4 Effective Ways to Air Out a Tent
It is possible that this content contains affiliate links. It is possible that I will receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link. In addition, as an Amazon Associate, I receive a commission from qualifying purchases.- There are a plethora of reasons to enjoy camping in the great outdoors with a decent, old-fashioned tent. There are a plethora of reasons why individuals choose to go camping, ranging from the opportunity to bond with friends and family that accompany them to the opportunity to become one with nature.
According to some people, this signifies that they will inevitably be bitten by bugs at any time of year.
You have a few options if your tent isn’t smelling quite right and you want to attempt to air it out.
For example, some of these methods may not be appropriate for particular tents.
These should serve as your starting point for determining how to deal with any tent odors.
The same type of scrubber that you would use for a car may typically be used for a motorcycle, unless specifically specified by the manufacturer’s recommendations.
1 – Using a Fabric Deodorizer
While the effectiveness of this approach is dependent on how strong the stink is, it is frequently a fairly safe means of attempting to air out your tent when it is necessary. Using baking soda and water should be the first step in dealing with any minor odors, since a weird scent can occasionally be generated by nature itself. This is also one of the quickest and most straightforward techniques of cleaning out a tent that you can use. First and foremost, you’ll want to open the tent from the inside out and hang it on a tent pole.
If you don’t have access to a pole, you may put it up on some tall chairs until you can find one.
After you have completed this step, you can spray the tent with a fabric deodorizer of your preference.
If you’re going to leave the tent outside, make sure it’s properly secured so nothing happens to it.
Just keep in mind that ventilation is essential, so you don’t want it to be entirely in contact with the ground. Towards the end of the day, your tent should have a pleasant scent that matches the deodorizer you employed, and it should be devoid of any unpleasant odors.
2 – Using Soap and Water
For this procedure, you will need a scrub brush similar to the one you would use on a car to get the job done. It should have a long handle and a short bristle, if at all possible. Also, you’ll want to make sure you have some non-scented soap on hand. When it is OK to use fragrant soap, bear in mind that it may and will attract bugs to your tent, which is something that no camper wants to encounter while camping. Following the preparation of your tent, you may use your soapy water and scrubber to gently but thoroughly clean the whole interior and outside of your tent.
Aside from that, this procedure is nearly as straightforward as it appears.
3 – Using the Washing Machine
Regarding this procedure, there are two points that should be mentioned. For starters, it should only be used in extremely limited quantities. Depending on how the tent was constructed, even the gentlest cycle might cause the seams to break. Second, you’ll want to double-check the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that you’ll be able to wash the tent in the washing machine in the first place. If you are unable to do so, you should refrain from doing so altogether. If your tent is already old and the wear and tear of time is visible in its seams, you should avoid using this procedure, even if the manufacturer specifies that it may be washed.
It’s also a good idea to double-check that all of the zippers are completely closed to avoid anything becoming snagged, damaged, or knotted.
If at all possible, you should use a synthetic fabric cleaner instead of soap to clean your clothes.
Once the tent has been removed from the washing machine, it should be sprayed with a waterproofer to provide maximum protection.
4 – Using Mold or Mildew Remover
If you know that the mold or mildew that is causing the stink in your tent is the source of the problem, you are in luck since it is rather simple to remove. You will want to ensure that you do not damage the waterproof covering of the tent first, before proceeding with any further steps. You should thus opt for a cleaning that has been proven to be compatible with the coating of a camping tent. Generally speaking, enzyme-based odor eliminators are the most effective for this purpose, and there are various options available to select from.
You should use as much odor eliminator as is advised to get rid of the scent, with the amount you use varying depending on how stinky the tent is.
When it comes to your tent, you should unzip all of the zippers and open all of the flaps before soaking it completely in the solution.
It’s important to remember that once you’ve taken down the tent, you shouldn’t rinse it off. Instead, you should hang the tent up to allow it to dry naturally. – Before you know it, you’ll have a tent with a pleasant scent that’s ready for your next camping excursion.
