gear and mildew

10:23 p.m. on February 19, 2007 (EST)
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4 forum posts

So the worst has happened. After taking about 5 years off of outdoor pursuits (Married, bought a home, had a kid, switched professions), I want back in. However, when I went to the basement to start retrieving stuff, I found that, plastic containers notwithstanding, all my stuff is mildewed from last spring's "wettest on record".

We're talking sleeping bags, tent, thermarests, goretex, fleece, backpacks, double-boots, leather tele boots, helmets, all of it.

So. I've just spent four days trying to clean one sleeping bag. Washed it. Didn't work. Soaked it for 5+ hours in lemon juice and salt (bathtub of water, 1.5 cups each of juice and salt, agitate by hand now and again; found it online somewhere), followed by washing again with detergent and oxyboost (or whatever it's called). It's in the dryer now on low heat, but it seems to have worked so far.

So the question is: is this a good idea? Does anyone know if salt and lemon juice will destroy goretex or tent fabric? Are the thermarests done for? Is there any way to salvage my double-boots with the custom insoles? How about my leather boots?

Please tell me that, after 15+ years of collecting gear, that I won't have to start over!

Thank you all for any thoughts and any hope you can provide...


7:45 a.m. on February 20, 2007 (EST)
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239 forum posts

I'd start by hanging the gear out and letting it dry - many times mildew will just brush off of surfaces (jackets, boots, helmets and the like) - your washing idea sounds great for sleeping bags - but again - after it's dry just let it hang for a week or so. Away from moisture the mildew will die and should flake off. Let it hang long enough and the odor will go away as well (for the most part - for the last bit of stink try a commercial dryer on low heat with a few dryer sheets for a couple cycles). Make sure the leather stuff is fully dry before you treat it.

I'd be careful about washing goretex and the like -

April 21, 2018
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