How To Clean a Tent That Smells
You were under the impression that yourtent had been carefully stored 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 surprised at how quickly and easily the problem can be resolved, even if there is visible 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 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.
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
The development of a fragrance in your tent that does not exude calm and tranquillity can be caused by a variety of factors. To properly eliminate the odor from your tent, it is necessary to identify the source of the odor first. Dirt and filth are the most likely culprits behind nose-wrinkling odors. Because camping excursions include a variety of outdoor activities, we end up with a lot of dirt and filth. Our shoes and clothes are soiled with mud and filth. It’s possible that you unintentionally brought an undesirable present from your pet into the house.
- When dirt and filth naturally develop in a tent during a camping trip, the tent might become odoriferous.
- I’m referring to mold and mildew in this context.
- Mold and mildew form on the surface of the water, where they are plainly visible, as is the musty odor that wafts beneath your nose.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) webpage describes the hazards of breathing mold and mildew spores.
- Third, you may be suffering from a bacterial infection.
- Bacteria, like mold, may grow on any surface, even on the ground.
- Finally, a breakdown of polyethylene in your stinky tent might be the cause of the odor.
This is a rare event, but if it happens to you on your camping vacation, it might completely affect the experience. The breakdown of polyethylene will result in the stench of vomit or urine emanating from your tent, but there is a simple solution to this problem.
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.
- 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.
Remove the tent from the ground and carefully clean the tent’s surface with a soft brush. The polyethylene coating will be removed as a result of this procedure. Finally, fully clean the tent and allow it to dry completely before packing it up for your vacation or storing it away.
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
It is important to wash your tent on a regular basis in order to maximize its lifespan. Using a washing machine to demolish a tent is a simple and easy technique to shorten its lifespan. Tents are not designed to withstand the amount of spinning and agitation that occurs in a washing machine. They were just not designed to be washed in a washing machine. It is not necessary to use a washing machine even though the manufacturer’s instructions state that you should. Another bit of advise is to never, ever put your tent in the washing machine.
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. It is preferable to roll it up once you have certain that it is completely dry. 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
Tents that stink are never fun. They have the ability to swiftly detract from the enjoyment of a wonderful camping experience. Even though I have provided you with a few suggestions for eliminating odors from your stinky tent, I am unable to leave you without some extra recommendations for the long-term care of your tent. There are actions you can do to extend the life of your tent dwelling and ensure that you will be able to enjoy many more camping excursions in the future.
- 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.
Using these simple techniques to clean your stinky tent can make a significant difference.
How to Clean a Tent
There have been 246 reviews, with an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. An outdoor weekend in the wilderness will almost certainly result in your tent being covered in dust and dirt when you get back to your house. It is possible, however, that your home in the great outdoors will become too grimy, and you will notice unsightly stains, funky odors, or a zipper that isn’t working as well as it once did. Cleaning a tent can alleviate the majority of these issues, and it is not a difficult task.
- Obtain necessary equipment and supplies: The following items will be required: water, soap, tent/gear cleaner, a towel or sponge, and a tub. Shake it off and it will come out easier: Take care to get rid of any sand or dried-on debris
- You may also thoroughly sweep or vacuum the inside as it’s being assembled. Clean a small area first, then immerse: You’ll start by spotting and cleaning unclean spots, then soaking the tent in sudsy water. Follow our deep-cleaning recommendations when dealing with really filthy projects. Rinse well and dry thoroughly: Before storing your tent, make sure to fully clean it and allow it to dry completely.
Video: How to Clean a Tent
Supplies: What you’ll need to clean a filthy tent is as follows:
- Water that is cold to lukewarm
- Dishwashing liquid with a mild smell
- For example, Nikwax Tech Wash® is a cleaner created exclusively for outdoor equipment and apparel. a sponge or cloth that is not abrasive Bathtub or other huge tub to relax in
How to clean a filthy tent is as follows:
- Spot clean with mild dish soap: Gently clean any particularly unclean spots with a cloth or sponge and a tiny quantity of light dish soap. Preparing the tub includes the following steps: After filling the tub halfway with cool to lukewarm water, add your tent-cleaning product. Consult the bottle’s instructions to find out how much cleanser you should use. Prepare your tent as follows: Turn the tent inside out by unzipping the doors and turning it inside out. Prepare your tent by soaking it: Place the tent and rainfly in the tub and fill it with water. Again, follow the guidelines on the cleaning bottle to determine how long you should immerse your tent for. Thoroughly rinse the utensil: Drain the water from your tub and replace it with fresh water. It may be necessary to repeat this process multiple times to completely remove all of the soap from the tent and rainfly. Until everything is totally dry, set your tent up or hang it in a cool, shady location.