Tent Care Basics
There have been 351 reviews, with an average rating of 4.6 stars. In contrast to an urban abode, your home in the great outdoors requires only a minimal amount of love and attention on a regular basis. When properly cared for, a high-quality tent will give years of dependable service in the outdoors. This page provides a plethora of suggestions about how to properly care for your tent. Even if you don’t do anything else, make sure you follow these four crucial guidelines:
- Always read the instructions before doing anything. Use caution when working with zippers and poles. Maintain the cleanliness of your tent and fly on a regular basis. Never store a tent that has been damp
Perform a practice pitch before venturing out into the wild. You’ll learn how to put up your tent in a no-pressure environment. Check to see that you have all of the stakes, guylines, and other accessories that you will need. When you’re out in the field, follow these rules to ensure that your tent lasts as long as possible: Look for a well-established camping spot. You should choose setup locations that are smooth, flat, and largely devoid of foliage in accordance with the keyLeave No Trace concept.
- Keep from disrupting your tent site any more than is absolutely necessary.
- This ground fabric has been custom-cut to fit the floor plan of your tent and is made of high-quality materials.
- Additionally, because a footprint does not extend beyond the edge of your tent floor, it will not gather precipitation in the same way that a conventional ground cloth or tarp will.
- It is best not to leave your tent set up in direct sunlight for long periods of time.
- The textiles in the canopy and rainfly fade as a result of exposure to ultraviolet light.
- Polyester rainflys, which are common in tents, are more UV resistant than nylon rainflys, which are less common.
- Take it easy with the poles.
You may chip a portion of the pole and make it weaker—or you can beat your trekking companion in the head with it.
Take care not to damage your zippers.
Holding the zipper track with one hand, slowly back the slider up, wriggling it from side to side, until the trapped fabric is released is a better alternative.
It may be necessary to use a pair of pliers to gently squeeze the zipper slider in order to give it a little stronger grasp on the zipper track if it continues to split.
Boots should be left outside or in the vestibule.
Keep food and scented personal goods in a safe container outside of the tent to avoid attracting attention.
Your tent is not a dog kennel, and you should never leave a dog unattended inside of it. When your trusty pet decides it’s time to join you outside, his or her teeth and claws can cause considerable damage to your tent materials.
Tent Care During Break Down
Make a ruckus in your tent. Before you pack up, make sure you clean up any dirt and debris and eliminate any rubbish. If your tent is freestanding, this will be less difficult since the poles will assist in keeping the tent open as you dump out the mud and debris. It is preferable to push rather than pull a shockcorded pole from your tent when removing it. Putting unnecessary strain on the elastic cable can occur if you tug on one pole end and the other pole end or a pole segment becomes tangled.
- The strain is distributed evenly down the cable as a result of this.
- Before stuffing the sacks, make sure they are completely dry.
- Water left on a tent can cause damage (see below), so make sure to dry your tent well before packing up and leaving the trail each day.
- If you have to pack up your tent in damp weather, make sure to dry it as soon as you get back to your car.
- Rather of packing your tent like a sleeping bag, roll it up and store it.
- After travels and cleanings, allow your tent to air dry completely.
- Set it up either indoors or in a shady outdoor location to enjoy.
Before storing your tent, be certain that it is completely dry from the inside out.
Mildew grows on damp textiles, giving tents an unpleasant odor and causing polyurethane waterproof coatings to fail.
Neglected tents that become flaky, sticky, or odoriferous are a prime candidate for severe intervention or removal and replacement.
Although it is a good choice for hiking, the stuff bag is not a good choice for storing items for an extended period of time.
An old pillowcase or a mesh bag of equal size would do just fine.
If you have no other choice than to store your dry tent in a moist location, keep it inside a tightly sealed plastic bin or other container.
For those who take many short journeys, a light cleaning once each season will suffice to keep your tent in good condition.
A washing machine, particularly a top-loader with an agitator, has the potential to stretch or rip fabric, mesh, or seams.
Make a minimal cleaning effort.
Gently clean filthy areas with a soft brush, paying particular attention to covered sections of the floor and flies.
The majority of home soaps are fragrant, which will eventually attract insects, rats, and larger species.
The majority of these soaps also have a negative impact on the tent’s durable water resistant (DWR) covering. See our article, How to Clean a Tent, for step-by-step instructions on how to properly clean your tent.
Waterproofing Tent Seams and Coatings
In order to extend the life of your tent or rainfly, re-waterproofing it is a simple procedure. As a rule, most tent sealing treatments require 24 hours to dry completely, so make sure you have a designated location free of clutter where you can stretch the tent out for a day to dry. Reseal any seams that are leaking. The majority of tents are marketed with the seams already sealed, generally using seam tape or a similar product. Seams are particularly susceptible, so check them for damage on a regular basis.
