Monday, April 15, 2024

How To Clean Canvas Tent Mold

What Do Mold & Mildew Look Like

How to Remove Mold Stains on Canvas Tents | CanvasCamp

Before you try any of the methods Ive described above, it is crucial to determine whether or not the suspected spots are indeed mold or mildew.

If it is one of the two, you can take any action from above it would work the same on both types. Mildew is, in fact, a type of mold and they both thrive in moist areas.

If youve noticed some patchy, white spots on your canvas, perhaps in a powdery shape it is most likely mildew .

In general, mildew gets darker over time and in severe cases which hadnt been taken care of it might turn black.

Mold is a little more difficult to characterize since it comes in different shapes and colors green, blue, yellow, brown, gray, black or even white like mildew.

If your tent had damp and stored this way they arent many options it is either mold or mildew.

Another clue which supports the presence of a fungus is when your tent begins to stink. If that is the case, please read my article which describes why do tents smell and how to solve the issue Ive spent hours pouring through the data to provide you with the most accurate solutions.

Concrobium Mold Stain Eraser

Frankly, this product is magic. By penetrating to the mold roots, Concrobium can eliminate it without using bleach, ammonia or any other organic compounds.

When it gets dry, the powder begins to work by compromising the fungi foundations and creating an invisible antimicrobial barrier to prevent future colonies from taking place.


How To Clean Mould Off Canvas

Canvas tents help us all create our little piece of paradise while camping. However, mould and mildew can easily ruin your next planned camping trip.

Aussie Cotton Canvas is some of the most durable, long-lasting canvas known to man. We use it as the main shelter system in our flagship Trayon Camper, other people use it for their camper trailers, tents and swags.

Its a great way to maximize your shelter while camping, and having quality shelter is the key to enjoying your camping experience.

In this article well briefly address the benefits of cotton canvas versus synthetic material and why the maintenance should not deter you from investing in a tent or camper that has natural, Aussie cotton canvas.

With a little ingenuity and know-how, you can properly treat, clean and maintain your canvas tent and prevent mould issues from arising, helping the canvas last for 10+ years.

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Isnt The Sun Supposed To Keep Mold At Bay

Plants thrive in environments with plenty of moisture and sunshine, whereas mold thrives in environments with lots of moisture and dead plants.

Over thousands of years, several mold species have evolved systems to shield themselves from the suns damaging rays.

UV radiation also deteriorates the tents treatment, exposing the tent to the outdoors and making it more prone to mold penetration. Dont put your faith in the sun. Maintain a clean tent and retract it when needed.

Is Mold In A Tent Dangerous

The BEST way to clean your pop

Although the mold in your tent isnt explicitly harmful, you do not want to inhale the free-floating spores it produces.

Mold exposure can trigger allergies and worsen conditions such as asthma. To avoid these reactions, give your tent a thorough cleaning if you notice any mold and try to prevent future mold growth.

Tent Hacker is reader-supported. Buying through links on our site may earn us an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Supplies Needed For Cleaning Your Canvas Tent

DO NOT use bleach, vinegar, detergent or soaps on your canvas. Many of these are caustic and damage the canvas and will erode the anti-fungal treatment the canvas came with.

So what can you use to clean the canvas? Well, it depends on what stage the mould growth is at. If the mould is at an early stage and is only on the surface of the canvas you should be able to wipe it with warm water and a brush.

If the mould is more established in the fibres of the canvas, there may already be damage to the layers of the canvas and permanent staining, but it is still important to kill the mould so it doesnt cause further damage. In this situation, some manufactures of Canvas recommend using a product with Sodium Hypochlorite as the active ingredient, like White King®. Ensure you strictly follow the instructions on the back of the spray bottle as sodium hypochlorite can have some side effects if misused.You can also try using a less toxic natural clove spray which also kills mould like OurEco.The clove spray can also be used for general prevention.

How To Remove Mold From A Canvas Tent

You can remove mold from a tent by using specialized mold cleaners. For canvas, these need to be cotton-friendly cleaners as the canvas is mostly made from cotton.

Most canvas tents have UV and waterproofing coating. However, this coating wears off or it might be insufficient when theres high humidity, dirt, and grime to serve as organic matter for mold formation.

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What To Do About Mould On Your Canvas Painting

Mould can cause terrible damage to your canvas painting or wall art. To prevent your creative works getting mould in the first place, make sure you store or hang them in a moist free environment. If you find you do have mould, please be careful in finding a suitable removal method. Ensure your delicate artwork is safe by using trustworthy techniques and products.

