A new tent is an exciting addition to any camper’s gear, but it can also come with a less desirable side effect: a strong and often unpleasant odor. This smell, commonly referred to as the “new tent smell,” is caused by the combination of various materials used in tent manufacturing and the gases and chemicals that are released as the tent ages. The good news is that the new tent smell can be reduced or even eliminated with proper care and treatment.
Causes of the New Tent Smell
Tents are made up of various materials such as polyester, nylon, and polyurethane. During the manufacturing process, these materials can emit a chemical odor that becomes trapped in the fabric and other components of the tent.
This odor can intensify when the tent is used for the first time, particularly in enclosed spaces where air circulation is limited. The combination of warm temperatures and high humidity levels can also contribute to the intensification of the odor.
Quick Fix Methods to Eliminate the New Tent Smell
If you’re headed out on a camping trip soon and want to get rid of the odor, here are a few quick-fix methods to help you get rid of the new tent smell.
1. Spraying the Tent with a Fabric Freshener
One quick and easy way to reduce the new tent smell is to spray the tent with a fabric freshener. Fabric fresheners come in sprays, powders, and wipes, and they are designed to neutralize odors and refresh fabric. They can be found at most stores that sell camping gear, or online.
When choosing a fabric freshener, look for one that is specifically designed for tents and other outdoor gear. These fresheners will typically contain natural ingredients like baking soda or vinegar, which are effective at neutralizing odors. They may also contain fragrances to add a pleasant scent to your tent.
To use a fabric freshener, simply spray it evenly over the interior of your tent. Make sure to get into all the nooks and crannies, including the corners and seams. You can also spray it on any sleeping bags or other gear that you have stored in the tent.
Allow the fabric freshener to dry completely before closing up the tent. You may want to leave the tent open for a few hours to allow any remaining odors to dissipate. If you’re in a hurry, you can use a fan to speed up the drying process.
2. Placing a Bowl of Baking Soda Inside the Tent
Another quick and easy solution for getting rid of the new tent smell is to place a bowl of baking soda inside the tent. Baking soda is a natural odor absorber, and it can be effective at neutralizing even stubborn odors.
To use this method, simply place a bowl of baking soda in the center of your tent. Make sure it is well-sealed, so that the baking soda doesn’t spill or get kicked over. You can also place a few smaller bowls of baking soda in different areas of the tent, for maximum odor-fighting power.
Allow the baking soda to sit in the tent for at least a few hours, or overnight if possible. In the morning, simply remove the bowl(s) of baking soda and shake out the tent. You may need to vacuum up any loose baking soda that has accumulated on the floor of the tent.
3. Leaving the Tent in Direct Sunlight for Several Hours
The final quick-fix solution for getting rid of the new tent smell is to leave the tent in direct sunlight for several hours. Sunlight has natural odor-eliminating properties, and it can help to freshen up your tent and reduce the intensity of any odors.
To use this method, simply set up your tent in an open, sunny area. Leave the tent open and allow it to sit in the sunlight for several hours, or until the sun starts to set. You may want to move the tent every few hours to ensure that all sides are exposed to the sun.
Once the tent has been in the sun for several hours, simply fold it up and store it. You may notice that the tent smells fresher and less intense, and that any remaining odors are less noticeable.
Related: Can Sleeping in a Tent Make You Sick?
Long-term Solutions For Getting Rid of the New Tent Smell
While quick-fix methods can provide temporary relief from the new tent smell, it’s important to take the time and address the problem in a more comprehensive manner to ensure that the odor is eliminated for good.
In this section, we’ll explore long-term solutions that will help you get rid of the new tent smell and prevent it from returning in the future.
1. Washing the tent using a mild detergent and water solution
One of the most effective long-term solutions for getting rid of the new tent smell is washing it using a mild detergent and water solution. This process can help remove any trapped odors and keep your tent smelling fresh for longer periods. The key to washing your tent is to use a mild detergent that is specifically designed for tent fabric. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as these can damage the tent and intensify the odor.
To wash your tent, start by filling a bathtub or large basin with lukewarm water and adding a small amount of mild detergent. Next, gently agitate the solution to make sure the detergent is fully dissolved. Place your tent in the water and gently scrub any areas that are particularly dirty or smelly. Be sure to pay extra attention to the seams and corners, as these are the areas where odors tend to accumulate.
After you have finished scrubbing the tent, drain the water and rinse the tent thoroughly with clean water. Make sure to rinse away all traces of detergent, as any residue can attract dirt and debris and cause the tent to smell. Repeat the rinsing process until the water runs clear and you can no longer smell the detergent.
2. Drying the tent thoroughly after washing
Once you have finished washing your tent, it’s important to dry it thoroughly to prevent mold and mildew growth, which can cause odors to intensify. There are several methods you can use to dry your tent, including:
- Hanging the tent in direct sunlight: If you have access to a sunny location, hanging your tent in direct sunlight is an effective way to dry it quickly and thoroughly. This method is particularly effective if you live in a warm, dry climate.
- Using a fan or air conditioning: If you don’t have access to direct sunlight, using a fan or air conditioning to circulate air can help to speed up the drying process.
- Using a dryer: If you don’t have access to sunlight or air conditioning, you can use a dryer to dry your tent. However, be sure to use a low heat setting, as high heat can damage the tent.
Regardless of the method you choose, it’s important to dry your tent thoroughly to prevent mold and mildew growth, which can cause the odor to intensify.
3. Using a specialized tent cleaner to remove any lingering odors
If your tent still has a lingering odor after washing and drying, you may want to consider using a specialized tent cleaner. These cleaners are specifically designed to remove stubborn odors and can be an effective way to get rid of the new tent smell for good.
When choosing a tent cleaner, look for products that contain natural, non-toxic ingredients, such as baking soda, vinegar, or lemon juice. Avoid products that contain harsh chemicals or fragrances, as these can cause the odor to intensify or leave a chemical residue that can harm the environment.
To use a tent cleaner, simply follow the instructions on the product label. Most tent cleaners require you to mix the solution with water and apply it to the tent using a spray bottle or sponge. After you have applied the cleaner, let it sit for a few hours to allow