Is musty smell in camper normal after not using for awhile?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Repairs & Maintenance' started by zinger60, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. zinger60

    zinger60 New Member

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    We had not opened up our PUP for 9 months. We went on our first camping trip of the year two days ago and when we opened it up, there was a musty smell. Usually, the smell is more of a campfire smell and this was the first time it smelled different. I had some potholders in the drawer and they had that musty smell on them also and the smell seemed to be stronger when I opened the doors under the dinette and the sink. I don't know if it is because of not having it opened for so long or if the smell means there has been water somewhere. We didn't see any sign of anything being wet so I'm not sure if that is just a normal thing.
     
  2. Xolthrax

    Xolthrax Franconia, Pa.

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    Mine has had a permanent musty smell since I bought it despite cleaning everything, including the canvas, but it has heavy overtones of campfire.

    If you're noticing an unusual musty smell, then I would look diligently for a water leak. They can cause real problems if not fixed.
     
  3. ghacker

    ghacker Active Member

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    I don't get that with my Bayside after storing it for 4-5 months in an unheated garage. I suspect it is water related but not necessary a leak. FWIW, I have a swing down sink and sometimes the drain will hold a little water. Over time that might evaporate out into the PUP creating the moisture that causes the musty smell. But I would look carefully to make sure you don't have any leaks.
     
  4. BaylorWaylor

    BaylorWaylor Member

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    Ours has a permanent campfire smell. It seems like no matter where we are, the wind is always blowing the smoke right into the camper.
     
  5. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ

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    Whenever our pup is stored in the garage or in the driveway I will keep Damp-Rid inside to help keep the moisture under control! So far it has worked well!!
     
  6. themanfromvan

    themanfromvan Van, PA - Near The PA Wilds

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    Get a coffee can or butter tub - poke holes in the lid - fill it with baking soda. Remember to take it out before you tow or you'll tip it over and have a mess. At the end of the camping season, take the baking soda and brush your teeth with it all winter for that "campfire smoke/canvas/bacon grease" fresh breath !! [:D] [:D]
     
  7. apachejeep

    apachejeep New Member

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    Can't say we ever had a musty fragrance in the Apache. The bedding may be aired-out more to help.
     
  8. hammer1234

    hammer1234 New Member

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    Ours had the smell of mothballs in the spring after being stored outside in the winter (need to tone down on those next year), and many times there is a "vinyl" like smell when first going into it...but it's never smelled musty. If it did I'd be looking for signs of moisture problems.
     
  9. tamranthor

    tamranthor New Member

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    Febreeze the heck out of anything soft. Bedding, etc. Lay the stuff out in the sun for a day. Works like magic on musty smells. Also, damp-rid works when you close it up, even for water in the sink drain, and make sure to put dryer sheets at the lowest level to keep out the critters.
     
  10. zinger60

    zinger60 New Member

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    Thanks everyone,
    We have never had that musty smell in the 4 years we have owned it so I am a little bit concerned. We looked all over inside and never saw any sign of water. When we tip the sink, we usually do have some water come out but we make sure we get rid of it. It seems to be more on one side where the slide out dinette is. The dish towels and potholders were left in all winter under the sink area and in a drawer on that side and they smelled musty but I forgot to take the sheet off the bed and it did not smell like that. Just can't figure out what's going on.
     
  11. stefbauer

    stefbauer New Member

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    I also hang 2 of the damp-rid closet bags.... keeps the moisture down... don't every have a musty smell.
     
  12. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    Keeping in mind that the smell is something new and localized, I would dig way deeper. Can you see under the bottom part of the flip down galley? If not, I would do anything I needed to do to access it, including taking it apart. If there is even a teeny weeny leak, it can cause major damage over time. It may need recaulked around a seam or outlet behind the galley.

    Febreeze and Damp-Rid and such are only going to cover up the problem, if there is one. What may be a tiny fix now may silently cause huge and costly damage down the road. I would not stop looking until I was 100% positive there is no water getting in anywhere.
     
  13. Xolthrax

    Xolthrax Franconia, Pa.

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    I almost hate to say anything, but have you poked around at any of the wood, especially the roof sideboards? Punky wood smells musty.
     
  14. joeinct53

    joeinct53 New Member

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    I agree with Orchid and Xolthrax.
    I deal with mold remediation for a living. The musty smell is actually the off gases of the mold as it ingests a food source. The food source in this case would be wood, paper, organic cloth, cardboard, dropped food, etc. Mold is a natural part of our environment and the spores are in the air everywhere. The mold spores rest on surfaces and wait for the environment to grow. Mold needs moisture, air, and a food source to grow. As it ingests the food source, it releases off gases which is that "musty" smell.
    Now, that being said, I think it would be preventative of something bad to come in the future to investigate further. Is there a possibility of some food being left in the camper somewhere or maybe in the drain of the sink?
     
  15. zinger60

    zinger60 New Member

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    I did check in the cabinets under the sink but didn't investigate alot in the lower cabinets near the floor. We are going to open it up in the driveway on Monday so I will check it out more. Hopefully the smell was only caused by the dish towels and pot holders being left in there over the 9 months is was closed up. Also, this has been the longest time we have had it closed up without opening it up at all so maybe that contributed to it. There was not any food left in there at all. It seems strange that the only water leak we had 2 years ago did not smell at all. We didn't know that the front storage box lid was cracked and water was leaking into both front corners of the box. The floor of it was completely rotted but there was no smell at all.
     
  16. fmbhappycamper

    fmbhappycamper PuP Power

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    go with your gut instinct. [PU]
     
  17. zinger60

    zinger60 New Member

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    Well, we popped open the PUP today and did not find any musty smell this time. Only the wonderful smell of the campfire, which is the way it usually smelled. No sign of any water leak either. The only think I can think of that caused the smell was leaving it unopened for so long. We have been very fortunate and have never had any mold or mice in the pup in the 4 years we have had it. We washed down and sprayed the whole canvas today and not one sign of any water leaking inside. I love my PUP! My husband is going to do an inspection underneath it tomorrow to make sure there is no sign of any water damage under it but I think the smell was just from being closed up so long.
     
  18. fmbhappycamper

    fmbhappycamper PuP Power

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    That is GR8 news [8D]
     
  19. carlr

    carlr New Member

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    Ours has been closed since 2008. We decided to use it this year. Opened it up and it still smells as clean as when we stored it. Outside no less. We have owned it since new(1986) and except for the one year mice did a job on the canvas, we have had no issues. No special winterizing just good deep cleaning. Just lucky I guess. We spent a week in New Hampshire this month and I was amazed at how great the PUP looked and performed. Need a few minor fixes but it is 25 years old.
     
  20. riverwalker

    riverwalker New Member

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    If your dish towel was left in there without being washed , even if dry will give off a musty smell .... any kinda of cloth you've used to wipe or dry something off will do that in an in-closed area I have 30+ years of leaving or forgetting something damp or unwashed in my camping gear Rubbermaid bins... I would imagine a closed pup would be the same thing.
     

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