How to Remove The Moldy Smell From Your Sleeping Bag


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A clean warm and comfortable sleeping bag is heavenly to get into after hours of hard walking and will help you get a restful sleep . Or, at worst, result in you lying wide awake all night. with your nose filled with that horrendous mold smell! A horrible moldy smell in the sleeping bag is usually the result of mold & mildew spores present in the fabric. Maybe the sleeping bag was wet when it was put away and subsequently hasn’t dried out 100%. It’s amazing how quickly tiny fungus will grow on the fabric, giving the sleeping bag that characteristic dank unpleasant moldy smell.

The sheer weight and size of many sleeping bags makes it difficult for bags to be machine washed easily. They may not even fit in the machine. However, going outdoor camping or hiking for a few days with a moldy smelling sleeping bag is not healthy….

There are solutions to the problem. You can remove the spores and moldy smell from the sleeping bag without having to use washing machine. And, if you are looking for a new sleeping bag under $100, you may like to find out which bags we think are the best buy for performance, warmth and durability. That gets rid of your moldy smell in a flash:) Seriously however….

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 as far as you can so as to allow the air to circulate inside & deodorize the fabric. Lay the sleeping bag out in the sun for 3 to 5 hours as sunlight is a natural deodorizer. The light will help kill the mildew spores that are still living on and in the fibers.

Step 2. Mix a 1/4 cup each of table salt & lemon juice so as to create a good paste. Spread the 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 out completely. Preferably in a sunny place.

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 is great at naturally absorbing unpleasant odors.)

remove moldy by vanilla-and-cotton-balls

Additional Tips

  • 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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