- Due to the residue left on the inside of the seam, it is necessary to reapply fresh seam sealer to the exterior of the cloth.
- If the waterproof coating on the fabric of the tent is deteriorating, you must determine whether to renew the coating or to replace the tent entirely.
- Begin by carefully wiping away any flakes, and then apply a thin coat of paint-on polyurethanesealant to seal the surface.
- If your tent’s floor is starting to break, it’s time to replace it.
- The majority of rainflies are made of polyester or nylon with a polyurethane covering.
- Each type of fabric necessitates the use of a coating and seam sealer that has been specially designed for that fabric.
- Fabric and Gear Care Products are available for purchase.
Jon Almquist works as a product manager for tents at the REI Co-op headquarters in Kent, Washington.
Chris Pottinger works at REI Co-op in Kent, Washington, as a senior tent designer.
Scott F. Smith
Scott F. Smith is the Test Engineering Manager for the Product Research, Testing, and Quality team at REI Co-op. He has been with the company for over a decade. When he’s not in the lab, he likes outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, climbing, and mountain biking, as well as his newfound enthusiasm for surfing and ocean conservation.
Currently based in Seattle, Lindsey Stone works as the operations director for Rainy Pass Repair Inc. Prior to that, she worked as a professional sewing technician for a total of 12 years. Her family, which includes her husband, kid, and dog, likes hiking, camping, and canoeing together.
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!
However, despite the fact that your tent seems to be clean, certain disagreeable scents have found a home among the fabric’s threads. Don’t make a big deal about it, though. I’ll show you how to clean a tent that has a foul odor.
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.
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
Pitch the tent – believe me when I say that it is much easier to clean this way. Scrub any filthy surfaces with a non-abrasive sponge while using cold water and a mild, unscented dish soap to remove any stains. After you have cleaned the fabric, disassemble the shelter and put any pole supports, stakes, and other accessories to the side for later use or disposal. Allow your tent to dry completely before storing it! (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. Although it is recommended that you use protective gloves when handling. When diluted, use half an ounce of the enzyme cleanser for every 20 gallons of water.
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.
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.
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
A large amount of filth and grime may be seen most of the time. 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 down.
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!
4 Ways to Deodorize a Funky Tent
Despite the fact that your tent has been lying in storage for the whole winter, you’re finally ready to break up the flaps and head out into the backcountry. However, it’s possible that it’s an old tent that wasn’t thoroughly cleaned before being kept, and that’s why it has a foul scent. Here are a few quick and practical suggestions for getting rid of that stink.
*First and foremost, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for proper care. Look for the tag that has been applied to the goods, which is normally located along an inside seam. If our recommendations conflict with those of the manufacturer, you should disregard our recommendations.
- If your tent has a minor weird stench, try airing it out and spraying it with a basic fabric deodorizer first before attempting to clean it. Open the tent from the inside out and hang it from a pole or a low tree limb. Alternatively, set up a few tall chairs on which you can drape the tent over the top of them. If at all possible, use a moist towel to wipe down the whole floor. Allow it to dry completely before spraying it with Febreeze (or something similar) and allowing it to air out from morning to evening. It is possible that you may need to secure it so that it does not fly away. Keep it off the ground because you want to allow for plenty of air circulation
- Hand wash and clean your tent while it’s completely set in the backyard. Apply soft, non-perfumed soapy water to the area and scrub with a scrubber. Bugs are attracted to the scent of perfumed soap. My favorite scrubber is one with a long handle and soft bristles, similar to the sort you would use to wash a car with, in my opinion. For best results, use Nikwax Tech Wash, otherwise any mild, non-perfumed soap or gentle dish cleaner will suffice
- If permitted by your product manufacturer based on the tag inside the tent, wash your tent on a gentle cycle in a washing machine to extend the life of the water resistant coating on your tent. This should only be done once or twice over the lifespan of the tent. Especially if the tent is old and worn out, even a moderate cycle can shred it apart at the seams. In that situation, it is preferable to wash it by hand. If this is the case, flip the tent inside out and zip up all of the zips. To clean it, run it through a moderate cycle in warm-cold water with ReviveX Synthetic Fabric Cleaner. Do not use fabric softener on your clothes! After that, spray it with Grnger’s tent waterproofer to seal it in. Both of these items will keep your tent completely watertight. You may also use this method to wash and spray your rainfly. It is recommended by Big Agnes staff that you use MiraZymeenzyme-based odor eliminator to get rid of foul odors, mold, and mildew from a tent without causing damage to the waterproof covering. Fill a bathtub or large container halfway with cool water, enough to completely submerge your tent. Add 1 to 2 ounces of Mirazyme to the water, depending on the degree of the odor, and swirl well to dissolve the enzyme. Unzip all of the zippers and lift all of the flaps. Put your tent in the water until it’s completely soaked, then let it soak for 10 minutes. Remove the tent from the ground, but do not rinse it. Do not use a machine to dry the tent
- Instead, let it air dry.
