is also possible to soak the entire tent in a tub filled with warm water and detergent if the tent is too unclean.

5) Let the tent dry out

Once you have cleaned the entire tent, all that is left to do is hang it or leave it in its current condition to allow it to dry. If you want your tent to dry as quickly as possible, you’ll need to choose a location with plenty of sunlight and consistent ventilation. If you have the ideal circumstances, the drying process will take around one hour to finish. In other circumstances, it might take two to three hours, or even longer, to complete. Another thing you should be aware of is that you should never place the tent in a drying machine and that you should never blow dry it under any circumstances.

Anything else might end up causing damage to the material.

6) Store your tent the right way

Please make sure that your tent is totally clean and dry before storing it away. Inspect it once more, and only after you are confident that it is in pristine shape should you keep it somewhere dry and out of the sun.

How to Get the Musty Smell Out Of a Tent?

If you have a tent that has a musty stench, it’s likely that the musty odor is the consequence of mold and mildew developing on the tent’s fabric and walls. The fact that both of these fungi are detrimental to people’s health means that you must get the tent cleaned as soon as possible after discovering them. It is recommended that you use a mixture of white vinegar and warm water to eliminate the musty smell from the tent’s fabric. It is also possible to substitute a fragrance-free mild detergent soap or even some lemon juice if you do not have vinegar on hand.

When cleaning the tent, go over the processes that I stated above to ensure that everything is in working order.

Also, make sure to allow the tent to dry completely before packing it up, otherwise those fungus will return in a heartbeat!

How to Clean a Tent That Smells Like Vomit?

Having your tent begin to smell like vomit or pee might be one of the most unpleasant things that can happen to it at any time. Nonetheless, some people are forced to cope with the foul odors that might arise as a consequence of an unlucky accident or a breakdown of polyethylene. For the most part, this is caused by high temperatures, exposure to ultraviolet rays, or an accumulation of microorganisms on or within the tent walls. When all of these factors come together, your tent may begin to smell like vomit.

There is something called Odor Eliminator – it works in the same way as air fresheners do, but it is specifically designed for tents!

Some cleaning solutions may be a little more expensive, but you can always choose for the less expensive options and utilize them for other purposes in addition to cleaning the tent.

I recommend that you use it only after you have cleaned the tent according to the instructions I provided above. If you do so, you will be removing the scents and disinfecting the tent, rather than simply masking the odors and having to deal with them afterwards.


Tents that smell bad are never a good thing. It would be beneficial if you did not stay away from your tent because of the nasty scents. Try whatever you can to get rid of them and ready your tent for the next exciting expedition! You should have no trouble keeping your tent clean and odor-free if you follow the instructions I provided. Please let me know if you attempted the method and whether it was successful in removing the scents; I am looking forward to hearing more about it! Hello, my name is Andrew Mullen, and my fascination with the great outdoors began when my grandfather and father used to take me along with them on camping vacations when I was a child.

This blog is intended to be inspirational and I hope you enjoy it.

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