How to Clean a Tent with Mold in 8 Easy Steps

How to Clean a Tent with Mold

If you’ve discovered mold on your tent, there’s no need to worry. Here are my 08 easy steps on how to clean a tent with mold that I always use:

  • Assess the damage
  • Choose your cleaning method
  • Prepare your cleaning solution
  • Test an inconspicuous area
  • Apply the cleaning solution
  • Let it sit and work its magic
  • Rinse thoroughly
  • Dry completely

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of cleaning a moldy tent so that you can confidently use it again for your next adventure in the great outdoors.

How to Clean a Tent with Mold: A Step-by-Step Guide

Cleaning a moldy tent is an important step to saving it, maintaining its longevity, and ensuring a safe camping experience. Here is a detailed guide on how to clean moldy tent:

1. Assess the damage

Before you begin cleaning, carefully inspect your tent for any signs of mold or mildew.

How much mold is there? Is it just on the surface, or has it penetrated the fabric? Look for discolored spots, musty odors, or visible patches of mold growth.

Avoid neglecting hard-to-reach areas, such as zippers and seams, where mold can hide.

2. Choose your cleaning method

Select an appropriate method (white vinegar, bleach, baking soda, or a commercial mold cleaner) based on your tent’s material and condition. Avoid using unsuitable cleaning products that might damage the fabric.

3. Prepare your cleaning solution

  • If using white vinegar, mix one part vinegar with two parts water in a spray bottle or bucket.
  • For bleach, mix one part bleach with ten parts water.
  • Baking soda requires mixing one cup of baking soda with two cups of water.

Prepare the cleaning solution according to the chosen method. Avoid using multiple cleaning products simultaneously as they may react and cause damage.

4. Test an inconspicuous area

Before applying the cleaning solution to larger areas of your tent fabric, test it on a small hidden spot to ensure compatibility and avoid any potential discoloration or damage.

5. Apply the cleaning solution

Using a sponge or soft brush dipped in your chosen cleaning solution (white vinegar mixture/bleach mixture/baking soda mixture/commercial mold cleaner), gently scrub the affected areas where mold is present.

Ensure thorough coverage, but avoid escrubbing too aggressively or oversaturating, which can weaken the fabric.

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6. Let it sit and work its magic

Allow the cleaning solution to penetrate into the fabric for some time as recommended. Remember to ensure complete mold removal.

  • 30 minutes for vinegar and baking soda solutions.
  • 15 minutes for bleach.
  • Refer to label instructions if using a commercial mold cleaner.

7. Rinse thoroughly

After adequate dwelling time has passed, rinse off all traces of the cleaning solution using clean water from a hose or another source such as buckets filled with fresh water nearby if you’re outdoors camping.

Be cautious; not thoroughly rinsing off soap and cleaning chemicals can damage the fabric in the long term.

8. Dry completely

Ensure the tent is thoroughly dried before storage. Dampness can lead to mold regrowth and odor issues later on. Hang the tent in a well-ventilated area, blot any excess moisture with a clean cloth, and use fans if available.

Additional Steps for Tent Maintenance

  • Waterproofing: Reapply a waterproofing treatment after cleaning, if necessary, to maintain the tent’s functionality.
  • Sun Exposure: Consider drying the tent in the sun, which can help to get remaining mold off a tent. However, avoid prolonged direct sunlight exposure to prevent fabric damage.
  • Regular Inspection: Periodically inspect the tent for any signs of mold regrowth to catch it early.
  • Safe Storage: Store the tent in a dry, well-ventilated space to prevent future mold growth.
  • Protective Gear: Always wear gloves, a mask, and eye protection when dealing with mold to avoid health risks.


a) Always refer to the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions or recommendations. Overlooking these guidelines can lead to unnecessary damage to the tent.

b) If your tent is machine washable, balance machine washing with hand washing to extend the fabric’s life.

Read also: How to clean a fabric hammock

Mold prevention tips

A. Inspect the tent for mold before each use

Inspecting the tent for mold before each use is an important step in preventing mold growth.

By regularly inspecting, you can identify any signs of mold early on and take immediate action to treat it. Early detection makes treatment easier and more effective.

B. Store your tent in a dry, cool place

Proper storage of your tent is crucial in preventing mold growth.

Avoid storing your tent in damp areas such as basements or garages, as these places are prone to moisture buildup. Instead, opt for storing it in a dry and cool location like a closet or shed.

This will minimize the chances of moisture accumulating inside the tent, reducing the risk of mold formation.

C. Air out your tent regularly

Airing out your tent after each use is another essential preventive measure against mold growth. If you frequently use your tent, make sure to give it some time to fully dry after every outing.

Even if there’s no visible moisture present, allowing fresh air circulation within the tent helps remove any residual humidity that might promote mold development.

D. Use a tent deodorizer

Using a tent deodorizer can significantly aid in absorbing excess moisture and preventing mold growth.

These products are designed to capture and neutralize odors while also minimizing moisture retention within the fabric of your tent.

E. Apply a tent waterproofing treatment

Applying a waterproofing treatment on your tent surfaces adds an extra layer of protection against water infiltration, thereby reducing the likelihood of mold formation. 

Waterproofing products create a barrier that prevents water from seeping into the material while still allowing breathability for proper ventilation.

You may also like: How to Clean a Tent Carpet?


is it safe to sleep in a moldy tent?

Camping in a tent with mold can be dangerous as it can cause health problems, especially for those with allergies or asthma. Mold can also irritate the skin and eyes.

How often should I clean my tent?

It’s recommended to give your tent a gentle cleaning once per season and avoid washing it in a washing machine.

How long does it take for a wet tent to go Mouldy?

It can take as little as 24 hours for a wet tent to go moldy, especially in warm and humid conditions.

how to clean a tent with mold: Final Thought

Cleaning a tent with mold requires thorough and timely action. By using a mixture of mild soap and water, scrubbing the affected area gently, and allowing it to dry completely before storing, you can effectively remove mold from your tent. 

Remember to regularly inspect your tent for any signs of mold growth to prevent further damage. Don’t let mold ruin your outdoor adventures – take care of your tent today!

The information provided in this guide on how to clean a tent with mold is based on personal experience and general knowledge. While we strive to offer accurate and helpful advice, its essential to note that individual circumstances may vary. We strongly recommend consulting with a professional or referring to the manufacturer’s guidelines for your specific tent type.

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