How To Take Down & Clean A Tent After Camping In It
First, try drying out the tent and spraying it with a basic fabric deodorizer to get rid of any mildew or strange smells. Set up a couple tall chairs on which you can lay the tent across, or open it up from the interior and hang it from a pole or a low tree limb. When cleaning the floor with a moist cloth, make sure to get all of the corners. Once dry, spritz the tent with Febreeze (or a similar product) and allow it to air out from morning till night. Depending on where it is, it may need to be secured to prevent it from flying away.
Bugs are attracted to perfumed soaps.
For best results, use Nikwax Tech Wash, otherwise any mild, non-perfumed soap or gentle dish cleaner will suffice; If permitted by your product manufacturer based on the tag inside the tent, wash your tent on a gentle cycle in a washing machine to extend the life of the water resistant coating on the tent.
- If your tent is old and worn out, even a moderate cycle can shred it apart at the seams.
- If this is the case, flip the tent inside out and zip up all of the zippers completely.
- Fabric softener must not be used!
- Neither product will cause your tent to become watertight.
- Big Agnes staff suggests usingMiraZymeenzyme-based odor remover to get rid of foul odors, mold, and mildew from a tent without compromising the waterproof covering.
- In a small bowl, combine 1 to 2 ounces Mirazyme (depending on how bad the stench is) and whisk well.
- Bring your tent up to the surface of the water until it is wet, then soak it for 10 minutes.
- Do not use a machine to dry the tent; instead, hang it up to dry naturally.
Taking Your Tent Down After Camping
The method in which you take down and pack away your tent might have a significant impact on the amount of time it takes to clean that tent later on. In order to properly dismantle your tent, it is critical that you follow a few simple guidelines.
- Shake the tent carefully before using it. After removing the tent stakes, you should vigorously shake the tent to remove any remaining dust. Start by clearing away all of the dirt and debris from the tent, as well as any garbage that may have accumulated within or around it. If your tent is self-supporting, this phase should be rather straightforward
- Otherwise, it may be more challenging. Take care not to damage the cloth or put too much pressure on the poles. When removing shock-corded tent poles from your tent, always push the poles rather than pulling them out. When you pull the tent poles, you will almost always discover that they become tangled in the tent fabric, putting undue strain on the cable beneath. Before securing the tent, allow it to air dry. It is critical that you properly dry your tent before packing it away in the right bag. Even a well-ventilated tent can accumulate condensation, which tends to collect under the floor and under the rainfly. Tent moisture can cause mold and mildew growth, so make sure to thoroughly dry your tent before packing it. You should dry your tent as soon as you arrive back home if you are forced to pack up under rainy circumstances. Install your tent in the yard if the weather is bright
- If the weather is rainy, hang your tent to dry in a garage or an uncarpeted room if the weather is drizzly.
Taking Care of Your Tent at Home
Once you get your tent set up at home, there are a few things you can do to prepare it before beginning the spot cleaning and thorough cleaning procedures that we will discuss later. These are some of the items to consider:
- Dry the tent at your own house. Once you have returned home, it is critical that you take the tent from its bag, spread it out, and allow it to air dry completely before using it again. This can be done in an interior room, in the garage, or on a clothesline strung between two trees. If you don’t have enough room to pitch the tent, drape it or hang it until the tent is dry
- If you don’t have enough space to pitch it, drape it or hang it until the tent is dry
- Store the tent in a non-permanent manner. After a camping trip, most people store their tent in a bag until they go on another camping trip. This is not something that should be done. Instead, you should keep the tent in a relaxed manner, outside of the bag, in a cold, dry environment. Despite the fact that the stuff sack is extremely small for camping and trekking, it is a terrible choice for long-term storage. If you want the textiles of the tent to relax and breathe, that’s what you should aim for. The tent will not be able to accumulate any moisture, which would be detrimental to its performance.
