By Montana Grant

Posted: February 25, 2023

Waders, ice fishing bibs, and other outdoor gear get FUNKY!!! Consider what is going on when you are wearing them. Sweat, dirt, blood, slime, scales, and who knows what else is transferred to your once sweet-smelling gear. A thorough De-Funk is required.

Back in the day, I was big on fishing road trips. We would pick some states or destinations and take a Trout Trek. These treks took place in the hot Summers. Once at a great fishing hole, we would wear our wading gear for long days and weeks. The Funk always showed up.

One evening, I returned to camp after a 12-hour stretch. My buddies were sitting around the campfire as I removed my Funky waders! Suddenly, I was alone. Off in the dark, my companions shouted rude and crude comments about my stink and filthy waders. It was time for a bath!

Whatever gear you need to clean, read the label, or research the manufacturer for specific directions. Neoprene, breathable cloth, rubber, vinyl, and GORE-TEX all have different recipes for smelling success.

Normally, you need to consider cold water, low suds, and mild bleach free cleaners. There are many on the market and others made by the manufacturers. Your gear may also need to have repellent re-applied after a washing.  Washing by hand ensures careful cleaning and inspection.

Dawn dish soap is an environmentally friendly, mild detergent that I used on my stinky challenge. My waders were clear of clips and pockets emptied. I added water to a large tub, squirted in some Dawn, mixed it up, then added my waders for a 30-minute soak.

Once the Dawn did its work, I used a stiff sponge to wipe and clean. Knees, and feet tend to get the funkiest, along with the crotch and pockets. Some extra scrubbing is needed. Pull the waders inside out to address the inside funk as well.

Once the waders, or gear are clean, rinse with cold water until the soap is gone. To dry the waders will take some time. Hang them up in a warm area and let them air dry. Reverse the waders and dry the insides too. A boot dryer or low temp hair dryer can be helpful. Placing the boots in a dryer on low heat and gentle cycle is fine if the manufacturer says so.

I make a boot hanger from old plywood to hold the boots upside down, so they can stay open and dry. This compact hanger even goes with me when fishing.

My Ice Fishing Bibs are also pretty Funky after a season of worms, maggots, scales, slime, and fish blood. The special fish scent has also given my bibs and coat a Funky Twang. The cold-water bath and mild soapy soak are coming soon.

Funk Free is better unless you prefer to fish alone.

Montana Grant

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