Did you know that the remains of a tent recently found in Russia are from 40,000 B.C.? So, it’s not wrong to say that tents have been around as long as people have. During all this time, tent materials have changed from animals’ skins to linen fabric to modern materials, and so have their problems. One of the most significant issues with modern tents is that they can get mold, which ruins the tent material and makes people sick.

This article on how to clean a moldy tent contains effective ways to get rid of tent mold. But before we talk about those tips, we’ll discuss why mold grows in tents and its effects on tents, so you’ll know how to stop it. At the end of this article, we’ll answer all your questions about a moldy tent.

Let’s dig deeper into it!

How to Clean a Moldy Tent
How to Clean a Moldy Tent-5 Tips That Work

Why Does Mold Grow in Tents? 

Before dealing with how to clean a moldy tent, it’s necessary to know why and how it grows in the first place. Molds, unlike plants, don’t need sunlight to grow. Instead, they eat organic matter and make enzymes to break it up so they can eat it. Mold can grow anywhere that is warmer than the point at which water freezes. They grow in damp places, so you might find mold in your teepee if you go camping in a rainforest or another wet area.

They can grow in less than a day if the tent has a lot of moisture, is dirty, and doesn’t get much sun. It spreads in fibers by making roots and small holes in them, making it impossible to eliminate them.

Mold Grow in Tents

Effects of Mold on Tents 

Molds, unlike plants, don’t need sunlight to grow. Instead, they eat organic matter and make enzymes to break it up so they can eat it. Mold can grow anywhere that is warmer than the point at which water freezes. They grow in damp places, so you might find mold in your tent if you go camping in a rainforest or another wet area.

They can grow in less than a day if the tent has a lot of moisture, is dirty, and doesn’t get much sun. It spreads in fibers by making roots and small holes in them, making it impossible to eliminate them. Therefore, addressing how to clean a moldy tent becomes inevitable.

Prevention of Mold’s Growth

Being a seasoned camper, if someone asks me, “How to clean a moldy tent?” I’d tell them to learn that how to prevent mold growth first. Below are some things you can do to keep mold from growing in your tent or other gear.

Keep things dry:- As was already said, mold likes to grow in damp places. So, the first and most important thing is to keep your tent and things dry. To do this, pick a campsite that gets a lot of sunlight. It would be best to dry your mattresses in the sun to eliminate moisture.

Remove trash regularly:- Most of the time, mold doesn’t grow directly on the bivouac. Instead, it grows on leftover food, juice boxes, and other organic materials. Then it spreads to the more significant parts of tents.

Avoid dusting:- This may sound strange, but wiping with a broom can quickly spread mold spores to almost every part of your tent. It then gives more energy to the areas that could be risky. If you are camping in a remote location, you may want to use a rechargeable vacuum cleaner instead of a broom.

Separate the affected gears:- The best way to stop mold from spreading is to separate your moldy items and treat them all at once.

Avoid dropping food in affected areas:- Molds eat organic matter, so if you drop food or drinks, you can give them the food they need to grow. Because of this, mold can proliferate.

How to Clean a Moldy Tent: 5 Effective Strategies

One should know what mold or mildew looks like before cleaning. At first, it looked like white powdery stains, but if left alone for a few days, it would turn greenish-yellow or black. Considering all the bad things that can happen because of mold, these tips will help you clean your tent well.

  1. Treat with Soap Water
  2. Hydrogen Peroxide Spray
  3. Apply Salt and Lemon Juice Paste
  4. Clean with Vinegar
  5. Use Baking Soda

We’ll discuss these tips one by one.

1. Treating with Soap Water: The Best Answer to “How to Clean A Moldy Tent?” 

One of the most common and easiest ways to clean a bivouac with mold is to use soap and water. The best thing to do is,

  • Heat water up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit  
  • Put some soap in it and stir it well
  • Take out everything that doesn’t need to be in the tent and soak it in soapy water
  • Rinse the affected areas gently and get rid of all the fungi you can see
  • Wash the tent in clean water to get rid of all the soap
  • Place the tent in the sun to dry
  • Do it again if you need to

You should read the washing instructions in the manual to ensure you don’t ruin the tent’s water-resistant material. Use soaps that kill germs and are antiseptic to clean your tent and eliminate other pathogens.

