While camping a little while back, my GF dropped an open jar of pickles inside the tent. Brine was all over the tent's floor, and after we cleaned what we can and it completely dried out, some odor left. It's not that strong, but you feel it while you are inside, and even your hair and some clothes start smelling like pickles after you spend a night inside. When we went back home, I tried to clean it with water, soap, vinegar, different home cleaners... No luck. Any suggestions?

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    you may be able to get it out with soaking the floor [overnight] repeatedly in baking soda or perhaps borax or equivalent, but I would not use the tent for wilderness camping. General you should never have any food or smelly stuff in tents, including things like sented sunscreen and toothpaste as animals are attracted to the [its not just the bears your worried about, a porcupine will eat through many layers of expensive fabric to get that granola bar it can smell. May 26, 2020 at 7:12
  • If you know what materials make up the tent, that might help work out what to do. I suspect that your best bet is washing the whole tent in warm soapy water, then turning inside-out and drying outside for a couple of weeks is your best bet.
    – bob1
    May 26, 2020 at 9:40
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    Will check if it will work, and share the results in a little.
    – Posopr
    May 26, 2020 at 16:05
  • Is this the inner tent liner or the outside waterproof part of the tent?
    – Aravona
    May 28, 2020 at 10:21
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    She seems to have put you in a pickle! May 29, 2020 at 5:20

1 Answer 1


One important detail that should not be overlooked is how cleaning will affect waterproofing, particularly if cleaning would affect the fly or walls. Different materials with different water-repellent treatments may have different requirements. You might also want to re-treat with whatever your tent manufacturer recommends for restoring/maintaining water repellency. A non-detergent soap should be used.

This other question about deodorizing a rain jacket brings up an interesting idea. That is to use an enzyme-based cleaner. Given the fact that you've tried most everything else, the enzyme-based cleaners might be a good next option. Several are mentioned in the accepted answer. I haven't tried any personally. Dishwashers use enzymes to digest food on dishes. This is similar without the harsh temperatures.

REI offers some advice on clearing tents that might be helpful. Tent Care Basics

Good luck. I'm interested in how things work out and if you attempt to use an enzyme cleaner.

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