Musty smell in pop up

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by ambelyo, Aug 30, 2010.

What are some Methods for the Smell

  1. Bleach

    4 vote(s)
  2. Fabreeze

    9 vote(s)
  1. ambelyo

    ambelyo New Member

    Aug 30, 2010
    :)Hello everyone we just got our first pop up last night and it needs work! Its a 87 Rockwood the smell is needless to say Ewww it smells like the basement at an elderlys home Musty and Damp We took the cushions out and hosed them off were going to use the carpet shampooer on them and the curtins are so dated i took them down to be washed My mother in law used Bleach and started cleaning all washable surfaces Any other suggestions are Helpful! Thanks I've heard Baking soda and FABREEZE, or Mothballs we are also leaving it Up and All windows open to air out!
  2. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    Part of it is finding just where the smell is coming from. There are a couple of threads on treating the canvas for mildew, etc. in the "in the garage" and "at the campsite" areas.

    We finally traced the odd odor in ours to mildew in the foam insulation, under the paneling, where water had leaked in. Once we cleaned that out and replaced the foam, and some of the paneling, the smell was pretty much gone immediately. (Our canvas and old cushions & covers were all long gone, so it became obvious they were either not the source or not the only one, when we began to renovate the camper last winter.)

    What you choose to overcome the odor is somewhat up to your preferences and limitations. For me, Febreeze sets off an asthma attack, as do dryer sheets; mothballs are supposedly carcinogenic, but can't stand them anyway. So, once things are well washed, if I still had an odor problem, I'd be inclined to use either baking soda or go over things with an enzymatic cleaner. On one of the other threads, someone mentioned using GSE (grapefruit seed extract) for mildew - I've been using it for things at home, but haven't had the need to try it on mildew or mustiness.
  3. Flyfisherman

    Flyfisherman New Member

    There are a lot of products on the market today that will kill an offensive odor. But like Kitphantom says, first find the source and it would have to be some place moisture is getting into the closed up camper. Have you cheked the ceiling of your pup while it is opened up for any dampness?
  4. NetDad

    NetDad New Member

    Apr 16, 2010
    I bought my PUP last summer (used) and it was a mess with smells. I gotta agree that you have to find the source. You can spray all the chemicals you want (and I did), but if you don't find the source it will keep coming back.

    In my case I got rid of everything that could hold moisture and mildew. All the foam (seats/beds), all the curtains (took out and washed the heck out of em), new canvas (actually new is the modern material).

    Now my only problem is that like new plasticy smell :)
  5. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    Yes, our new fabric-backed vinyl canvas did have the plastic-like odor at first, but it is a big improvement over the disintegrating previous one!

    Airing it out well by leaving it set-up in the driveway helped a lot, and after over a month of camping this year, it seems to have diminished a lot.
  6. Nascar Fan

    Nascar Fan Active Member

    Nov 18, 2008
    Washington, PA
    Before I would start with harmful chemicals, I would open it up and get a big fan and just blow air for a day or two. I'd take all the cushions out and let them air out in the sun and see if you can get rid of it. Scrub it down real good after a few days. Good Luck!
  7. mdbaird76

    mdbaird76 New Member

    Apr 5, 2010
    I had an issue this summer where my lift cables broke and I had food in the fridge. Long story short, I had to pull the fridge out and throw it away (leaked into the foam insulation of the fridge), and we placed two open 1lb cans of coffee in the pup. After a week we opened it back up and aired it out for a day. there is no smell left in the camper. the coffee smell also is not in the pup.
  8. Dusty82

    Dusty82 New Member

    Jun 23, 2008
    Northern Nevada
    I pour a box of baking soda into a pie pan and set it inside the door of the pup before closing it up for the winter. It works well, but you have to remember it's there and take it out before you hitch up and haul it someplace. Otherwise you have one heck of a mess to clean up when you open it up.
  9. The Postman

    The Postman You gotta love Camping!!

    The first step to eliminating an odor is finding the source. If it just a general mustiness, wash all your fabrics and see if that helps. That is what we did in our first pup, and between that and just airing it out, it made a world of difference. Good luck!!
  10. Wienerdog

    Wienerdog New Member

    Sep 23, 2012
    Try this. Open up camper, get a couple of bags of charcoal, and place several piles throughout the camper. Close all windows and doors and leave it that way for a couple of days. Also, when storing it place some charcoal in plastic bowls inside the camper.
  11. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ

    Sep 11, 2008
    Morris County, NJ
    Like others said in here, search for the source of the smell. It you are certain there are no leaks anywhere then it could just be the pup was stored closed for a period of time and dampness found it's way in there. Go ahead and clean everything and make sure to wipe all hard surfaces down with a light bleach solution. If you see that the canvas needs to be cleaned then follow the manufacturers cleaning instructions. Make sure to leave the camper opened for a few days to air it out after you finish cleaning.

    I place DampRid inside the pup when I close it up to help get rid of the dampness that could get in there. If you do decide to use charcoal in there, then make sure you get it with out any lighter fluid in it or the pup will smell like lighter fluid!
  12. cwolfman13

    cwolfman13 New Member

    Feb 9, 2011
    ^^^X2. A lot of times, it just needs to be aired out. A good cleaning certainly won't hurt, but from everything I've read and my owner's manual, harsh chemicals on the canvas should be avoided.

    Often, these old p'ups have just sat there closed up and just need to be opened up. By the by, if you have real canvas, it has it's own unique smell and frankly, there's not a whole lot you can do about it, but airing it out should help.
  13. Campit


    Sep 16, 2011
    I'm with everyone else. If it has been shut up for a long period of time, just open it up and let it air out. That may be all you need to do. Washing the curtains will help and airing out the cushions and mattresses couldn't hurt as well. Wipe down all the inside and outside also. Letting it air out awhile should let you know if you need to look deeper for the odors. Good Luck and let us know how it goes. :)


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