Deep Cleaning Your Tent
Using an enzyme cleanser, such as MiraZymeTM, can help remove mildew, mold, and unpleasant odors from your tent. Follow the instructions for the enzyme cleanser to the letter, especially when it comes to how long to soak the tent in it. If you leave the tent soaking for an extended period of time, you run the danger of hydrolysis, which occurs when water begins to break down waterproof polyurethane coatings. Spot cleaning your tent with mineral oil if there is pine sap on it is recommended; nevertheless, avoid over-scrubbing the tent.
Once the sap has been removed, make sure to thoroughly clean the area with water.
If the filth is very persistent, rinse the zipper with water and then brush it.
Take a rag and wipe down any unclean, dusty, sandy, or salty poles you come across. Consider re-coating the surfaces with waterproof coatings. If the coatings on your tent aren’t keeping the rain out like they used to, you may reapply them.
- What is the best way to store a tent? Tent care basics
- How to repair a tent
- And more.
Chris Pottinger works at REI Co-op in Kent, Washington, as a senior tent designer.
How to Clean a Tent with Mold and Mildew (5 Easy Methods)
Camping may be a lot of fun, but it can also get quite dirty very quickly, so be prepared! It is important that you take good care of your tent and keep it clean and dry in order to guarantee that it continues to function well for as long as possible. The growth of mold and mildew in tents is a typical problem, especially if they are used seldom or are not properly preserved after being taken down. As you read this article, you will learn how to recognize mold and mildew problems, learn about several quick and easy ways to get rid of them, and learn about numerous ways to avoid mold and mildew problems in the future.
Identifying Mold and Mildew
First and foremost, it is advised that you examine your tent after each usage to discover any mold or mildew that may need to be addressed, especially if you are a frequent camper or hiker. On your next camping vacation, you don’t want to be breathing in mold particles without realizing it! In the same way that you wash your sleeping bag, you will want to make sure that your tent is clean and sanitary before sleeping in it for the first time. If you find any odd areas, check to be sure they are not merely dirt or dust by wiping them off with a moist towel for a few seconds.
In most cases, it appears as little black, blue, or green flecks on the surface of the tent’s canvas fabric.
Mildew looks similar to mold and is often white, gray, or yellow in color.
5 ways of Cleaning Mold and Mildew from a Tent
In the event that you discover mold or mildew in your tent, it is imperative that you clean immediately. Here are a few alternatives you should consider. It is more than probable that the first two alternatives will be sufficient if you have a little or very mild mold problem. That being said, if you are planning to use your tent after a few months and see severe mold, I would recommend pursuing all of the alternatives available to you to ensure you have a clean and safe tent for your camping vacations.
Soap and Water Method
In order to ensure that your tent will not be stained or damaged by any of these procedures, you should do a spot test on a small section of your tent before proceeding. Because it will be much easier to clean after your tent is set up, the first step is to pitch your tent as soon as possible. Next, use a soft-bristled brush or a cloth to remove any mold that you can find (you’ll want to do this outside to avoid bringing mold spores into your house). For canvas tents, use a stiff-bristled brush, but scrub gently to avoid damaging the fabric.
Cleanse well with clean water and leave to dry in a shaded location. Nikwax Tent and Gear Cleaning, Waterproofing, and UV Protection is a trademark of Nikwax Corporation.
- It is ideal for use on a variety of items including tents, flys, backpacks, and awnings as well as boat coverings, umbrellas, patio furniture, and panniers Water-based, biodegradable, and free of PFCs, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), optical brighteners, and added smell
- UV protection helps prevent sun damage and extend the life of outdoor gear
- Greatest results are obtained after using the Nikwax TentGear SolarWash. Application by spraying on
NIKWAVEN TentGear SolarProof (Spray-On) 500 mL
- Weather-resistant textiles are revitalized and given a water-repellent coating. Increases UV protection to help prevent sun damage and extend the life of outdoor gear. It works well when used in conjunction with Nikwax TentGear SolarWash. Application by spraying on
- It is ideal for use on a variety of items including tents, flys, backpacks, and awnings as well as boat coverings, umbrellas, patio furniture, and panniers Water-based, biodegradable, and free of PFCs, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), optical brighteners, and added smell
Nikwax Tent and Gear Solarwash, Nikwax Tent and Gear Solarproof, as well as a soft bristle brush or a standard hard bristle brush that you would normally use for cleaning a kitchen are the things I resort to when cleaning and washing my tent using this approach. It’s time to move on to some other DIY cleaning remedies if this doesn’t work.
