removing mold from a tent

11:31 a.m. on November 23, 2009 (EST)
77 reviewer rep
123 forum posts

after every campoout, we send all of our tents home with the scouts, to clean and dry. after our last campout, one of the scouts didn't do his job and dry out the tent. now it is covered with quite a bit of mold.

the mold seems to be in the fibers. i can't wipe off the inside or outside surface of the tent. tried bleach water with a paper-towel, and then bleach water with a scouring pad. niether worked.

so any suggestions for getting the mold out of a nylon tent?


9:35 p.m. on November 23, 2009 (EST)
1,663 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts

You are correct, the mildew grows between the fabric and the coating eventually causing delamination, not to mention that terrible odor. It is my understanding that you can only kill it not remove it.

Here is an article from Sierra Designs that has some good info.

Coleman fuel works good but leaves the tent in ashes, better try this way:

Happy hiking to you and the Scouts, tell them I said Hi, and to stick with it!

10:23 a.m. on November 24, 2009 (EST)
244 reviewer rep
5,245 forum posts

If you get plenty of direct sunshine on the material this will kill the mildew, then wipe it down with vinegar. The vinegar will help stop the mildew from forming again.

I have done this forever and it always works.

8:38 a.m. on February 14, 2010 (EST)
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48 forum posts

I recommend Fire. Fire has been demonstrated to remove mold completely from all materials irrespective their fire-retardant properties, leaving the infected object pristine and perfect in the owner's memory.

The technique employed to accomplish this renewal is simple enough that even a Caveman can do it: douse the tent (or whatever other infected object) with flammable liquid (this in the trade we call an "accelerator"), remove yourself a safe distance upwind, toss a burning Esbit tablet onto the object (in this case the tent) and, voila!, the agonized screaming of the thus insulted mold along with immensely satisfying clouds of black smoke and leaping flames will rise up to Heaven, perfecting the hitherto corrupted wilderness domicile.

I do however recommend that you perform this ritual in strict accordance with Common Fire Safety Rules; i.e. outside, in your own backyard and a fair distance from plastic fencing.


May 25, 2018
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