How to Clean a Moldy Tent-Treating with Soap Water
How to Clean a Moldy Tent-Treating with Soap Water

2. Spray Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is one of the best chemicals for killing mold and is easy to find in stores. To get rid of the mold in your tent,

  • Put some concentrated hydrogen peroxide in the spray bottle
  • Spray hydrogen peroxide on the moldy part of the tent and let it soak in
  • Hydrogen peroxide will kill fungi entirely in about 10 to 15 minutes
  • Wash the tent with clean water to stop mold from growing back in case a small piece was left behind
  • Let the bivouac dry outside, and you can use it

Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent alternative to bleach for removing the fungus as it doesn’t leave any marks and costs very little. The best concentration of hydrogen peroxide for treating mold is 3 percent by volume, which is easy to find at a nearby pharmacy.

Spray Hydrogen Peroxide

3. Apply Salt and Lemon Juice Paste

Table salt and lemon are always in your reach. But who knew they would be so effective when mixed with removing mold from the tent? A mixture of these two will make a powerful natural remedy for the fungus you would never have thought about. So, it’s pointless to buy expensive bleaches or chemicals. To remove black spots on your tent,

  • Take 2 to 3 lemons and cut them in half
  • Squeeze these lemons in a small pot and remove their seeds
  • Add some table salt with a teaspoon and gently stir until it becomes a paste
  • Take this paste on a toothbrush and rub it against the moldy areas
  • When you see the dark spots fading, wash them with hot water (not more than 40o C).
  • Repeat the process if needed
how to clean a tent
How to Clean a Moldy Tent with Salt and Lemon Juice

4. Clean with Vinegar

We tested vinegar as a fungi disinfectant, keeping in mind how easy it is to use and how widely available it is. To our surprise, vinegar cannot only get rid of mildew but also stop it from growing. To clean mildew from a tent with vinegar,

  • Add some concentrated vinegar to a spray bottle
  • Spray this vinegar on the infected spots
  • Let it kill fungi for about an hour
  • Wash those spots where you have sprayed vinegar with hot water
  • Reapply vinegar if needed for 15 to 20 minutes; otherwise, let the tent dry

This method will cost you nothing, as vinegar is readily available in our kitchens. So, you can make your tent cleaner in your home. 

Clean-with-Vinegar

 

5. Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is another cheap and easy-to-find household item used to clean a moldy tent. It is safe for fibers, so it won’t hurt your skin if it touches it. To get rid of mold, use baking soda and,

  • Add half a liter of water to the spray bottle
  • Pour ½ tablespoon of baking soda in it and shake well
  • Spray this baking soda and water solution on the affected parts of the tent
  • Gently rub it with a sponge or scrubber and wash it with hot water
  • Apply the baking soda and water solution again to remove any colonies of mold left
  • Now again, wash it with fresh water and dry the tent outdoors

These are tried-and-true ways to clean your moldy tents with things you already have at home. Also, treating your bivouacs and gear with these light chemicals saves them from the harmful effects that some products can have. Also, you don’t have to pay anything to use these strategies; they work every time.

Depending on what is available at the time, you can also use Lysol, Tea Tree oil, Borax, ammonia, or fabric guard to get rid of mold.

how to wash tent
How to Clean a Moldy Tent with Baking Soda

Frequently asked questions

What kills mold instantly?  

To kill mold instantly, white vinegar, lemon and salt mixture, and concentrated hydrogen peroxide are matchless.

Is it safe to sleep in moldy tent? 

Sleeping in a moldy tent is not good. It could be fatal for you, as it can infect your airways, lungs, eyes, ears, or even black mold can cause heart diseases. Therefore, the best practice is to notice the mold and instantly disinfect your infected tent or belongings.  

How to stop a tent going moldy? 

To keep a tent from getting moldy, 
1.       It would be best if you kept it dry inside and out.
2.       It’s better to get rid of organic waste as soon as possible. 
3.       Check your tent carefully before and after using it.
4.       If you see white, greenish-yellow, or black spots on your tent, you should clean it immediately.
5.       Place your camp where it’ll get the most sunlight.

How long does it take for a tent to mold? 

Mold can grow in a tent in 24 to 48 hours, depending on how easy it is for the mold to grow.

How to clean a moldy tent with Vinegar?

Vinegar can kill mildew and keep it from coming back. Put concentrated vinegar in a spray bottle and use it to kill mold. Spray vinegar on the damaged parts of the tent. In an hour, the fungus should die. If you need to, add more vinegar to the tent and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. And then use clean water to wash the tent. Last, let your tent dry in the shade.

Conclusion

If you’re a camper and don’t want to risk your health, you should act right away if you see any signs of mold on your tent. This article about how to clean a moldy tent has easy home remedies to get rid of this small but dangerous creature as soon as possible. Please tell us know your thoughts in comments section.

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