A Lesson On Moldy Tents And Deep Cleaning

Treating a Canvas Tent with Mould & Mildew | Glawning: the glam awning

Youve seen it on that last slice of bread, creeping up the bathroom wall, or dusting the outside of a fabulously dry-cured sausage accompanied by an exquisite French cheese. Good or bad, mold is an intractable part of the world we occupy. It can also destroy your stuff.

First and foremost: Canvas tents have been used all over the world in a variety of environments for 100+ years, remain the undisputed champion in tentage material, and are built to last. You just have to take care of them. Similar to other fine pieces of equipment, tools, and clothing, proper maintenance is required. If you are looking for a long term shelter to leave up in the rainforest without much maintenance, a non-breathable petroleum based product like hard plastic may be a better solution, although comfort and humidity may limit the amount of time you want to spend inside it.

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The Four Best Methods To Clean A Tent With Mold

When your tent has severe mold problems, the first thing you need to know is that you must act fast enough else, your tent gets doomed. Mold spread quicker than you might think, especially when the environment is in its favor.

Now, you might be tempted to oust mold off your tent right away by spraying it with bleach. After all, its got the power to kill mold fast.

However, if you need to clean mold from your tent, Id suggest not choosing that path. The reason is that while bleach is excellent for hard, inert surfaces like your kitchen countertop, it can significantly damage and discolor the fabric of your tent.

Instead, you should try one of these four ways to clean your moldy tent.

Removing The Musty Smell From Canvas Tents

Removing the mildew and preventing it from happening again is great and all, but theres something you should always as a finishing touch. The next step and often overlooked step is to remove the nasty old mold smell from your canvas tent. The smell mold can leave behind even after youve cleaned the canvas tent will still be there.

The first step in removing this smell from your canvas tent is to use a solution of white vinegar and warm water and spray it on the tent. You should then allow the tent to dry and air out for a bit which will help in removing the smell.

Baking soda is going to be your new best friend in this step, as youll be using a fair amount of it. You will sprinkle baking soda on the inside and outside of the canvas tent. The baking soda will help deodorize the tent and helps remove the old moldy smell.

Now comes the hard part, that is trying to get all the baking soda out of your tent. Removing the baking soda isnt too difficult on the outside of the tent, but the inside can be a little tricky. If the floor of your tent detaches this will help a great deal. Some people do opt to use a vacuum cleaner and go over it lightly, which isnt a bad idea.

Now youve got all the baking soda out and its dry youre onto the next step. This is to rinse your canvas tent down with cold water, which Id recommend using a watering can instead of a hose or high-pressure washer.

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How To Avoid The Issue In The Future

When you are done camping and ready to pack things up make sure that your gear is entirely dry. It doesnt matter if its your tent, backpack, sleeping bag or shoes if you store it wet for an extended period mold would grow upon it.

When you put it at your house, make sure not to pick a moisture place such as your basement or garage. Stick to dry spots instead, perhaps use your room closet or an attic.

Preventing Your Tent From Getting Moldy

How To Remove Mold From A Canvas Tent

Keeping your tent clean throughout the year is just as important as keeping your tent warm during cold winter camps. Below are a few tips to maintain a clean tent and prevent any mold or mildew from infecting it.

  • Keep good ventilation in your tent while camping to prevent moisture from building up while youre out in the wild
  • Air dry your tent in a shady spot as soon as you return from a camping or backpacking trip
  • Never store your tent when its wet or damp, since this is the biggest reason for mold, mildew, and unwanted odors
  • Store your tent in a dry, controlled environmentthis could mean moving your tent storage from your garage to your closet
  • Clean your tent regularly

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Spot Clean The Dirty Area

If you have areas of your tent fabric that remain dirty after shaking, maybe they have some caked-on mud, use a sponge and a drop or two of mild soap to scrub the area.

Lightly scrub your fabric walls in circular motions using just a small amount of dish soap before rinsing off

Do not use any kind of household cleaners such as bleach, spot remover, or laundry pre-soaking products as they risk leaving harmful residue on the canvas exterior of the tent which may damage its structure over time.

This is particularly important when considering the tent floor. Harsh cleaning products and over scrubbing can damage the polyurethane waterproof coatings meaning that your tent floor may let dampness it.

There are a number of homemade remedies that people recommend. Two of the most popular are distilled white vinegar or a cup of lemon juice in a spray bottle. While Im a big fan of home cleaning hacks, when it comes to my tent, Id rather not risk straying from the recommended products to avoid damaging the tent or invalidating a warranty.

Although, a lemon fresh scent on a camping trip may be pleasant.