Storage in a warm place, such as the attic, cellar, or trunk of your car, is not recommended since the tent’s fabric might be harmed by the heat. If a wet storage location is your only choice, you should store your dry tent inside a tightly sealed plastic bin or other container that will keep the moisture out of the tent during storage.
Cleaning The Tent After Your Camping Trip
Going home after a wonderful and peaceful camping vacation may be a big disappointment, but if you want to make sure that your NEXT camping trip is every bit as pleasurable, it is critical that you clean your tent after each trip. You should clean your tent whenever you notice stains accumulating on it, or when you notice an unpleasant stench emanating from the tent. Cleaning a tent is a three-step process that involves the following steps:
- Getting all of the materials you’ll need. You will want specific items in order to thoroughly clean your tent
- These are listed below. Clean the area with a damp cloth and submerge. Spot cleaning specific sections of your tent, particularly those in which you notice stains, is essential. Additionally, you will need to submerge the tent in sudsy water after completing this step. If your tent is really unclean, you will need to move on to the thorough cleaning method that we will explain in detail later
- Rinsing and Drying will be required. After the tent has been fully cleaned, it must be thoroughly rinsed and dried throughout before it can even be considered for storage.
Gathering Your Supplies
There are a few simple yet essential things that you will need in order to thoroughly clean a tent. These supplies are as follows:
- Water should be between cold and lukewarm. Water that is too hot should never be used since the heat from the water might cause some tent materials to break down
- Soap. Regardless of the fabric of the tent, a mild dish soap with no aroma is suitable for washing it. Cleaner with specialized equipment. You will need to purchase a cleaning product that is particularly made for cleaning outdoor gear, such as tents
- A sponge or a cloth will be required. For spot cleaning and deep cleaning, a non-abrasive sponge or cloth is required
- For cleaning the bathtub. If you have a bathtub, that’s the best spot to clean your tent, but any large tub would do in an emergency.
Spot Cleaning and Immersing
The water temperature should be between cold and mild. Water that is too hot should never be used since the heat from the water might cause some tent materials to break down; Soap For washing tents, regardless of the fabric, a mild dish soap with no added aroma is best. cleaner who specializes in certain tasks Pick up a cleaning product that is developed particularly for cleaning outdoor items, such as tents, and a sponge or towel to use with it. For spot cleaning and deep cleaning, a non-abrasive sponge or cloth is required; bathtub cleaning.
- Soap should be used to clean the spot. Carefully clean away any visible stains on the canvas with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth and a tiny quantity of dish soap, if necessary. Prepare the tub by filling it with water. When preparing the tub, the first step will be to clean it if it is required. Following that, just fill the tub approximately halfway with cold to lukewarm water and add the appropriate amount of the tent-cleaning product to the water. When determining how much cleaner to use, always follow the guidelines on the container to the letter. Prepare your camping equipment. It is necessary to unzip the tent doors and flip the tent inside out in order to properly prepare it for washing. Submerge the tent in water. Make sure to fully submerge the tent and rainfly in the water to get them thoroughly wet. Follow the directions on the cleaner bottle once again to determine how long the tent should be immersed in the cleaning solution.
Deep Cleaning Your Tent
It is not necessary to thoroughly clean all tents; but, if your tent has mildew, mold, or really nasty aromas emanating from it, try using an enzyme-based cleaner. When using one of these items, make sure to read and follow the instructions properly, or you might end up damaging the tent. Try using a tooth brush to clean away any sand or grit that has accumulated in the teeth of the zippers if you are experiencing any difficulties with them. In the vast majority of situations, this will resolve the issue.
To remove the sap, you may also use alcohol-based products such as hand sanitizer or wet wipes, which are also effective.
Rinsing and Drying Your Tent
Following a thorough washing and/or deep cleaning of your tent, you will need to rinse it fully and allow it to dry completely before stowing it away in a bag for storage. Here’s how it’s done:
- Rinse. After you’ve finished washing the tent, remove the sudsy water from the tub and replenish it with new water that is cool to lukewarm in temperature. If there are any suds left, you may need to repeat the process multiple times to completely remove the soap from the tent and rainfly. Continue the process until there is no soap left on the tent’s surface. Dry. If you are in a location where you can actually build your tent, this is the most effective method of drying your tent. It should be noted that if building the tent is not feasible, the tent should be stretched out gently and hung in a cool and shady place until entirely dry.
