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How to Wash Hunting Clothes – A Definitive Guide for You

How to Wash Hunting Clothes
Written by Marc Niad
Last Update: August 11, 2023

I know you want your hunting clothes always neat and ready for the next adventure, but that’s not easy to maintain.

Whether you like it or not, hunting is messy. That’s why hunting clothes require special treatment to be washed properly.

Not all cleaning products are appropriate in these cases. Some can damage the fibers or ruin some important properties of your hunting outfit. That’s why knowing to wash hunting clothes is essential for every hunter.

While most expert hunters know very well how to wash hunting clothes, some less experienced don’t. If that’s your case, don’t worry. We’re here to help.

Today, we’re exploring the best techniques for washing hunting clothes without damaging them. Follow along as we provide an in-depth overview of the cleaning tips you can follow.

The Most Appropriate Products for Washing Hunting Gear

Usually, brand-new hunting clothes, including high-quality hunting jackets have UV brighteners to look more eye-catching.

However, these substances are also striking for deer and other animals. For this reason, it’s convenient to wash your hunting outfit before you start using them.

Most commercial detergents aren’t appropriate for hunting clothes. They contain strong essences that are easily noticeable by animals. In these cases, it’s better to opt for scent-free products.

It’s also not a good idea to apply softeners, because most of them contain UV brighteners. There are many alternatives on the market that can help you keep your hunting outfit in perfect condition.

In some supermarkets and hunting stores, you can find various detergents specially formulated for these purposes.

For example, Country Save is a very popular detergent, used by US troops. This product eliminates traces of brighteners, which are easily detected by the night vision monoculars or the night vision binoculars.

In addition, it doesn’t contain fragrances and other substances perceptible by animal smell.

How to Wash Hunting Clothes: Everything you Need to Know

Now, let’s explore the best way to wash hunting clothes without damaging them:

1. Clean your washer

Clean your washer before washing your hunting cloths

Certainly, washing your hunting clothes with a washing machine gives you better results than doing it by hand.

However, before getting started, it’s convenient to clean your washer thoroughly so you can erase any trace of detergent or fabric softener.

To do this, run a hot washing cycle with the washer completely empty. Add a pair of cleaner tablets or any similar product to the water before starting the cycle.

Once the cycle ends and the washer is completely empty, let it air dry for several minutes.

2. Run a cold washing cycle

Run a cold washing cycle to wash your hunting clothes

Put a small batch of clothes into the washer and add the recommended dose of detergent.

Remember that the product you use shouldn’t contain fragrances or UV brighteners. Finally, run a cold-washing cycle.

It isn’t recommended to wash your hunting clothes with hot water because the fibers can shrink. Also, hot water may weaken the glue that keeps some accessories in place.

3. Run a second washing cycle

Run a second washing cycle, adding only baking soda to the water. Baking soda helps prevent bad odors.

It also helps remove any remaining detergent that may clog the pores of your clothes.

4. Let your clothes air dry

Let your clothes air dry after washing your hunting clothes

After the second washing cycle finishes, take your hunting clothes outdoors to let them air dry. It isn’t convenient to use dryers because the applied heat could shrink the fibers.

5. Store your clothes in a plastic bag

Store your hunting clothes in a plastic bag after washing them

After your hunting clothes are completely dry, use an iron at low heat to remove wrinkles. Then, store your clothes in a plastic bag to keep them protected from external agents, odors, and pests.

After-wash Care

  • You better not wear your hunting clothes before arriving at the site. Common activities like eating, filling the gas tank, or smoking can transfer odor to the fibers. If this happens, animals will be able to easily detect your location.
  • Some animals can smell human sweat from long distances. So, it’s also convenient to apply odor-remover sprays on your hunting clothes from time to time.
  • Don’t apply chlorinated products or other harsh chemicals on your hunting clothes. They can discolor and ruin the fibers. In addition, animals can detect their peculiar smell.
  • Apply baking soda on parts most exposed to sweat to remove bad odors.

Don’t Forget the Storage

Your job isn’t finished yet. If you don’t store your hunting clothes properly, there will be consequences like foul odor, mold growth, and bacteria infestation. There are multiple ways to store your hunting clothes safely.

Let’s explore the most common ones.


There are lots of purpose-built bags available to store your hunting clothes. These bags use advanced technologies like activated charcoal, carbon alloy, silver linings, vacuum sealing, and many more.

Hunting storage bags come in all sizes and shapes. Not only do they store your hunting clothes, but they also protect your clothes from unwanted issues like foul odor, mold growth, and more.

Some of the known manufacturers of hunting storage bags include Smelly Proof, Scent Crusher, and Hunters Specialties.

Although there is a general guideline on what type of bags you should use, here, the performance may change depending on a number of factors. What worked best for me may not work the same in your condition. Being airtight and smell-resistant is a must for any hunting storage bag.

You don’t have to use dedicated hunting storage bags. Any good quality, air-tight, and smell-proof bags can serve your purpose. But it’s recommended to use dedicated hunting storage bags.


You can also use containers for safe-keeping your hunting clothes. They are relatively cheaper and available are most hardware and discount stores.

Containers aren’t only for clothes though. You can store anything you want in these versatile, portable storage devices. Most containers are built from plastic. It’s important to rinse the container with work water before storing, and storing them in a climate-controlled environment.

DIY Storage Units

You are also free to build your hunting cloth storage unit if you want. You’ll just have to install an ozone unit inside it to protect your clothes.

You can also turn any of your existing closets, armoires, or storage shades into specialized storage units for your hunting clothes. Be careful about the material as wood can absorb moisture and some metals are prone to rust.


As you can see, you don’t need to be an expert to learn how to wash hunting clothes. You just need to apply each of our tips to get the desired results.

Always remember that scented detergents and softeners aren’t an option. Always opt for specialized products, suitable for hunting and military clothes.


1. How often should I wash my hunting outfit?

Ans. You should wash your base layers and mid-layers after each use. On the other hand, the outer layers don’t require too much care. So, you can wash them once a month.

2. Can you wash hunting clothes with baking soda?

Ans. Yes. Baking soda doesn’t harm the fibers of your hunting outfit. Also, it kills pathogens, prevents bad odors, and removes detergent traces from your clothes.

3. Can you wash hunting clothes without detergent?

Ans. You could but this isn’t a good idea. Detergents may break the surface tension of water, helping to remove greasy residues and stubborn stains.

4. Can you put hunting clothes into the dryer?

Ans. It isn’t recommended to put hunting clothes into the dryer. The applied heat may shrink the fibers. It’s better to leave the clothes to air dry.

5. Are you supposed to wash hunting clothes?

Ans. Yes. Hunting clothes are subject to wear and tear due to trips through the bush, mud, dirt, and other elements of nature. Washing your hunting clothes helps maintain their integrity and ensure that it lasts as long as possible without damaging their qualities.

About the author

Marc Niad

It’s been several years that Marc, a retired teacher and a proud dad, has silently been piling up mature bucks down the South. This humble hunter began his hunting journey at quite an early age and since then, he spent countless hours in the woods and learned good lessons in terms of woodsmanship. Along the way, he also made money sharing his skill with his followers and well-wishers.

The Ranger Expert is the brainchild of this veteran hunter who loves hunting the swamps and the hills around the Mississippi and Homochitto rivers. His most favorite hunting technique is taking his climbing gear and going to the top of pines with a 25.06 – the old-fashioned way!

He gets most of his games during late December through mid-January – his favorite hunting time. Marc strongly believes that hard work, passion, and a bit of luck can bring you success in the wild.

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