Whether you find mildew on your nylon backpack straps, life jacket straps, baby gear or tent straps, it's important to remove it promptly. Not only is mildew unsightly, it can spread if left untreated. Furthermore, mildew can have adverse health effects in some people. Don't toss out the item just because of some mildew spots. Removing mildew from nylon straps is possible with the right products and cleaning methods.
Take the item outdoors and brush the straps briskly with a stiff scrub brush to remove any loose mildew. It's best to do this outside so you don't release mould spores inside your home.
Fill a bucket with warm water. Add a few drops of heavy-duty washing powder.
Scrub the straps with a scrub brush and the soapy water until no more mildew is coming off. Rinse the straps with clean water and let them air-dry completely. If possible, lay the item in the sun to dry; the sunshine is a natural mould inhibitor.
Mix a bleach solution if the mildew stains remain. For coloured straps, mix 1 to 2 tbsp of powdered all-fabric bleach containing sodium perborate with 1/2 litre (1 pint) of hot water. If the straps are white, mix 2 tbsp of chlorine bleach with 1 litre (2 pints) of warm water. Use a sponge to soak the mildew spots with the solution.
Let the all-fabric bleach stay on the straps for 30 minutes, or allow the chlorine bleach solution to work for 15 minutes. Rinse the straps well, then let them air-dry completely.
Wear rubber gloves and work in a well-ventilated area when using chlorine bleach. Never mix bleach with other cleaning products. The results can be toxic.