Camping 101: Tips for Avoiding a Moldy Tent

Time to pull the camping gear out of the garage, pile the kids into the car and hit the road! Every summer, families trade the hustle and bustle of everyday life for a peaceful, quiet (okay, maybe not quiet if this kids are coming along ) getaway. A fun, Wi-Fi free, stress free family vacation.

Well, stress free until you realize that the camping gear that’s been neatly tucked away in the garage (at least that’s what you were told…) is now moldy and sporting quite a stench. So, is it time to call off the trip? Not yet.

What Happened?

Your tent was designed to stand up to rain, humidity, salt, rough terrain, and other harsh realities of outdoor life. However, it was not designed to be shoved in the dark, damp corner of your garage all winter long. If you do not thoroughly clean and air your tent between uses, mold and mildew have the perfect environment in which to grow.

With proper care your tent will last for years. All it takes is a little work to ensure that your gear is always ready to go.

Cleaning a Dirty Tent

If you took the shove-it-in-a-corner method of storage after your last camping trip, all is not lost. You can still restore your tent to top condition. How? Mold and mildew are organic stains; choose an enzymatic cleaner with Ordenone that will break them down quickly. As the enzymes work to digest the stains, Ordenone encapsulates malodors, eliminating the musty scent. Your tent will look, feel, and smell clean.

  1. Fill a tub (or a kiddie pool, whatever works) with cool water, and add an ounce or two of the enzymatic cleaner.
  2. Open all the zippers and flaps and fully submerge the tent.
  3. Let it soak for about 10 minutes.
  4. Hang to dry.

It’s’ that easy!

If you don’t have a tub, set up the tent at home (in a dry area, like your garage) and saturate the fabric with the enzymatic cleaner. Pay particular attention to visible mold and mildew, which tends to grow on and near the seams. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the stains and allow the tent to dry thoroughly.

Preventing Mold and Mildew

Want to start your next trip off on the right foot? Well, we can’t promise everything will go smoothly (kids will be kids after allJ), but we can offer some tips for making sure your gear is ready go.

  • Invest in a footprint. This is a custom-made cloth that protects your tent from abrasion, and it can help keep water from pooling under your tent.
  • Consider a no-footwear, no-eating rule inside the tent. This prevents debris from being tracked in – and forgotten about later. Remember, mold and mildew thrive on moisture and organic material.
  • If possible, wipe off your tent after a rain or after the morning dew.
  • When you’re packing up, sweep out the tent thoroughly.
  • When you get home, don’t put the tent away! Take it out and use a gentle enzymatic cleaner to remove any organic residue, dirt, crumbs, etc. Clean the stakes, poles, and zippers, as well, to prevent corrosion.
  • Set the tent up in a dry area. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a hot, dry day to let it sit out. If not, set it up in your garage and sure it is completely dry before you pack it up.

With a little preparation and an enzymatic cleaner, you’ll be well on your way to creating lasting family memories, sans mold.