Do Grow Tents Keep the Smell In? (3 Effective Tips)

Grow tents are not immune to odor and do not keep the smell in. The outer canvas fabric, which is nylon or polyester, and the mylar inner layer cannot keep odor in. The odor in most grow tents comes from fungi and bacteria formed due to high humidity or failed ventilations.

So, do grow tents keep the smell in? No, they don’t. A lot of chemical reactions happen in the tent because of the tent material. These reactions form a gas that spreads into the air, especially when you open the tent.

Although most grow tents have a thick outer canvas, it does not conceal or filter the smell. Let me take you through deeper details.

Do Grow Tents Keep the Smell In?

Over the years, I have learned that grow tents have very well-routed pipework. Its primary purpose is to direct smells away from the unit. However, the smells leave the growing area and go to the exterior, where they may be a nuisance. When selecting a grow tent, choose an enclosed tent with an air filter.

Such tents tend to filter the smell and trap it inside. Most small-scale farmers I have interacted with prefer Gorilla grow tents because they have materials that trap the smell inside. But, no matter their filtration levels, you cannot find an entire smell-proof grow tent.

Do’s and Don’ts To Observe When Managing Grow Tent Smells

If you are setting up your very first grow tent, remember that plants discharge volatile organic compounds, which can be odorous. After setting up your grow room and regulating the humidity and lighting, below are some do’s and don’ts you will find useful.

Install a carbon filter in the tent before your first grow.  Don’t use less than three clip-on fans.
Install an inline fan before the first grow.Don’t place your grow tent in places with high temperatures and humidity.
Use LED instead of other lighting sources to control humidity.Don’t use carbon generators inside the tent.
Maintain the grow tent often.Don’t exceed 80°F in flowering stages.

If you observe the above, you will likely have healthy plants while keeping the smells at a minimum. You may not do away with the odors entirely, but rest assured you will reduce them significantly.

Why is My Grow Tent Smelling?

Your garden will produce different scents all year round during every grow cycle. Some scents are aromatic, like that one of fresh flowers, while others are fetid. Dealing with the putrid smells proves to be a challenge to many tent growers. Below are the common reasons why grow tents smell.

1. Poor or broken ventilation

grow tent ventilation system

One of the essential items in a grow tent is the ventilation system. Using less than three clip-on fans in the grow tent is ineffective because the amount of air circulating will be inadequate. Also, the smell intensifies if your carbon filters are dirty or broken.

2. Overcrowded plants

Growing plants in a grow tent mean the plants are on limited resources. If too many flowers are congested in one grow tent, there is a high probability of root rot and fungal growth. This rotting and fungal issue contributes to the smells in your grow tent and keeps worsening if not cleared.

3. Humidity

Humidity is a major contributor to the grow tent odors and plant weathering. Too much humidity can cause mold, fungus growth, and root rot in your plant. This mold and rot will produce a musty odor that you can smell around the tent. No matter your tent’s quality, the smell will likely seep through into the surrounding.

How Do I Exhaust My Grow Tent?

Ventilation is a critical part when growing your plants in a grow tent. You need to expel the inside air to regulate the temperature and moisture accumulation. As such, I recommend that you vent your grow tent in one of the following ways;

Use an inline duct fan

This is where you install an inline fan that’s big enough to expel stale air and draw in clean air. There are filtration fans designed specifically for grow tents, so be sure to get a high-quality fit. It’s also called an extractor fan and acts as a vacuum that carries carbon dioxide, which plants need during photosynthesis.

Use duct tubes

You can clasp or tape a duct tube strategically so that it drives away stagnant air from your grow tent. Most tubes are aluminum-made, although you should provide extra layers to shield them from damage. Be very careful when buying and installing the tube. I’d advise you to consider your tent size before buying and fixing the tube.

There are many methods of configuring the above elements to ensure proper ventilation. You can place the fan and filter inside and in any order. However, I recommend placing your duct fan at the highest point for optimal performance.

How to Control Grow Tent Smell Problems

There are two categories of odor control in your grow tent. One is by elimination, where you remove the odor from your grow tent. The other is by masking, where you use strong scents to conceal the smell from your grow tent. Below are the most common methods to control the grow tent smell.

1. Install carbon filter and inline fan

Carbon filters and inline fans are significant in a grow tent ventilation system. The fan pulls the air through the carbon filter, which traps the carbon and neutralizes the smell. It’s best to use a six-inch fan that is strong enough to pull a fair amount of scent through the carbon filter.

2. Use Ona gel as a freshener

Ona gel

Ona gel is made using oils from various plants, and it produces a strong scent that neutralizes smells in your grow tent. This fix is temporary, and you will have to use this freshener after every few weeks. The time can vary depending on the number of plants and how strong the scent they are producing.

3. Use Dehumidifiers

Pohl Schmitt Electric Dehumidifiers for Home

Too high or low humidity affects plants as they grow. High humidity significantly increases the smell of your plants, and you should be able to control your grow house temperature. Use dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture from your grow tent.


Although the materials making grow tents are not smell-proof, the tents have some degree of insulation. For this reason, you probably have more questions lingering in your mind. Let me answer some frequently asked questions to give you greater insight.

How Airtight is Grow Tents?

Grow tents are never purely airtight. However, you can control moisture and smell pretty well, provided you observe the measures we’ve talked about. Grow tents come with a zip door and two small openings to allow proper air circulation.

Should I put a heater in my grow tent?

Sometimes, heat from the bulbs isn’t always enough to keep the plants warm, especially in the cold seasons. Temperatures lower than 55-60F are critically low and can damage or kill your plants. Use a heater to warm your grow tent, and be sure not to exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the flowering stage of your plants.

Can you eliminate odor without filters and fans?

There are gels like Ona gel that you can use to attract smell molecules and neutralize them leaving a natural smell in your grow tent. This solution works best for small grow tents and for short periods. Other solutions include air purifiers and ozone generators which work best in larger commercial grow tents.


Despite the wide variety of grow tents in the market nowadays, none of the choices can keep the smell in. The best solution is not going back to the store to find a better tent but ventilating the one you have. Understanding the course of these smells is half the solution to getting rid of them.

Do grow tents keep the smell in? Now you know they don’t. Not even the many varieties making their way into the market have the ability to keep all the smell in. With this knowledge, you can make the right decisions when growing your plants in the tent.

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