Rinse. When finished washing the tent, remove the sudsy water from the tub and replace it with clean water that is cool to lukewarm in temperature. The tent and rainfly may require repeated washing if there are still any suds on them after you have done this. Continue the process until there is no soap left on the tent’s surface; and Dry.
You should use this method to dry your tent if you are in a location where you can really build your tent. It should be noted that if building the tent is not feasible, the tent should be stretched out gently and hung in a cool and shady location until entirely dry.
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:
- You should use white vinegar to your advantage– An entire gallon of the stuff costs less than three dollars at almost any cheap shop or grocery store chain. To begin washing the tent, fill the spray bottle halfway with water and vinegar and shake it up vigorously. If you wish to counteract the vinegar scent, you may also add around a quarter cup of lemon juice, although this is not required. If you want, you may use a disinfectant spray such as Lysol instead, but the vinegar solution is far more dependable and considerably more cost-effective overall. Sprays that are intended to disinfect can also have strong odors that may not be pleasant for all of the tent’s inhabitants. Alternatively, you may set up the tent outside on your patio, yard, or driveway. Remove any debris from the tent and look for any signs of mold or mildew on the inside. If your tent is free of stains but still has a musty odor, you may be able to spray it with your vinegar solution and allow it to dry in the sun for a few hours. If there is mildew or mold on the tent, you will still pitch it, but you will spray plain vinegar on the mildew and allow it to set for an hour before combining the vinegar solution with the water. Spray the entire tent with a 50/50 vinegar solution to keep it from being soiled. After an hour or two, scrub the stain away with a soft brush or sponge that has been soaked in the soap solution. Be delicate so that you do not remove the waterproof coating from the surface. Never use bleach on a tent because it can damage the fibers and cause the tent’s waterproofing to fail. Due to the fact that fragrances attract undesirable animals, it is best to avoid using them in your products
- Time required for drying– Once the tent has dried, you will no longer be able to smell the vinegar. If your tent continues to smell, a second application should be applied. Hopefully, the foul odor will have dissipated by this time
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.
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:
- 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 completely dry. Check to see that there is no condensation left inside. Make a loose fold and store it in a suitcase, laundry bag, or other container with plenty of airflow to prevent mildew. It is not recommended 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 area if your climate has seasons of dampness or if your storage space has a tendency to become damp over time. Typically, you can find these in the laundry section of your neighborhood discount store.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
Never Wash Your Tent in a Washing Machine
This should go without saying, but I’m embarrassed to confess that I’ve done it in the past simply to see whether it worked. In my defense, it was only a test, and I did utilize an old tent for the sake of the experiment. I’ll simply say that it’s not something I’d recommend.
Despite the fact that the tent I used was ancient and not of high quality, I am confident that the findings would have been the same regardless of how high the quality of the tent was. Tents are just not designed to withstand the tumbling and spinning that occurs in washing machines.
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.
I’m fairly confident that all of the recommendations in this post are safe for use with 99.9 percent of all tents currently on the market. However, before cleaning your tent, make sure to follow the cleaning recommendations provided by the manufacturer, especially if you plan on using any form of chemicals! Cleaning a stinky tent is not a pleasant experience, especially if you have to do it just before a much-anticipated camping vacation with your family. You already have plenty to accomplish in preparations for the trip without adding another task to the list.
How to Remove Mold, Mildew and Tent Odors
When dusting off and unpacking tents that have been kept all winter, it is possible that a bad odor or mildew smell will escape from the tent. Mold and mildew develop fast on damp textiles, and it’s possible that you put the item away before it was totally dry to prevent this. Don’t give up hope. You have the ability to correct this. Our Revivex cleansers, together with a little elbow work, will have your dependable outdoor shelter looking fresh and clean once more. Check out the rest of this article to learn how to get rid of tent odors, including the dreaded vomit smell that may sometimes emanate from older tents.
According to how deeply the mold has been established into the nylon or canvas tent fabric, you may be able to remove the mold with merely hot, soapy water and a sponge. First and foremost, we recommend that you wash your tent with water and a specialist cleaner. This will have no effect on the performance or water repellency of your tent.
