How to get mildew off tent fabric

Mildew is a type of live organism, needing warm temperatures and moisture to thrive. Tents are sometimes taken down while still damp after rain and, when not allowed to dry fully, will develop mildew spores and smell. Left to continue spreading, mildew can wreak havoc on your tent material. Removing the mildew is simple, requiring supplies most people have at home. Getting rid of the fungus helps the material fibres stay strong and your tent to last for a long time.

Set up your tent in a sunny location. If it's wet, allow the tent to dry completely in the sun. Use a broom to sweep off mildew spores on the surface of the tent material.

Combine 4.5 litres (1 gallon) of warm water with the washing-up liquid and bleach in a bucket. Soak a sponge in the soapy solution and use it to wash the surface of your tent to remove the mildew stains and smell.

Flush the sponge with water after you wipe a section of the tent to remove stains, dirt or mildew from the sponge. Rinsing the sponge off prevents mildew from transferring back to the tent material. Dip your sponge in the soapy solution after rinsing it and continue to wash your tent.

Hose off your tent to wash off the bleach and soap solution. Soak up excess water with clean cloths or towels. Allow your tent to remain set up until the material is completely dry.

Spray your tent with a mildew-resistant spray made for tent fabric and allow the spray to dry. This helps prevent mildew from forming on your tent fabric again.


If it's raining when you have to take down your tent, set it up again once you're home and allow the material to dry.

Substitute a disinfectant cleaner for washing-up liquid to help kill mildew.

Spread a mixture of lemon juice and table salt on stubborn mildew stains to kill the mildew and get rid of the stain. Let the paste dry on your tent, then brush it off.


Always rinse off bleach solution after getting rid of mould and mildew. Bleach can weaken the fibres of your tent's material if it's left in the fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • Broom
  • Bucket
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) washing-up liquid
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) bleach
  • Sponge
  • Hose
  • Clean cloths
  • Mildew-resistant spray
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About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.