Vinegar and Lemon Methods
Your next step will be to experiment with vinegar. Using a spray bottle, combine a cup of warm water and a quarter cup of vinegar. Spray the afflicted area well. Allow the solution to settle for a few minutes before beginning to gently clean the tent. Finally, allow the tent to dry completely. You may also use the approach described above, but instead of vinegar, use lemon and salt instead. The ingredients for this recipe are one gallon of boiling water, one cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and one cup of salt.
It is possible to go on to more severe cleaning products if you are unsuccessful with these treatments.
Spray-On Treatment Method
For example, Concrobium mold removal solution, especially Mold Armor mould killer, makes it simple to spot treat mold in a variety of locations. You should spray the product on the moldy area and allow it to dry, according to the manufacturer’s directions on their website. Once the substance has been soaked in with a brush or a cloth, gently scrape at the mold or mildew with the tool. There is also a Concrobium Mold Stain Eraser available, which may be used to remove very tenacious spots. Finally, reapply the cream and let it to dry completely, creating a protective covering that will prevent future issues.
contains mold and mildew killer, quick stain remover, and trigger spray bottle.
- ARMOR MADE OF MOLD Using Mold and Mildew Killer Quick Stain Remover, you can eliminate mold and mildew, as well as germs and viruses in a matter of minutes. A germ, bacterium, virus, and fungus killer with a broad range of activity that removes mold, mildew, algae, filth, and grime stains
- It should be used on hard, non-porous surfaces such as bathtubs and shower doors as well as toilet seats and worktops as well as cemented grout. Effortlessly cleans and disinfects in a single application with a bleach-based product that requires no scrubbing. To sterilize a nonporous surface, thoroughly clean it before spraying it. Remove any traces of dirt and grime
- A mold spray that is effective on a wide range of hard, non-porous surfaces, including concrete. In 30 seconds, it kills 99.9 percent of household bacteria, viruses, fungus, and germs
- It is environmentally friendly.
Another product that you may use as a spray-on is Iosso’s Mold & Mildew Cleaner. This product comes in the form of a concentrated powder that must be diluted with water and placed into a spray bottle before using. Because it does not include bleach, it will not discolor or harm the colors or fabric of your camping tent. It may also be used for different types of materials like as tarps, boat coverings, and awnings, amongst other applications. These alternatives are excellent if you have stubborn mold that milder methods are unable to eliminate, but you do not have big regions of mold or mildew to remove at the same time.
Deep Cleaning Method
If none of the solutions listed above are successful, it is necessary to take more drastic measures to restore your tent to its former camping state. This procedure should be effective in eliminating any mold and mildew concerns. Your initial step should be to spot clean any problem areas as thoroughly as possible using the procedures outlined above. After that, fill your bathtub halfway with lukewarm water and add an enzyme cleaning solution, being sure to read the label to determine how much cleaner to use.
The tent should be turned inside out before being submerged in the tub, therefore any screens or flaps should be unzipped first.
After that, rinse the tent well with fresh water.
After soaking your tent, spot wipe it using a towel or a brush to remove any remaining stains.
You should always check the waterproofing of your tent after using any of these techniques since certain materials might cause harm to the coating, especially if they are left on the tent for a longer period of time than is suggested.
Removing the Smell
A musty smell may persist in your tent after cleaning if you have a major mold or mildew problem in your tent. If this occurs, several items can assist in removing the stink from the air. An other product that requires diluting is Revivex Odor Eliminatoris. Using the cap, fill a big tote halfway with cold water and then measure out half an ounce of the formulation. Before you set up your tent or hang it to dry, make sure it is completely saturated. Additionally, the solution will aid in the prevention of future smells and may be used on other outdoor clothing.
