Tuesday, March 2, 2010

NEMO Classroom Lesson #78: Preventing Tent Mildew

By and far, the most common problem we see from people using tents is mildew on the tent after use. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to immediately dry out any moisture that may have accumulated on (or inside) the tent. Even if it's not raining or snowing out, moisture can come from condensation (especially on cold nights), and leaving your tent balled up in its stuff sack is a sure way to ruin it. If you're still out on the trail, shake off any excess moisture on the fly or tent, and leave it out to dry before you pack it up. As soon as you are home, lay out your tent components to completely dry out.

If mildew has already set in, and you're reading this post to frantically try to save your tent, don't procrastinate any further! The good news is that there are a number of ways to clean the tent. The bad news is that depending on how funky things are, the damage might have already been done.

Nicole, our friendly customer service representative, recommends the following recipe to clean mildew:
1. Mix 1/2 cup Lysol in 1 gallon of hot water
2. Wash mildew areas of the tent with sponge
3. Let dry

If that doesn't seem to do the job, then try this recipe:
1. Mix 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of lemon juice, and 1 gallon of hot water
2. Wash moldy/mildewy areas of the tent with a sponge
3. Let dry

For particularly odorous mildew issues, some folks in the industry swear by McNett's Mirazyme cleaner. However, if your seam tape seems to be peeling off, it might be a no-save type situation unless your idea of fun is to apply seam grip across every inch of seam in your tent.


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