How to Get Smell Out of Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bags are a essential part of the camping experience. When they smell bad, they can put a damper on your backpacking trip and cause great discomfort during sleep.

There are a variety of smells that can develop within a bag and often require different treatments. Fortunately, there exist several solutions that can be used to neutralize the funk within your camp sack, and have it smelling fresh again.

Deodorizing Solutions for Sleeping Bag

1 Inside Out & Hang in Sun

The combination of fresh air and UV rays can go a long ways to neutralizing odor within a sleeping bag. Make sure that you flip bag inside out if the smells origins are coming from the interior of the bag. Next, find a nice spot in direct sunlight to hang the bag and allow for it to aerate. Allow the bag to hang for a minimum of 8 hours to allow the odors to naturally be carried away.

2 Grass & Sun

For an additional boost, you can lay the sleeping bag across the lawn. The chlorophyl within the grass will work to neutralize the odor in combination the the sun’s UV rays.  Place the sleeping bag in direct sunlight for a minimum of 8 hours.  Within the middle of the day, it’s advisable to flip the sleeping bag so the the underside can receive some UV rays.

3 White Vinegar Spray & Hang

This compound is highly effective and is used across a wide range of odor issues within a household.  Flip the bag so that the affect areas are exposed and spray down the affected areas of the sleeping bag with a formula on water and white vinegar in equal proportions.  Hang sleeping bag out side to allow the combination of white vinegar and open space lift the unwanted odor from the fabric.

4 Baking Soda

This solution is a great formula for odor absorption.  Flip bag so that the odor affecting the bag is located on the inside of the sack.  Measure a 1-2 cups of baking soda and pour within the sleeping bag.  Close the sack and shake the bag to allow for the powder to cover the entire interior of the sack.  Roll bag up and allow for it to sit for 48-72 hours before returning to open the bag and sake the powder free of the bag.

5 Vodka Spray & Hang

This party drink works wonders doubling as a deodorizer.  The alcohol within vodka neutralizes a wide range of smells and dries away odorless. Pour vodka within a spray bottle and mist down the entire affected area of the bag.  Hang the bag outside for 1-2 hours to allow for the alcohol to quickly evaporate off.

6 Activated Charcoal

If you have the time, this solution be highly effective at absorbing an unwanted odor within your sleeping bag.  Place several activated charcoal briquettes within used nylon leggings and put them within the sleeping bag.  Roll sleeping bag up and put aside for 5-7 days.  After a week has passed, simply remove the nylon enclosed charcoal briquettes and enjoy the freshened sleeping bag.

7 Dry Cleaners

If you are tight on time and don’t mind paying for to have the bag treated, you can take your sleeping bag to the dry cleaners to have the odor removed.  You can rest assured that the funk will be removed and that the bag will be returned to normal.


Published by

Joe Fresh

Joe is an odor combatant, chemistry extraordinaire and all around good guy. He has an over-productive olfactory system with absolutely zero tolerance for unpleasant aromas.

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