2-ounce bottle of GEAR AID Revivex Odor Eliminator, an all-natural formula that may be used on tents, footwear, and sports equipment
- Remove harsh and unpleasant odors from clothing with this powerful mixture that is efficient, all-natural, and non-toxic
- Make use of this mild wash to treat numerous clothing at the same time, using only half an ounce of detergent in 20 gallons of water. In addition to outerwear and tents, athletic clothing and shoes, and pet gear may all be treated with this multifunctional solution
- It is also effective on materials such as neoprene, nylon, polyester, and GORE-TEX. Spray or soak for difficult-to-clean gear
- Offered in two sizes: 2 ounces and 10ounces, all of which are suitable with washing machines
- It is possible that the packaging will differ.
How to Prevent Mold and Mildew
Most importantly, when camping and storing your tent, you should try to keep it as dry as possible to prevent mold and mildew from developing. Check the waterproofing of your tent on a regular basis to ensure that it is still working, and reapply as necessary. When not in use, you should store your tent in a big, ventilated bag to keep the bugs out. A mesh bag or pillowcase works great, however the bag from which the tent was originally packaged is not always the ideal option. Never store it while it is still wet; instead, allow it to dry completely beforehand, if at all feasible, or, if this is not possible, dry it as soon as possible thereafter.
- Cleaning the tent floor on a regular basis, just like you would with any other type of floor, is also recommended.
- In addition, if you plan on camping for an extended period of time, it’s a good idea to remove away any vegetation from the area where your tent will be placed and to frequently brush away any debris that may fall on it.
- Following extended camping vacations during which the tent gets obviously dusty, a thorough cleaning should be performed.
- However, the contrary is true: while the sun will keep the tent drier than the shade will, it can also cause UV damage to the materials.
There are a variety of methods for removing mold and mildew from your tent, and you can choose which approach to use dependent on the degree of the problem at hand. Small mold problems are likely to be treated with soap and water on a spot basis, which is likely to be the only strategy you need to attempt. If you have a tent that has been stored in a wet environment for a lengthy period of time and has developed a substantial quantity of mold and mildew, it may be preferable to immediately do a comprehensive cleaning.
Keeping all of these tips in mind will help to ensure that your tent looks and performs at its best!
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. It just works better in my opinion, not to mention that you save a little time because you don’t have to clean up any suds afterwards.
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 is very filthy, you’ll have to put in a bit extra effort to get it clean. In order to clean the unclean places, you’ll need to put in a little effort and scrub them using a soft, non-abrasive sponge. An aerosol spray bottle is my preferred method for accomplishing this goal. Hand wash the exterior textiles and avoid cleaning the underside of the tent flap, as this may result in damage to the water-resistant finish. You should never scrub too hard or too vigorously; always be careful with it because if you are too rough with it, you might wind up harming your tent.
Though commercially available chemical treatments are available for spot cleaning difficult stains on tents, I prefer to use soap and water or a mix of lemon juice and vinegar.
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.
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. With a little more effort at the end of each trip, you can avoid the inconvenience of cleaning a stinky tent every time you take it out of storage.
How to Clean a Tent (And Other Tent Care Tips!)
Carefully maintaining your tent will significantly extend its useful life. Although this entails a variety of factors, such as appropriate storage and frequent maintenance, the single most critical component is maintaining the cleanliness of your tent. The good news is that cleaning a tent (both in the field and at home) isn’t particularly difficult. Today, we’ll go through the specifics of how to clean your tent, as well as a few other important aspects of tent maintenance.
Tent Care in the Field
Maintaining your tent’s cleanliness and condition while it’s out in the field is the most effective method of keeping it in excellent shape.
Setting Up Camp
When setting up camp, keep the following recommendations in mind to extend the life of your tent:
- Clean Up Large Debris — Once you’ve found a flat, level site to pitch your tent, take away any large debris such as trees or pine cones that may have accumulated beneath the area where the tent is to be erected.
- A ground cloth may be used to protect your tent from the elements. An extra layer under your tent can help maintain it in good condition. Use a ground fabric, such as a tent footprint or a tarp, to protect the ground beneath your tent.
- A ground cloth may be used to protect your tent from the elements. An extra layer under your tent can help maintain it in excellent shape. Under your tent, place a ground covering such as a tent footprint or a tarp
Following these very simple tent setup guidelines can go a long way toward keeping your tent tidy.
