Mold Picture Before
Mold and mildew is a common problem, especially on older gear. This problem can effect all types of gear, and mold will grow on almost all types of fabric. Here are some tips on how to deal with mold and mildew on your outdoor gear.
Always store your gear in a cool, dry place. Sleeping bags should be stored in a large cotton sack so the material can breathe and there are no tight folds to trap moisture and allow mold to grow. Wet items should be allowed to dry completely before being put away. Check closets and storage areas for leaks and condensation. Mold needs darkness and moisture to grow, and can develop into a big problem if anyone in your household has asthma or allergies.
Mold and mildew are often apparent as black or white spots on fabric. This is often accompanied by an unpleasant smell. The key to salvaging moldy gear is to kill the mold so it does not spread and to make sure you do not damage the laminate layer on coated fabrics. Backpacks and tents cannot be cleaned in a washing machine- there are too many straps and tie downs so the gear is likely to rip. These items also cannot be washed with standard detergents, because this will compromise the waterproof coating on most outdoor gear. The best choice is an enzyme cleaner, such as Mirazyme. This will kill the mold, clean the item, and neutralize the moldy smell. Most enzyme cleaners are used as a dip. You mix it with warm water as per the instructions and either dip or spray the gear. If the mold leaves a stain, you can try to gently scrub with an old toothbrush or another soft bristled brush.
There is another DIY method for removing mold using household items. This will prevent mold and mildew from spreading, and it will get rid of the moldy smell, but it will not remove stains. Mix 1/2 cup of Lysol with one gallon HOT water. Wash the tent or other gear with a sponge and let it air dry. Next, mix 1 cup salt and 1 cup of concentrated lemon juice in one gallon of HOT water. Wash it with this solution and let it air dry.
If you have mold or mildew on your outdoor garments or sleeping bags, you can send these to Rainy Pass to be cleaned and treated with Mirazyme. This will kill the mold and neutralize the smell, but certain types of black mold and mildew will leave a permanent stain. Give us a call for a quote on treating your item and shipping instructions.
Here are some before and after photos of a vintage army surplus 0 degree bag that we restored at Rainy Pass Repair. The white mold didn’t even leave a stain.