The most important part about washing hunting clothes is making sure they come out scent clean. Fortunately, learning how to wash hunting clothes isn’t hard. They need to be clean but free of scent at the same time. The last thing you want is a buck winding you because you smell like a lilac summer breeze.
Avoiding scented detergents is rule number one. Most of the animals we hunt maintain a pretty heightened sense of smell, especially deer, and if they end up downwind of you, you don’t want to smell like anything other than another deer or the natural environment.
Being scent-free is one of the many advantages hunters yearn for, and your choice of smell, in terms of deer pee, pine tree, or the natural environment, should be up to you, not the clothes you just washed.
Guide to Washing Hunting Clothes
Are you supposed to wash hunting clothes
Yes, you need to wash your hunting clothes. No matter what scent you use in a deer stand, you’re personal scent, sweat, and loose skin will transfer to your hunting clothes, no matter what.
There is very little you can do about that, so you need to wash them after each hunt. Never put them in the washer and dryer with other clothes. If you wash your clothes separately, never dry them with other clothes.
Your hunting apparel should be a completely separate entity compared to the rest of the clothes in your house.
How often should you wash them
You should wash your hunting clothes after every hunt, no matter how counterintuitive you think it is. Even when you hunt in the cold, your body still sweats to a small degree, and your skin cells transfer to your clothing.
You might not be able to smell anything different, but a deer’s senses are more finely tuned than yours are. It’s not just your skin cells and sweat either. If you approach a campfire, eat food, or even take a drink from something other than water, odds are good that some of the smell will transfer over.
Look at it this way, camouflaging your scent is every bit as important as camouflaging yourself. You should spend as much time working to that end as you do in your other hunting preparations.
Besides, what good does it do you that a deer can’t see you in the dense underbrush 100 feet away if it can smell you from 2 miles away?
Set aside a plastic garbage can for soaking throughout the hunting season. Its only purpose is to hold baking soda and water for you to soak your hunting clothes in, all the way down to your socks.
- Use a five-gallon bucket or garbage can presoak your hunting clothes
- Pour half a box of baking soda in with your clothes and fill the can/bucket with water
- Pick a detergent that is free of UV brighteners and perfumes
- Country Save detergent is a good choice
- Run your washer on a self-clean cycle first
- Thoroughly clean out your dryer
- Or, simply air dry your clothes outside
- Use the same detergent and baking soda for all of your camping gear
- Wash your hunting clothes after every hunt
- Don’t pump gas while in your hunting clothes
After your hunting clothes have soaked in the baking soda and water for half an hour, wash them using the above guidelines and avoid all other clothes, fabric softeners, detergents, and scented materials.
Be sure to wash all of the things you use or come in contact with before you hunt, like sleeping bags and pillows, the same way you wash your hunting clothes.
Homemade Scent Killer
You can make your own homemade scent killer, but it’s for after you wash your clothes. It’s designed to spray on your clothes after the fact, like some of the scents and scent neutralizers you find in the store.
It will also save you a little money, and it’s pretty effective as well.
- 8 ounces of water
- ⅛ cup of baking soda
- 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide
- 1 Tsp of unscented soap
- A spray bottle (thoroughly cleaned and scent-neutralized as well)
You don’t have to do anything wild and crazy. All you have to do is combine all the ingredients in a single container. Don’t throw them all in the spray bottle immediately because you need to stir the formula.
You don’t want to shake it. It has baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, two volatile chemicals that will end up all over you and in your lap if you try to shake it up. Once the mixture is in a container, gently stir it until everything is mixed well.
Now, pour it into your spray bottle, cap it, and spray it all over yourself, and your boots, before you head out. Better yet, take it with you and use it before you get in the stand.
Keeping your scent off your hunting clothes will save you a lot of grief when you’re out there hunting. It will also give you an advantage you may not realize you didn’t have previously.
Making your own scent-killing formula has a lot of advantages, but it’s not an effective replacement for washing your hunting clothes every time you come in out of the woods.
As long as you keep your hunting clothes separate, presoak them, air dry them, and keep them sprayed down with a scent-neutralizing formula, you’ll be truly camouflaged, both by smell and by sight.
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