Using Your Tent
Correct usage of your tent while camping is just as important as proper tent setup when it comes to maintaining tent cleanliness:
- Broom and dustpan are particularly useful if you’re vehicle camping since they’ll help you keep your tent clean, which is especially important if you’re camping with children or your dog.
- Food and drinks (other than water) are not permitted inside your tent. Not only does this help to minimize spills and keep your tent clean, but it’s also important for avoiding interactions with wildlife when camping.
- Remove Your Footwear – Always keep your boots outside of your tent to avoid your tent from becoming contaminated with mud. I like tents with a wide, full-coverage vestibule because it allows me to keep my belongings safe.
Each morning, I prefer to complete a one-minute tent cleanup to get the day started right. I’ll shake out the sleeping bags, conduct a fast sweep, and clean up any spills (despite the fact that I’ve previously stated that there would be no food!). Cleaning your tent after a fast trip to the campsite truly does make cleaning your tent at home easier.
Packing Up Your Tent
It’s critical to take a few minutes to properly put away your tent when it comes to in-field tent upkeep. Here’s how:
- Lastly, when it comes to in-field tent care, it’s critical to take a few minutes to carefully put away your tent. This includes:
- Attempt to Dry If At All Possible — If your tent is wet, it is preferable to allow it to dry completely before loading it back into your vehicle. However, if it’s still raining or you have a pressing need to drive somewhere, try to spread the wet clothes out in your car to at least allow for a little drying time before you reach home.
- Roll Your Tent Instead of Folding –You’ll probably be OK folding up a tent, but rolling your tent is a simple technique to avoid damage and extend the life of your tent.
As soon as you arrive at your destination, remove your tent from its stuff sack or storage sack. I go into further detail on appropriate tent storage further down the page.
How to Clean Your Tent
Cleaning a tent may appear to be a difficult task, but it is actually quite simple. Although it’s unlikely, as long as you’re using and storing your tent properly, and cleaning out debris after each use, there’s little chance you’ll ever have to wash it. In fact, I’ve only had to wash a tent a handful of times. If you’ve been on a particularly dirty camping trip, a quick spot clean is all that’s required. Unless you were using or storing your tent improperly, the chances are good that it will need to be thoroughly cleaned.
Sweeping it out, giving it a quick spot clean, and most importantly allowing it to completely dry before storing have been all I’ve needed to do to keep it in near-perfect condition, despite the fact that I go camping on a regular basis, and in all kinds of weather.
How to Clean a Dirty Tent
First and foremost, let your tent to air dry fully until it is entirely dry. After that, open all of the doors and windows in the house and shake out any remaining debris. Generally speaking, even if your tent is muddy from a wet camping trip, the majority of the dirt and grime will shake out once it has dried. At this stage, I prefer to use a non-abrasive sponge to spot clean the inside of my tent. Use cold water and a non-detergent soap to wash your hands. Hand-clean your tent by carefully cleaning any filthy spots until they are completely clean.
However, a decent mineral oil or anything as simple as hand sanitizer should suffice in this situation.
If your tent is very filthy, you may use a large bucket, bathtub, or sink to wash the entire thing using the same manner as described above (hand scrub with gentle sponge, cool water, and non-detergent soap).
My hose has even been used to wash my tent, and it appears to perform satisfactorily there as well. Use the gentlest setting possible if you’re applying the product with a sprayer or an applicator. Remember to allow your tent to dry fully after washing it, no matter which technique you use!
How to Clean a Tent That Smells
As has been said several times before, proper tent storage (i.e., allowing the tent to dry entirely) is the most effective method of combating smells. However, if your tent does begin to smell, it is very feasible to thoroughly clean it so that the stench is no longer there. The most essential thing to remember is to avoid using a washing machine whenever possible. Never wash a tent in the washing machine since there is a considerable risk of damaging the delicate textiles within the tent. When cleaning a soiled tent, follow the same procedure as described previously.
- Fill a bucket, bathtub, or sink halfway with cold water and soak the tent fully.
- Using your hand, gently clean and agitate the tent’s surface.
- Soap can occasionally leave a residue on the skin.
- After washing, be certain that the tent is properly rinsed.
- Both the rainfly and the tent body should be cleaned because both can harbor odors.
- Scrubbing your tent’s waterproofing covering too forcefully will cause it to get damaged.