Things Youll Need For Cleaning Your Tent

  • Rubber gloves: Be sure to have these available to keep your skin safe from potential rashes from the mold as well as any harmful ingredients in the soap or solutions youre using to clean your tent.
  • Dish soap: This will be useful for spot cleaning dirty areas as well as moldy spots on your tent.
  • Soft brush: This will help remove the mold from the material.
  • Sponge: As a crucial tool for cleaning your tent, your sponge will have you remove the leftover bits of mold after using a brush. Its also useful for the general cleaning of your tent.
  • Bathtub or large bucket: Youll need something to hold the clean water before you start cleaning your tent.
  • MiraZyme: You can purchase MiraZyme Odor Eliminator online, and it will help easily remove mold and treat your tent for any strong odors from mildew or anything else.
  • DIY solution: You can build your own do-it-yourself solution to clean the mold or mildew from your tent. You can fill a bucket with one cup of lemon juice and one cup of salt to every one gallon of hot water.
  • Rubbing alcohol: You may need this to help scrub off dirty spots and kill anything growing on your tent. It can also help remove tree sap on your tent.

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Set The Tent Up Before You Clean It

Cleaning a moldy tent is definitely not as straightforward as throwing it in the washing machine! Washing machines can damage the tent fabric and seams, so it is best to clean a mold-ridden tent by hand.

It is much easier to clean the fabric if the tent is already set up. The fabric should be stretched taught, so stake the tent out properly before you begin the cleaning process.

The first step to cleaning a moldy tent is to deactivate the mold spores. Do this by setting up your tent in a hot, sunny spot. Leaving it in the sun for the day will kill the mold, but it will not get rid of the stains or the odor.

Wash With Warm Water And Soap

Cleaning Mold From Canvas

The easiest way to remove the mold while camping is with soap and water. Also, its invaluable during emergencies when you have no other means of treatment to use.

Its unlikely that youll kill every hidden mold spore with this method, but it will wash away any existing mold. Instead of soap, you could use a tent cleaning solution if you have one on hand.

Make sure youre using a mild soap before adding it to warm water. Try to avoid chemical-packed soaps since you cant be sure what chemicals might damage your tent.

Its best to use a soft sponge for this task, but any rag will do. Simply start scrubbing away the mold stains with the rag or sponge dipped in water, then rinse the soap out and let the tent air dry.

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How To Prevent Mold On Your Tent

When it comes to dealing with mold, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Cleaning and drying your tent after returning from a camping trip takes a bit of effort, but its well worth it to avoid mold and mildew growing on your tent.

There are multiple ways to prevent mold from growing on your tent, and the one you choose will depend on the type of camper you are.

For a weekend or casual campers, making sure your tent is clean and dry before packing is a great way to prevent mold. Once you get home, do these things:

  • Shake or sweep as much dirt and debris as possible out of your tent.
  • If the tent is wet, air-dry it outside away from direct sunlight to dry completely before packing it away.
  • Always store your tent in a cool, dry area, away from sunlight. Also, make sure to store it in a large breathable bag.

If you live in your tent long-term, such as months at a time, there a few things you can do to prevent mold growth in your tent.

  • Regularly check for mold growth on your tent.
  • Clean off dead bugs and bird poop.
  • Cut back any grass or trees growing too close to your tent.
  • Keep your tent well ventilated.
  • During rainy seasons, spray the tent with a waterproofing spray.

Leave It Under The Sun

I consider using sunlight as a conservative solution which is based on the fact that mold relies on water and damp to grow. If the fungi have no water to consume it would eventually quit growing and start to decay.

Still, this solution wouldnt work if your fabric is widely infected it is better to do it when the colonies are relatively small and just recently grown.


  • Spread your tent entirely under a sunny spot
  • Leave it this way for the rest of the day and fold it back in on sunset
  • Spread the sheet again in the following day this time expose the other side of the fabric
  • Wipe the areas with a sponge soaked with hot water

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Cleaning An Extremely Dirty And Moldy Tent

Mold stains do develop, especially in warm, flora and fauna-rich settings, despite the fact that mold and mildew avoidance is always the best approach for preserving your tent.

Theres still a chance if the environment has overtaken your tent care plan and youve got a filthy tent on your own.

Keep the following points in mind:

  • Prepare yourself for the fact that mold stains are exceptionally hard to completely eliminate. The tent would never look spanking new anymore, but a proper cleaning may extend the life of your tent with a little hard effort and persistence.
  • Deep cleaning is time-consuming and difficult. Based on how filthy the tent is as well as how much soap you have to wash out, you may need to repeat some of these procedures.
  • Grab some assistance! Tents are heavy, and damp tents are much more so.

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