Q. I went camping, and a few days later I found the bag for my sleeping bag has an orange sort of mold on it. Help me!
— Worried Joshua, from the Internet
A. Uh-oh. Orange mold does not sound like a good sort of mold, Joshua. If the mold is just on the outside of your stuff sack (NOT on your sleeping bag), immediately wash the stuff sack with a non-detergent soap like Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap ($3 for a 2-ounce bottle; drbronner.com). Hand-wash it in the sink, rinse it really well and let it air-dry.
You might also consider washing your sleeping bag too, especially if the mold spots have been in direct contact with it. But don’t machine wash it or dry clean it — both ways can damage your sleeping bag. Instead, hand-wash it in the bathtub with warm water and Dr. Bronner’s or Nikwax Down Wash ($10 for a 10-ounce bottle; nikwax-usa.com). Though it’s made for down-filled gear, it also works well for synthetic materials.Massage either soap into your bag, then let it soak for 10 or 15 minutes. Drain the tub, then rinse your bag in cold water. Use your hands to press the soap out of the sleeping bag. Soak it for 10 more minutes and then press the remaining water out before you hange it to air-dry. If you choose to tumble dry your bag, be very careful or it might melt. Use only low or no heat, and check it throughout the drying cycle.