How to remove Moldy Smell from your sleeping bag


A clean sleeping bag will determine whether you get a restful sleep or you lay wide awake all night. A horrible moldy smell in the sleeping bag is usually a result of mold & mildew spores present in the fabric. If the sleeping bag has been wet  and hasn’t dried thoroughly, tiny fungus will grow quickly on the fabric, giving the sleeping bag an unpleasant moldy smell.

The weight and size of the sleeping bag makes it difficult for sleeping bags to be machine washed. But outdoor camping with a moldy smelling sleeping bag is not healthy, either. You may remove the spores and moldy smell from the sleeping bag without having to use washing machine.

moldy smell sleeping bag

How to Remove a Moldy Smell From a Sleeping Bag

Things You Need:

  • A bowl
  • 1/4 cup of table salt
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • A spoon
  • Some cleaning cloths
  • An old toothbrush
  • Laundry-detergent
  • Two cotton balls
  • Vanilla extract


Step 1. Unzip the sleeping bag so as to allow the air to circulate-inside & deodorize the fabric. Put the sleeping bag in sunny location for 3 to 5 hours so as to kill the mildew spores that are still living-on the fibers.

Step 2. Mix a 1/4 cup each-of table salt & lemon juice so as to create a good paste. Spread that lemon & salt paste on the mildew stains and then allow that paste to dry out in the sun. (The lemon & salt mixture helps in removing mold stains.)

Remove Moldy Smell from sleeping bag

Step 3. Brush off the lemon paste with a dry-cloth. Wet the old toothbrush & place 2 or 3 drops of the laundry detergent on your old toothbrush and scrub the remaining mold-stains to remove them.

Step 4. Rinse your sleeping bag fabric-by blotting it using a damp cloth and let the sleeping-bag dry completely.

Step 5. Moisten 2 cotton balls with 1 to 2 drops of the vanilla extract. Place 1 cotton ball inside foot of your sleeping bag & the other 1 inside the central area. Leave those cotton balls inside your sleeping bag for about 3 hours so as to deodorize the remaining moldy smell. (Vanilla absorbs the unpleasant odors naturally.)

remove moldy by vanilla-and-cotton-balls


  • You can substitute sponging your sleeping bag, with rubbing-alcohol or/and hydrogen peroxide for spot cleaning it with the laundry detergent.
  • You can also sprinkle baking-soda over your sleeping bag & leave it on-the-surface for 8 hours so as to absorb the moldy smell.
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