How to Clean a Camping Tent That Smells

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When you open your long-stored tent at the campground, you may smell a foul odor. There is nothing worse than spending your camping trip in a smelly tent. If you are new to camping, then you are more likely to get a stinky tent.

You can try simply cleaning your tent while you are camping. Ventilation can make your tent’s odor released as soon as possible. But if the stench remains with you throughout your trip, then your tent may have become moldy. Moreover, this will be harmful to your body.

Fortunately, you don’t have to throw away your tent right away, you can try some of the methods mentioned in this article to remove the odor from your tent.

Prevent odor

Clean your tent

The easiest way to get rid of tent odor is to clean your tent after every camping trip. Also, it’s important to make sure your tent is dry before you store it. Damp tents tend to harbor mold and mildew. Even if you clean and dry your tent well, if you store it in a damp environment, your tent may still become smelly.

Invest in a footprint

Using a footprint not only protects your tent but also keeps your tent dry to avoid mold growth.

Keeping your tent dry

Rain, morning dew, and humid air can all cause your tent to absorb water, so you need to dry your tent and wait for it to dry completely before packing.

No eating in the tent

Eating in your tent can easily leave crumbs of food in your tent. These crumbs or dumped juice will make your tent smell bad and breed mold easily if not cleaned up.

Do not wear shoes into the tent

Shoes come with the need to get dirty. Wearing shoes into the tent will leave dirt in the tent. And this dirt is not easy to clean off. Especially on rainy days, your shoes will also get the tent wet. Damp dirt can damage your tent and make it smell.

Simple cleaning

If you find leaves, twigs, bird droppings, sap, etc. falling on your tent while camping, clean them off promptly. If you spill juice in your tent, wipe it down immediately. These simple cleaning tasks will not only ease your work of cleaning your tent at home, but also extend the life of your tent and prevent dirt from corroding your tent.

Clean your tent after camping

Cleaning your tent will remove odors. Remove all debris from your tent and wash your tent with a mild soap or detergent. Note that you should not use scented cleaners because the scent may attract bugs to your tent on your next camping trip. Mixing vinegar, lemon juice, and water can also create a natural cleaner that can be used to clean any stains on your tent.

Be sure to hand wash your tent. Using a soft sponge can help you remove stubborn stains. But don’t use too much force to clean your tent to avoid damaging it. Do not use a washing machine to clean your tent. Washers and dryers can damage your tent’s coating and even damage your tent.

Wash your tent with water so that the cleaning agent does not remain on the tent. You can wash it several times with water. Then you need to dry your tent in a cool place. Do not let the sunshine directly on your tent, although it will make your tent dry faster, the UV rays can damage your tent.

Remove mold and mildew from your tent

Mold can give your tent a bad smell. If you have mold on your tent, try cleaning it first with a cleaner made from a mixture of vinegar and a little lemon juice. Put it in a spray bottle and spray it onto the mold spot and wait an hour or so for the acid to dissolve the mold. Then gently wipe the moldy area with a sponge.

If this method doesn’t work, you can buy a special mold cleaner and follow the instructions to spray the mold cleaner onto the mold spot and deep clean it.

Save a tent that smells like rotten eggs and vomit

If your tent smells like rotten eggs and vomit, it’s probably because of the stench from decomposing polyethylene. You need to soak your tent in a tub full of warm water and mild detergent for a while. About an hour or more. Then gently scrub your tent with a sponge to remove the polyethylene coating. Finally, rinse your tent with water and leave it to dry.

Use a tent air freshener

You can also use air fresheners that are designed for camping tents. These air fresheners mix with water and activate the enzymes in them that eliminate bad smells. This helps eliminate odors from your tent rather than just masking them.

Store your tent

If you don’t want your cleaning efforts to be wasted, you need to know the right way to store your tent. Before storing your tent, make sure it is dry. Then put your tent in a breathable bag. Please don’t put it in a wet place like an underground garage. If you put it in an airtight container, you can put a moisture barrier in it, which helps prevent the tent from growing mold and mildew.


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