How to Clean Mold or Mildew from a Tent
Mold and mildew are unmistakable indicators that your tent has not been properly preserved. A tent that has been wet, or even just slightly moist, and has been stored in a stuff sack for an extended period of time without drying is very guaranteed to develop mold, mildew, or smells. Your best bet, like with my DIY tent washing approach above, is to combine vinegar with a little bit of lemon juice in a spray bottle. First, thoroughly wash and dry your tent, then spray it with the vinegar and lemon juice combination.
Allow the tent to stay outside and dry naturally once more.
To make matters even better, the lemon and vinegar will serve as a natural disinfectant.
How to Store Your Tent
Proper tent storage, rather than simply washing your tent, is, in my opinion, significantly more crucial. In fact, keeping your tent properly helps to keep smells, mold, and mildew at bay, which minimizes the likelihood that you’ll ever have to give your tent a complete cleaning in the future. Listed below is all you need to know about keeping a camping tent properly:
- Allow Your Tent to Air Dry – Always, always, always allow your tent to air dry fully before storing it.
- Store Anything in a Disorganized Manner — A stuff sack is fantastic for camping, but it is not particularly useful for storing items. Leave your tent unpacked and as open as possible, if at all feasible. If space is at a premium, a conventional tent storage sack (as opposed to a compression sack) is the best option.
- A cool, dry area is the ideal way to keep your tent when it is not in use. Avoid keeping your tent in a wet environment.
I just want to emphasize that you should always allow your tent to thoroughly dry out before storing it.
The most important thing you can do to extend the life of a tent is to store it properly.
Other Tent Care and Repair Tips
After a trip, I spend a few minutes to examine my tent for any damage and then put it away until the next time I use it. Listed below are some important tent care, maintenance, and repair recommendations:
- Inspect the tent for tears and fix them as quickly as possible with a tent repair kit. Both repair tape and mesh patch kits are available
- However, repair tape is preferred.
- Seams should be resealed using a liquid seam sealant if there are any leaking tent seams. Seams can also be retaped, however this is a more complicated procedure. Always use the proper sort of seam sealer for your tent fabric (silicone-treated fabric sealers as well as polyurethane-treated fabric sealers are available)
- Tent Pole Repair – Using a pole repair sleeve (which is comparable to a splint) is the most effective method of repairing a tent pole. Simply slip the sleeve over the tent pole and secure it with a piece of duct tape to keep it in place. It’s not particularly attractive, but it serves its purpose.
- Reapply Waterproofing – Take a minute to go over your tent’s waterproof covering and make any necessary repairs. If it is beginning to fail (i.e., it is visibly peeling), it is time to either reapply a thin layer of paint-on polyurethane sealer or replace it completely. Some tent manufacturers also give replacement rainflies (which is probably a preferable alternative if it is available)
- Some tent manufacturers also provide replacement tarps.
- Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions – Before making any repairs or cleaning your tent, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Professional tent repair services are available, and although I’ve never used them (I usually do my own tent repairs), they are accessible. Many outdoor merchants, both large chains and small family-owned businesses, provide repair services. For instance, REI Repair Services may assist you in repairing a tent. If you can’t fix the damage yourself, it’s typically best to simply buy a new tent, unless your tent is really costly or specialized in some way, in which case it’s usually better to just get a new tent.
Why Taking Care of Your Tent Is Important
Although the advantages of appropriate tent maintenance are self-evident, the fact that so many individuals fail to properly care for and store their tent makes it necessary to emphasize why you should.
- However, because so many individuals do not properly care for their tents or store them, it is necessary for us to remind the reasons why you should care for your tents.
- Increased Enjoyment — A filthy, dingy, and odorous tent may make tent camping a dreadful experience.
- Discourage Animals from Entering — Food spills and other tent scents might attract wild animals. When camping in bear territory, this is something you definitely don’t want to happen.
- Preserve Weatherproofing – Keeping your tent clean, examining it, and fixing it on a regular basis can assist guarantee that it is waterproof when you need it to be waterproof.
The good news is that, as we’ve demonstrated throughout this article, basic tent maintenance is really quick and simple.
Learn More About Cleaning Camping Gear
A tent is simply one item on your camping or hiking checklist; there are plenty more. However, not only your tent, but also every item of camping equipment must be cleaned and maintained. Keep an eye out for other camping gear cleaning recommendations, including instructions on how to clean your sleeping bag. And, as usual, please let us know if you have any further questions in the comments section below! Camping is a blast!