Can you sleep in a moldy tent?

Can you sleep in a moldy tent?


A few years back my husband and I went camping, we were in a bit of a rush and packed everything into the car last minute. It wasn’t until we went to set up the tent that we realized it had mold on it. The mold was quite bad and home was a little too far. The question your probably asking is can you sleep in a moldy tent?

Yes, you can sleep in a moldy tent, it’s not great and you should probably clean as much of the mold off as possible. While mold spore is not good to breathe if you clean as much off as you can and you have no other option then yes a night or two shouldn’t kill you.

There are a few methods to remove mold even while at your campsite. so keep reading for some tips and home remedies to remove mold from your tent.

What is Mold

The short & simple version is, mold is a fungus & is made up of lots of bacteria. Mold outside plays an important role in breaking down leaves and other plant life, so it’s not all bad.

You will find Mold loves moisture and anywhere wet has a chance for molds to grow. Mold can spread via tiny spores that travel through the air, these spores are what is bad to breathe in. (source) (Wiki)

How Does Mold Affect My Health

Being Exposed to damp and moldy environments can cause a variety of health issues or none at all. Mold can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation. (source)

Some people that are sensitive to mold may suffer from shortness of breath. In people with asthma who are allergic to mold, breathing in spores can also cause asthma attacks (source).

There are studies showing that exposure to mold as a child or early age has a potential link to the cause of asthma. Especially in children that are genetically susceptible to asthma development. (source)

Generally speaking in small doses mold is ok, Mold is everywhere in the world and has been around for centuries on this planet.

How To Remove Mold From Your Tent

cleaning your tent
Image by klimkin from Pixabay

So now we understand a little bit more about mold lets look at ways to remove it from your tent or as much of it as you can. If you were like me and my husband and were already at a campsite miles from home, then you should follow these 5 steps to remove mold from your tent while at your campsite.

There are only two really good ways that I can say 100% works and won’t damage your tent. For the most part, it’s pretty simple and painless.

  1. set your tent up
  2. Prepare some warm water
  3. Get a rag or sponge
  4. gently but firmly scrub the tent with the warm water.
  5. If possible leave in the direct sun to dry.

These 5 steps will ensure you remove the mold without damaging your tent and reducing its lifespan.

There are other commercial products and home remedies online. I have not tested these home remedies or commercial products. I couldn’t say with 100% conviction that they work for one and second they won’t ruin or shorten the life span of your tent.

Home Remedies From Removing Mold From a Tent

Method 1: I can confirm that this will kill and clean mold from your tent but I can’t guarantee that it will be good for the longevity of your tent. while all we are using are natural products you should use this method at your own risk and the risk of your tent.

mix up a solution of 1 cup of lemon juice and 1 cup of salt to 3.5 liters of hot water the briskly brush the mold affected area with a cloth or toothbrush.

Cleaning the entire tent in this method will help remove the mold. rise the tent off with water and if possible leave to dry in direct sunlight.

Method 2: Mix up 1 cup distilled white vinegar to 3.5 liters of water, place in a spray bottle and spray over affected areas of your tent. Brush mold area with a cloth or brush. Leave in the sun to dry.

How do I prevent mold?

There are a few handy tips to prevent mold growing and these will depend on what type of camper you are. For a weekend camper or a casual camper, making sure your tent is dry and clean when it is packed away will be a great start to preventing mold.

If you can’t get your tent completely dry you will need to air it out when you get home before packing it away completely.

If you are living in a tent long term for months or years at a time, then there are a few things you can do to reduce tent mold.

Regularly check for mold growth on your tent, clean off bird poop or dead bugs. Cut back any trees or grass growing too close to your tent.

Keeping your tent well ventilated will also help reduce mold. Try pitch your tent in direct sunlight from time to time and weather spray it with a waterproof sealer a few times a year.

These are all great preventative measures to follow that will aid in preventing tent mold.

Is Mold Bad For My Tent?

In a mild case, mold looks bad and can cause stains on some tent fabrics these stains can be hard to remove completely.

If mold goes unchecked, it can cause a complete loss of tent, It will start off slowing decaying the fabric causing holes and rot and eventually cause your tent to literally fall apart.

Once mold embeds into the fibers of your tent fabric it is near impossible to completely remove, while if care is taken it can be stopped from spreading.


So now you know that if you ever get to a campsite and notice mold on the tent you can still sleep in it, but taking some time to wash the bulk of it off is a wise idea. you have a better understanding of mold and the health risks.

You also now know how to remove mold and even better prevent it from even starting.

As always if you found this post helpful please leave a rating, if you want to add something more please leave a comment below using the comment section.

If you have any other question related to camping and tents please use our tent camping Questions and answers forum.

Enjoy your next camping trip from everyone here at tent report.

An After Thought!

Here’s an interesting article from The Dehumidifier Experts about removing mold from your home. Not all of us have the luxury of living in a tent 365. With more of us opting to chill at home. There’s no better time to take care of those little issues with the house we have been putting off. – Read MoreThe Complete Guide on How to Get Rid of Mold in House

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Hi, my name is Becca I'm a mum and wife and I love camping with my family. I started this blog to share great information about tents and camping.

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