Psyclone Tents US

Mold on your bell tent – how to prevent it or get rid of it

backyard camping

We receive many questions about mold. Most are about how to prevent it (we love proactive people) or how to get rid of it! We decided to create a blog with all our mold information in one place as a resource for our customers. Let’s start off with the basics.

What is mold?

Mold is a living organism known as fungi. It is not something that you want growing in your house or on your household items as it can be a health risk. Most healthy people are not affected by mold. But, those with allergies can get nasal and sinus congestion. They can also get hay fever. They can get sore throats, coughs, headaches, eye irritations, rashes, and other pains.

It’s very likely that you’ve seen mould before – either on a slice of bread or in your bathroom. Mold is easy to get rid of. You can throw out your moldy bread. And, use chemicals to remove mold in your bathroom. Yet when it comes to canvas tents? It can be more tricky to get rid of!

As canvas is a natural material, it means that mold can grow on it if it’s not looked after . Mold can rot your canvas. It’s also linked to lung infections, allergies, and worse asthma. Removing mold is very important. It’s key to avoid health problems and the cost of a new bell tent.

How does it occur and how can you prevent it?

Even though we treat all our tents to be ‘mold resistant’, we cannot make canvas ‘mold proof’. So, you do need to look after your tent.

Mold occurs on tents from two scenarios.

The first one is packing the tent up wet and storing it away for long periods of time without drying it. If you must pack it up wet (we know packing up a campsite can be hard!) pull it out when you get home and dry it before storing it away.

Mold can also grow in wet and humid environments. Sometimes it is unavoidable. But, you should take care to give yourself the best chance against the mold. Move the tent to get sun or to dry it out. Keep the windows open during the day to increase airflow. These steps can both help prevent mold.

I have mold, now what?

Mold can grow very quickly, so it is essential to deal with it as soon as you notice it.

Our first point of action for people who already have mold is to follow the ‘vinegar method’.

Vinegar method

Materials required

Instructions

  1. Set up your bell tent or hang it by the attached loop at the top, preferably in the sun. Open the window flaps and door for maximum ventilation. Leave the bell tent out to completely dry the canvas. This may take hours or days.

  2. When the tent is completely dry, brush the mould spores off the canvas with a stiff bristle brush.

  3. Vacuum the canvas to remove any remaining spores.

  4. Kill the mold with a mixture of one-part white vinegar to ten-parts water.

  5. Apply the above solution with a soft rag, soft broom or brush.

  6. Allow the canvas to dry completely before packing up.

 

We have found this is the best and least harmful way to get rid of mold! If this doesn’t work you can also try a mix of rubbing alcohol and water (equal parts) and rub the canvas with that mixture. Just be sure not to use too much alcohol so it doesn’t damage the canvas. This method will kill the mold and stop it from spreading, but it won’t always get rid of the stains.

We’ve also heard that lemon, tea tree oil or bi-carb soda can work the same as the vinegar solution! So we recommend trying all these out (with a bit of elbow grease!) before you try any harsher methods. After trying these methods, such as the vinegar method, reproof your tent. This will ensure your tent is still waterproof. We recommend Stimex liquid or spray – depending on how large the area of mold is.

 

If none of that works?

Well, some people let the mold on their tent get so bad that vinegar or other ‘natural’ cleaners won’t be enough. They need heavy chemicals to save the tent. We are usually reluctant to suggest this alternative. It can cause bigger problems later. But, it can be the only option for some mold!

Please only use chemicals as a last resort. Use them only if everything else fails. You need to be careful using them. Using them full-strength and heavy-handed can damage the canvas. So, you need to use them delicately and with care.

We recommend a product: Concrobium Mold Stain Eraser, You can get it at most hardware stores. Using heavier chemicals will remove the mold and stains. But, they will damage the canvas’s waterproofing. So, you will need to reproof it later. Please follow the instructions that come with your product. But, if you have any questions, ask us before you start

Reproofing the canvas

We recommend Stimex to reproof your tent. Please wait till your canvas is dry before you use this! If it is a small area you need to reproof, use the spray. But, if it is the whole tent, use the liquid. Other reproof products are available. But, we recommend Stimex. Many of our team and customers have tried and tested it.

We hope we’ve given you a few ways to prevent mould on your tent. Or, to remove it if you have been unlucky. By taking care of your tent you will be able to enjoy it for years to come – so please be careful when treating your mold!

If you still have questions about any of this, please feel free to contact us! We’re always here to help.

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