Get Rid of Tent Mildew

tent-swamp-by-jaygoobyTaking care of your tent to begin with is the best way to prevent mildew. But sometimes, mildew just happens even when we have the best intentions. It was raining the whole weekend at the campsite and by the time you got home, you were cold and tired. Who wants to do tent maintenance then? And let’s not forget about situations like those in the photo. While we always start out with the best of intentions, sometimes it’s good to know what to do when things go wrong.

Mildew is actually millions of strains of fungus and causes a musty smell. It can destroy your tent and make it unusable if it gets out of control. Even the smallest amount of mildew can make it unbearable to use your tent because of the smell. So how do you get rid of it?

If it’s just a musty smell without evidence of mildew, like powdery looking coatings or downy looking puffs of white or green, airing out your tent is usually enough to resolve the issue. Assemble your tent and open the windows without rolling up the window fabric and let it sit in a well ventilated, shady spot on a dry day.

When your tent gets an extra coating from nature, however, it requires more than just an airing out. Using a sponge and try some light, gentle scrubbing without water. Abrasives will harm protective coatings so be gentle. If mildew still remains, try a product made for removing mildew from your tent. Follow the directions for mildew removal, let it air dry, and then spot treat any areas left with solution made with 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of lemon concentrate, and a gallon of water. While this won’t remove the stains, it will kill off whatever mildew is left so it doesn’t further damage your tent. Let it air dry again and then promise yourself it won’t happen again.

You might find that when you try a mildew killing measure like this there’ll be spots where protective coatings have worn off. Waterproofing your tent with a spray is a good idea after a mildew treatment. Sometimes, though, it’s really just better to buy a new tent. We’re sure that most of the tents in the photo reached the end of the road after flooding.

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