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You're hauling an old tent from storage to prepare for the next camping trip when you suddenly notice a stinky, mildew smell. Before you could pack this outdoor gear and store it in your vehicle, you need to get rid of that smell first. After all, you wouldn't want to spend a night sleeping inside a tent that smells like mold. Here's what you can do to get rid of stubborn mold and mildew.

Tools needed:

  • Laundry soap
  • Bleach
  • Spray bottle
  • Hose
  • Soft scrubbing brush

Step 1: Sweep or shake off dust from the fabric.

If this outdoor gear has been in storage for many years or months, better give it a good wash. Lay it flat on your garage or patio and sweep off dirt particles from the fabric. You can also shake off or vacuum the dust that has accumulated on the fabric's surface.

Step 2: Wash it thoroughly.

There are different techniques on how to wash this camping gear. One is to lay it flat on your garage or patio, hose it down, wash it with laundry soap, and rinse off the lather. However, since you're dealing with mold and mildew, it's best to use bleach or a special fabric cleaner instead of using plain laundry soap. Scrub every nook and cranny with a soft brush to get rid of dirt buildup. Let the bleach do its job for a few minutes before rinsing it off with a hose, making sure that no bleach residue remains. Another technique is to combine bleach and water in a big pail. Then soak the tent and all its other parts into the bleach solution until the mold and mildew stains are removed. Then rinse it off by hosing it down until it's free from bleach residue. Turn it inside out and repeat the previous steps.

Step 3: Let it dry.

Once you've cleaned and removed the mold and mildew, let it air dry. This might take a few hours so better wash it days before the actual trip. Don't forget to air dry installation equipment such as poles and cables.

Step 4: Apply some seam sealer.

If your tent is several years old, seam sealing it is always a good idea. Simply grab a tube of sealer and apply it on areas that are sewn into the fabric. These include the webbing, zipper tracks, Velcro straps, and guy-outs. Make sure you follow the manufacturer's instruction when applying the sealer. Some products need a longer curing time, so make sure you read the product label and instructions. By applying a sealer, you're making your camping gear more weatherproof and increasing its lifespan. You're also lessening the chances of moisture seeping into the seams, preventing the growth of mold and mildew.

Step 5: Store it properly.

To prevent further mold and mildew growth, make sure that the tent is completely clean and dry before storing it. If it's rainy or winter, let it dry inside a garage or basement.

If you follow these steps, you'll be able to remove mold and mildew and prevent them from ruining your next camping trip.