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How to remove musty smells from tent trailers

Updated February 21, 2017

When you go camping you always run the risk of getting wet. Sometimes you may find that you have to pack up your tent trailer while it is raining. If you do not get home and open it back up again immediately, you will probably develop a musty smell in the canvas. Before going camping again, you will want to get rid of this smell, especially if someone in your family has mould allergies.

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  1. Set up your tent trailer. Open all the windows and doors, allowing it to dry out completely. Let it air out for about a week and sometimes that will be enough to get rid of the musty smell.

  2. Diffuse some cinnamon oil. This is a strong and safe disinfectant that will help eliminate the musty odours. Place a small bottle of cinnamon oil on the table and use diffusing reeds to send fragrance throughout the trailer. Make sure the tent trailer is completely closed up to get the best benefits from the cinnamon oil.

  3. Fill a bucket with hot water and some colour-safe bleach. Scrub the fabric surfaces on the outside of your tent trailer to clean away any mould or mildew that may be causing your musty smell. Clean the canvas on a sunny, breezy day to make sure the fabric will dry as quickly as possible.

  4. Prevent future problems by applying a tent trailer waterproofing solution, sold at camper retailers, to keep the fabric from absorbing moisture and that musty smell.

  5. Remove any mould or mildew from the non-fabric portions of the tent trailer using a mixture of one part vinegar and three parts water. Scrub these surfaces and dry well with a towel.

  6. Tip

    When cleaning your tent trailer, add a little bit of a scented fabric soap to help eliminate the musty smell, but also give it a fresh, clean smell. Use as little water as possible to expedite the drying process.


    Do not use a vinegar solution on the fabric of the tent trailer. The vinegar can cause the fabric to break down.

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Things You'll Need

  • Cinnamon oil
  • Colour-safe bleach
  • Bucket
  • Long-handle scrub brush
  • Waterproofing solution
  • Vinegar

About the Author

Ruth O'Neil
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