This, though, doesn’t have to be a reason not to invest in a cotton canvas tent! With basic knowledge about how to properly prevent the formation of mold and mildew, as well as how to treat the tent when it does become an issue, you can camp out with your tent worry-free.
Soon, you’ll start to realize the many other benefits canvas tents offer over synthetic ones and not have to focus on a nuisance like mold.
Understanding Mold and Mildew
The difference between mold and mildew
While both mold and mildew thrive in warmer areas with high humidity, there are subtle differences between the two.
Mildew tends to be white, gray or yellow in color, whereas mold is usually black or green. More often, mildew is found on damp surfaces like fabric or tiles and mold is the kind of fungus you see on stale food. They vary in their level of impact on the substance they form on but in either case, it’s important to treat them as soon as they become visible.
Where do they come from?
Mold and mildew are both types of fungus that grow in damp environments. Canvas wall tents are affected by these fungi because the tents are made from organic cotton materials that mold and mildew can feed on, while synthetic materials offer no place for the fungi to actually develop.
Mold and mildew can grow in any environment that is above freezing, so it isn’t uncommon and its development also usually isn’t the fault of any one person. However, there are measures that can be taken to help prevent the growth of these unwanted fungi on your canvas wall tent and there are certainly also things that can be done if, by chance, they do begin to formulate.
Preventing Mold and Mildew From Canvas Wall Tent
Investing in a Properly Treated Tent
The likelihood of mold or mildew formation can be substantially reduced by investing in a canvas wall tent that’s been treated to prevent it.
For example, all White Duck canvas tents are treated to be water, UV and mold or mildew resistant. We opt for a specific treatment that doesn’t affect the breathability or durability of the tent.
Drying Out the Tent After Each Use
One of the best things to do to prevent the growth of mold and mildew on your canvas tent is to let it dry out completely in the sun after every use and before folding or storing it.
Drying out the canvas reduces moist areas on which the fungi can potentially develop. If canvas is folded and stored before the canvas completely dries out, it can retain moisture and may lead to a nasty surprise the next time you unfold your wall tent.
At times when it isn’t ideal or there isn’t enough time to completely dry out the tent at camp, roll it up loosely instead and allow it to continue to dry at the next possible opportunity by spreading it out completely without setting it up again.
Cleaning the Canvas From Other Organic Materials
Other preventative measures that can be taken to prevent mold and mildew from growing on your canvas tent are cleaning off leaves, bird droppings, or any other organic materials that may land on or attach themselves to your canvas tent. Allowing for ample ventilation and airflow throughout your wall tent will help to keep it dry while in use as well. Check out the best wall tents on our website WhiteDuckOutdoors.com.
Cleaning Mold and Mildew From Your Wall Tent
There are several ways to remove mold and mildew on the occasion that they begin to grow on your canvas wall tent.
Removing Mild Cases of Mold and Mildew
For light cases of mold and mildew that are just beginning to grow and spread, a simple vinegar solution will suffice. Simply spray the mold and mildew directly with distilled white vinegar and let it sit. Vinegar is a natural cleaner that will work to kill off all mold and mildew spores.
Another simple way to clean your canvas tent is by gently scrubbing it with lemon, salt, and hot water. Lemon and salt are also both natural cleaners, and the combination will help you remove the mold and mildew from the canvas.
This natural combination is also preferred to soap or other detergents as they can be harsh and difficult to remove from the canvas, whereas salt and lemon simply dry without any residual smell nor soap deposits.
Using Cleaners for Tougher Jobs
Cleaners made intentionally for cleaning mold and mildew from canvas tents are also available for the toughest jobs that vinegar can’t handle on its own. The IOSSO Mold & Mildew Stain Remover not only cleans mold and mildew, but also an assortment of other organic stains including bird droppings and leaf stains.
Another option is this Boat Bling Green Sauce Enzyme-Based Mold and Mildew Stain Remover and Treatment. This cleaner is not only strong enough to break-down and fight built-up mold and mildew while also preventing it from recurring, but its plant-based, biodegradable enzyme formula is also natural and safe for the environment.
Giving Your Canvas Tent a Complete Wash
If your canvas fabric has been tainted or is especially dirty, you can quickly create a solution at home to treat it and give it a complete cleanse.
- To get started, fill a very large container with about 1 foot (30cm) of warm water.
- Add various cups of OxiClean and use your best judgment on how much to use compared to how dirty the tent is and reference the suggestions on the box.
- Stir the mixture thoroughly until the solution is dissolved completely. Warm water dissolves the solution better than cold water.
- Place the tent canvas (not the tent floor) in the container and fill it with water until the tent is fully submerged.
- Stir and agitate thoroughly so the solution is well mixed and the canvas is soaking evenly.
- Allow the tent to soak for 4–10 hours, moving it around in the mixture occasionally. It’s alright to leave it soaking overnight if you need to!
- Place your tent on a clean surface to allow it to dry and then clean just as you would a kitchen floor, by sweeping, mopping and rinsing it.
- Repeat the process of soaking several times to make sure it’s completely clean then spread the canvas out on top of your clean tent floor and pitch it.