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Thursday, June 16, 2011

How to Clean Mold & Mildew from a Tent Trailer

Many of you are getting ready for the camping trips you’ll be taking this summer with friends and family. Depending on the weather you’re having in the state you live in – you may have already started.

For those of you that have brought out the tent trailers, opened them, and unfortunately were greeted with mold and mildew.

Mold and mildew will flourish in dark, damp places that have restricted airflow.

  • Tent trailers should never be put away and stored wet.
  • They should not sit outside unprotected.
Either one of these will only encourage the growth of mold and mildew.

Check the Owner’s Manual

If you have the owner’s manual for your tent trailer, see what it says about cleaning. If you don’t have it, call the place you bought it from or any of your local RV stores and they should be able to help.

If for some reason you have not been able to contact the RV store, here is what you can do to get your cleaning under way.

This works best if you know there are going to be a number of consecutive days of sunny weather. If you must clean it and there may be rain, be sure you make a cover of some sort to keep the rain out and the tent trailer dry.

Dry Out the Camper

Mold spores will release a toxic gas, so be sure to wear a mask, gloves, and old clothes that (if necessary) can be tossed in the garbage.

The first thing you’re going to need to do before you actually clean the trailer is get it dried out! If there is somewhere you can put it where it gets sun for most of the day, the sunlight will not only help get it dried out – it will help kill the mold and mildew.

Next take everything out of the trailer that you can. Remove them and lay them in the sun. Now open windows and get the air circulating throughout the trailer. Everything needs to dry, as it dries the mold and mildew will start to turn to dust.

The drying out process may take a couple of days. If you took out your trailer thinking you might be using it for the weekend, you may have to put it off for another time. You definitely want to remove the mold before sleeping in it.

Get Out the Wet/Dry Vac

When the trailer is dry, use a wet/dry vacuum to vacuum up what you can of the dried mold and mildew and be thorough, get in cracks and crevices. And when you have finished vacuuming, don’t forget to throw the contents of the vacuum away.

Canvas and Nylon Cleaning

In a bucket, mix together a solution of:
  • 1 gallon warm water
  • 1 cup mild detergent
Using a soft bristled brush scrub the canvas. It might be easier if you work in sections. When you’re done washing one section, rinse it with plain water to remove any residue from the cleaning solution then move on to the next section.

When you’re done cleaning make sure you leave windows open to help dry out your tent trailer. If possible put a fan in the trailer to help circulate the air. Make sure you wear protective gloves, eyewear, a mask, and old clothes while scrubbing down the trailer.

Have the Trailer Professional Cleaned

If you’ve opened your trailer and have found more mold and mildew than you want to work with, you should consider calling in a professional cleaner. It would be worth the expense especially when you consider your health and the health of your family.

Storing Your Tent Trailer

Storing the trailer in a dry place is going to help prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
  • Always put the trailer away when it is completely dry. Mold and mildew will thrive in damp, dark places with little air flow.
  • Before storing, sweep it off to remove dirt and leaves.
  • Clean out the inside and remove food and papers.
  • To keep rodents out, seal any entry points they could come through.
  • Don’t store the tent trailer with tarps laying directly over it; this will cause moisture and not enough airflow to circulate which will promote the growth of mold and mildew.
  • Make a covered storage area for your trailer.

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