How to Wash Hunting Clothes and Keep Them Scent Free

Dec 27, 2023

three hunters standing in a river with ducks

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If you have ever been on an unsuccessful hunting trip, you know how it is, trying to figure out what messed up the hunt. Often, it’s a case of unnatural scents that animals pick up as you approach. Animals are more sensitive to scents and sounds than humans are, so it’s crucial to remove any trace of human or synthetic scent that will put them on high alert. Here’s how to wash your hunting clothes and keep them scent-free. 

How To Wash Your Hunting Clothes 

Before you wash your clothes, remove any stains like oil or blood with baking soda, vinegar or lime water. You can use either of these stain removers to soak the stained spot. Blot out the liquid with a paper towel, coat in corn starch, and leave to dry overnight. 

  1. Soak The Clothes 

You will need to wash out the sweat and refresh your hunting clothes. Soak them in a five-gallon water container with half a box of baking soda for 24 hours. Ensure you have cleaned the bucker or container with some scent-free detergent. Every container or detergent you use to clean your clothes should be as odorless as possible. Remember, animals have a more sensitive smell and odor transfers can be the difference between a good catch and a lousy hunting trip. 

  1. Prepare The Washing Machine

While your hunting clothes soak, you want to clean your washing machine and remove any scents from previous detergents. You can either run the washing machine on a soak and wash cycle with scent-free detergent. Or, fill the washing machine with water on an agitate cycle, then leave that water in overnight. In the morning, drain the water and rinse. 

If you’re using the family washing machine, wash your clothes in stages to ensure your clothes are scent-free. With each load of clothes, the washing machine loses more scent, which keeps your hunting clothes free of smells that may give you away when hunting. 

This looks like starting socks and base layers, then washing items beneath your base layers, then the outer layers. 

  1. Wash Your Clothes

Wash the hunting clothes on a lukewarm cycle with scent-free detergent. While cold water protects your clothes from damage, you also need heat to wash away oils, odors, and skin cells that may produce bacteria. Try not to use hot water, as it can cause your clothes to shrink. Also check the labels for washing instructions for gloves, waterproof jackets and socks. Several brands offer an odorless clean, keeping your clothes at a suitable UV brightness for hunting. 

  1.  Dry Your Hunting Clothes in the Sun 

The sun is the best ant-bacterial agent and the fresh air will take away any lingering scent, and give your clothes a natural outdoor smell. You can also use a dryer, but you will need to use scent-free dryer sheets made for hunting clothes. 

  1. Seal the Clothes in an Airtight Bag

Keep your clothes from soaking up scents from other clothes or objects in your house with an airtight bag. Most hunters recommend the Scentlock Ozone bag to keep your clothes fresh and odor-free. You can also add scent wafers to make your clothes smell like TC. You will only take the clothes out once you are ready to hunt. For the best success you want to make sure you don’t accumulate any other smells like smoke, food or perfume scents that may be lingering in your truck. As soon as you’re done hunting, put the clothes in a bag, then air them out or wash them and put them back in a scent-free bag. 

Why It’s Essential to Keep Hunting Clothes Scent-Free

Even a slight odor can warn of your presence before a sound can give your presence away. It’s essential to wash your clothes, and equally important to remove any other traces of odor before a hunt. Here are some tips to keep your clothes (and yourself undetectable on a hunt):

  • Wear the right shoes. Opt for rubber boots instead of canvas or leather which can hold and disperse odor. 
  • Shower before the hunt. Use a scent-free or scent-neutralizing soap to wash your hair and body. Make sure you use a towel that you washed with scent-free detergent. The summer fresh scent of regular household washing powder will linger and you want to smell as odorless as possible. 
  • Wear different clothes on the way to and back from hunting. You may just top at the gas station or have a quick bite, activities that produce scents that can stick to your clothes. 
  • Wash new clothes, not just for the scent, but to remove ultraviolet light and the new crinkly sounds that deer can hear from a mile away. Animals up every subtle noise, so you need to soften new clothes by washing them. Research by Vision Scientist Jay Neitz shows that animals have more sensitive eyes and can see UV light in clothing differently. While it may look slightly shiny to human eyes, 440nm UV light looks bright blue to a deer.

Product to Try to Keep Your Hunting Clothes Scent-Free 

From an odor-eliminating bag to a powdered scent blocker, here are some products that can help you take your hunting strategy to the next level. 

  1. Camodust 

This chemical scent-blocker is effective, long-lasting and easy to use. It blocks scents that animals might pick up while you’re hunting. Put the powder in a cloth sock, then pat your hunting gear to neutralize odors. The dust particles will attach to clothes and skin to keep you scent-free. 

  1. Dead Down Wind Trophy Hunter Scent Eliminator Kit

Dead Down Wind has the ultimate hunting kit to keep you and your hunting clothes scent-free all season. Their products are made with gentle ingredients suitable for skin and safe for the environment. The pack comes with Laundry detergent, Field spray with 3 refills and 2 scent-eliminating soaps for home and travel. It also has face paint and DPF30 lip balm for you to wear on the hunt. 

  1. Scentlock Ozone Bag 

The latest version of the Ozone bag comes with the OZ Radial IQ, which emits enough ozone to remove odors and shuts off after 30 minutes. The bag also has six internal pockets for you to separate your gear. 

  1. Elimishield Starter Kit 

The set has Field spray, hair and body wash, laundry detergent, and spray containing enzymes that remove odor compounds. The core body foam sprays deodorize skin and hair for 48 hours, perfect for longer hunting trips.  

Keep Yourself Undetectable and Scent-Free

Washing your clothes correctly gives you a better chance of success on a hunt. Remember, how you prepare for a hunt is essential too. Everything you use should be odorless, from the towel you use to dry yourself off to the bucket you will soak your hunting clothes in before you wash them. 

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Jack Shaw is a senior writer at Modded. Jack is an avid enthusiast for keeping up with personal health and enjoying nature. He has over five years of experience writing in the men's lifestyle niche, and has written extensively on topics of fitness, exploring the outdoors and men's interests. His writings have been featured in SportsEd TV, Love Inc., and Offroad Xtreme among many more publications.