How To Remove Mildew From Your Tent? [Complete Guide]

How can you remove mildew?

Wikipedia defines mildew as  “a thin, superficial, usually whitish growth consisting of minute fungal hyphae(filaments,) produced especially on living plants or organic matter such as wood, paper or leather, or the resulting smell, especially on clothing, paper, or other substances left damp in a household.”

You should never pack up your tent in wet condition. If you do, mildew will develop, making your tent smell bad, look bad, not to mention that the fabric of the tent can be damaged. You can always remove mildew, but it will cost you money and time. It is not a pleasant experience, and it is always better to avoid it in the first place.

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How To Remove Mildew From Your Tent?

First, layout the tent in the open. Hose down the tent in order to prevent mildew spores from becoming airborne. The reason why you should do this in the open is that spores can’t transfer to other surfaces in your house. When the tent is wet try removing the mildew gently with a wet sponge.

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If this doesn’t work, you need to get tricky. You need to mix a mildew removal product with water in a bathtub and dip the whole tent in it. This will kill the remaining visible spots of mildew as well as removing any spores that might have survived the hosing at the beginning. The bathing will remove the odor.

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Use the same mixture for removing the remaining spots of mildew. Soak the mixture into a sponge, and scrub the  remaining spots of mildew with the sponge. Lay out the tent in the shade and let it dry. Then mix one cup of salt with one cup of lemon juice with one gallon (3.79 litres) of hot water. Rub the mixture into the remaining patches of mildew when the tent has dried up.

Never remove mildew by putting the tent out into the sunlight, and scratching off the mildew when it is dry. The sun can damage the fly, and the scratching can tear the fiber.

Sealing your tent

Every tent manufactured nowadays is sealed. The floor of the tent and the dome are sealed together with seams. Seam tape is used to plug the tiny holes that the sewing needles punch into the fabric. The exceptions are silicon-treated nylon rainflys.

If you have a rainfly made of nylon and treated with silicone – or in fact any tent that is not factory sealed – you should seal it manually. I recommend using a seam sealer.

Always apply the sealer at home. It is harder to apply the sealer on the ground in nature. The tent can become dirty and muddy, which will prevent the sealer from having the desired effect. Lay out your tent in at home and apply the seam sealer to the shiny, coated side of the tent.

Waterproofing your tent

If you have a non-waterproof tent, you can make it somewhat waterproof by applying a water repellent spray. You can read all about waterproofing a tent by checking out our page on the subject.

Or you can watch the below videos on taking care and waterproofing your tent.

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