Is It Safe To Sleep In A Moldy Tent?

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Is It Safe To Sleep In A Moldy Tent? Avoid It for These Reasons

When your tent has been in storage for sometime and it happens to come into contact with moisture, it can develop mold and mildew. Now, it is always a good idea to check your gear, but sometimes, life gets in the way and you find yourself camping without checking your gear properly. By then, it could be too late because you could already be at your camping site.

And so you wonder …

Is it safe to sleep in a moldy tent? Well, if you are strong and healthy, you can sleep in the tent for one or two days. If you have asthma or other underlying illness, DO NOT spend time in a moldy tent. Try to clean out as much of the mold as you can before you sleep a night.

The idea is to clean off the mold as soon as you realize that it is there. That way you can mitigate the risks that come from inhaling mold spores. Keep reading to see why you should not spend too much time in a moldy tent.

Why sleeping in a moldy tent is dangerous

Is it bad to be around mold?

Leave alone being around mold, it is not safe to sleep in a damp bedroom. Therefore, you can guess just how unsafe it is to sleep in a moldy environment.

Before you embark on that camping trip, take your camping gear out of storage and check everything. Sure, sure! You did clean the tent before storage. However, over the few months that it has been in storage, it could have been exposed to moisture.

After all, we store our camping gear in garages and these could be having humidity issues. If you do a pre-check of your gear before you take your trip, you can do any repairs necessary. Check for mold, and if there is any, clean it out!

Sleeping in a moldy tent can give you respiratory issues

This is the first concern. If you have chest congestion issues when it turns cold, you should never sleep in a damp environment. You should also not sleep in a moldy area.

If you experience respiratory issues every now and then, or you have an underlying respiratory condition such as asthma, do not sleep in a moldy tent.

Mold releases spores into the air and if you inhale them, they could cause the inflammation of the membranes and tissues in your respiratory system.

Mold can trigger asthmatic attacks. It does this by causing flu like symptoms. In extreme cases, people have been admitted to hospital after suffering asthmatic attacks from sleeping in a moldy environment.

In this light therefore, if you ever have to sleep in a moldy tent, just make sure that you keep a distance between you and the moldy spot. Several hours in one or two nights in such a tent cannot do much harm.

Mold exposure can cause fungal infection

Fungal infection is also referred to as mycosis. However, only people with compromised immune system are likely to get this condition.

Unless your tent is infested with a lot of mold, this is not likely to happen and therefore, you should really not worry about it. In addition, people with other underlying conditions are also at high risk of getting fungal infection from mold.

Fungal infections can occur on feet, on skin, on your scalp and they can affect your sinuses.

If your tent has a lot of mold, perhaps it would be a good idea not to sleep in it at all even if you are healthy and strong.

Mold in the tent can harm your items

Mold can get on to your clothes or sleeping bag. It causes dark patches that are hard to clean out. Therefore, the sooner you clean it out, the better.

If you have a camping mattress, mold could attack it too. If you are camping in the rain, you have to be extra careful because mold spreads fast in dark and damp spaces.

Mold spores can also land on your food. Now, we know that you cannot eat moldy food. The same way that you should not inhale mold spores, just store your camping food safely so that it does not get mold.

So, you can see that besides affecting your health, mold can also affect your items.

Mold can damage your tent

A tent can cost you a substantial amount of money. Therefore, you want it to last as long as possible. However, if it is infested by mold, this might not happen.

Therefore, you not only have the risk of having your health affected, but mold can also shorten the life of your tent. The good thing is that cleaning a tent is so easy. Read our article on how to clean a tent that smells.

How to remove mold from your tent

Now that you have seen how unsafe it is to sleep in a moldy tent, you need to know how to clean a tent with mold.

Of course, a thorough cleaning can wait until you get back home from your camping adventure. When it does get to the time that you clean the tent, just follow the procedure below:

Cleaning mold from tent

This means mold that is not too ingrained into the polyester or nylon material of your tent. To clean this one off, just use soap and warm water. However, you can also use a specialized mold remover so that you can be sure every trace of mold is gone.

So, you need a large tub, a store-bought cleaner, dish soap, a sponge and warm water.

  • Start by sponging the moldy spots first. Use a sponge soaked in warm soapy water.
  • Secondly, soak the tent in the tub and submerge it completely in warm water.
  • Add a professional cleaner and then scrub the outer material of the tent gently, until all the mold and dirt is gone.
  • Do not scrub the interior material of the tent because that could damage the polyurethane coating that waterproofs your tent.
  • Rinse the tent completely so that there are no traces of soap. If you did a good job, the mold will be gone.
  • If there are still traces of mold, you can deodorize the tent for about 30 minutes of soaking it in a water and deodorizer solution.
  • After that, dry the tent in air for about 7 hours. Preferably, keep it out of direct sunshine if you can.


Is it safe to sleep in a moldy tent and if yes, how long can you spend in it? It is best to avoid it altogether if it has a heavy mold infestation. However, if the mold is just mild, you can spend a night or two in the tent if you have no illness. Long exposure to mold causes serious health issues.Remember to clean the tent thoroughly using the steps outlined above. Deodorize it too to keep it mold-free.