- Sponge, Bathtub / Large Container, Mild Dish Soap, Revivex Pro Cleaner
Cleaning Time: 30 minutes|Air Drying Time: 6-8 hours Estimated Time:
- Sponge and soap and water are used to clean filthy spots on the spot
- Fill the tub halfway with warm water and add 2 fl oz (59 mL) of Revivex Pro Cleaner
- Let soak for 10 minutes. Tent and outside textiles should be submerged in water and hand washed. Don’t clean the underside of the tent fly since doing so may cause it to lose its waterproof coating, which might result in damage or removal. To remove the soapy residue, rinse with water until the water runs clear. Allow for full drying by air
PRO HINT: If you have sap on your tent, use isopropyl alcohol to carefully remove it from the fabric.
Even after the tent has been thoroughly cleaned, persistent mold and mildew odors may still be present. You can deodorize your tent using a product that is gentle on the environment while yet being effective. When our Revivex deodorizing product is combined with water, the microorganisms in it become “activated,” allowing them to eat odor-causing germs in textiles.
- Bathroom / Large Container with Revivex Odor Eliminator
Time Estimation: Washing takes 30 minutes.
- Fill a tub halfway with water, just enough to immerse the tent. Every gallon of water should be treated with 1 fl oz of Revivex Odor Eliminator. Make a thorough mix. Remove all zippers and tent flaps from their positions. After that, immerse the tent in the Odor Eliminator mixture for a maximum of 5 minutes to ensure that the tent is completely saturated with bacteria. Do not wash the tent
- Instead, dry it. Allow for thorough drying by airing out and keeping it out of direct sunshine or heat.
RECOMMENDED USAGE: You may also use the combination to deodorize sleeping bags, backpacks, sandals, athletic clothing, and other goods that have a bad stench. There are a couple of more pointers worth mentioning as well:
- Make certain that you soak the tent/gear in the Revivex Odor Eliminator and water combination as soon as you get it home. As time goes on, the microorganisms devour themselves, and the solution becomes less effective as a result. Because the bacteria can only function for as long as an item is allowed to air dry, the longer the item is allowed to air dry. The Odor Eliminator microorganisms will be killed by the heat, and the germs will be washed away by the rinse. Odor Eliminator does not contain any harmful or harsh components, and the odor is decreased once the tent has been allowed to air dry entirely.
REMOVE PU ODORS FROM TENTS
Polyurethane (PU) coatings on the bottom of tentflies and the tent floor are used in tents to provide weatherproof protection against rain and snow. This coating is not intended to be permanent. After years of usage, the polyurethane covering may begin to degrade and delaminate. A tent is more prone to collapse if it has been exposed to moisture or has been submerged in water for more than five minutes. It is common for an unpleasant smell, comparable to that of vomit or urine, to be present when the PU coating is breaking down.
This is a chemical reaction that may be resolved with the use of certain common home products and a fabric sealant designed specifically for this purpose. Visit our site to discover how to completely waterproof a tent and how to waterproof a tent from top to bottom.
- The following items are required: Seam Grip TF, Mild Dish Soap, Isopropyl Alcohol, brush, dish towel, bathtub or large container.
Time Estimated: 3 hours for treatment|24 hours for air drying
- Fill a tub or container halfway with warm water, enough to completely immerse the tent. Submerge the tent in the water for 2-3 hours after adding five drops of liquid soap. The tent should be removed from the bath. The failing or delaminating PU coating should be removed by gently brushing it off with a brush using a solution of isopropyl alcohol, water and two drops of soap
- Dish towels should be used to soak up any residual residue. After removing the old PU coating, apply a fresh PU coating with Seam Grip TF to the seams. Apply a thin coating on the tent floor (on the inside) or tentfly (on the underside) and let it dry. Allow for 24 hours of air drying.
PRO TIP: After the tent has been allowed to dry fully, sprinkle the new PU coating with baby or talcum powder to help ease any early tackiness.
Now that your tent has been cleaned and disinfected, it’s critical to keep it correctly to avoid the odors from returning. Here are a few straightforward suggestions that can put an end to stinky tents once and for all.
- As soon as you get home after your trip, air dry your tent completely. Tents that are moist or wet should not be stored. Tents should be stored in a dry area.
ADVICE FROM THE PROS: To provide additional protection, sprayRevivex UV Protectanton tents and other outdoor gear to restore their color and prevent future sun damage.