Last year, we did an epic overland trip to Namibia, but sadly we brought something back that we never expected. Our last camping stop over was at the Augrabies National Park and we left fairly early in the morning, as we had to get to Kimberley by the afternoon, so the Howling Moon Strata 2 dome tent was packed away whilst it was still damp. Needless to say, we noticed a little spot of mildew on the inside of the tent during our camping weekend at Bass Lake Lodge, but we put off cleaning the tent till this past weekend. We realized too late that we should have attended to the problem earlier but sadly we didn’t and by now the mildew has taken over almost the full side panel of the tent.
After scouring the internet and reading up on the 4×4 forums, it seemed like white vinegar was the simplest solution to getting rid of the mildew. I emptied my bottle of white vinegar into a spraying bottle and I sprayed all the mildew infected areas I could see. I left it on there for approximately 30 minutes, and then I cleaned it off with warm water and a soft cloth (no soap). I was quite happy with the results, even though there were a few stains that I couldn’t get out of the canvas.
I bought a 1 litre tin of Nuproof from Outdoor Warehouse (pricey at R220-00 for the tin, but still cheaper than replacing the whole tent) and I painted the whole area that I cleaned with the vinegar. The waterproof layer on your tent is very delicate, and the slightest soap or scrubbing will remove it from the canvas surface, so you have to do touch-ups to the areas that you cleaned. This is why any camper will tell you to never clean your tent with soap or a pressure cleaner. Clean warm water and a soft cloth is your safest bet.
The Nuproof was quite easy to apply. It’s got a watery texture to it so you don’t use a lot of the product whilst painting, and there were hardly any smell from it either. After I painted the whole area, I left to dry out completely before we packed the tent away. The product also contains an anti-fungal ingredient so I am quite hopeful that we’ve seen the end of the mildew in the tent. I’ll update this post after our next camping weekend, to let you know if any mildew has started growing again, but I’m sure we’ve seen the last of it.
Let me know if you have any other trusted methods of removing mildew from your canvas products…