How to Wash Fishing Waders: What You Need To Know

Are your fishing waders stinky and dirty? Quite annoying but that is how you know that you are doing a good job. Cleaning your fishing waders is part of the regular maintenance you need to do to keep them performing optimally.

Regular and detailed cleaning goes a long way in keeping your waders in good condition. What you probably do not know is that there is a way to wash your fishing waders.

Here is How to Do it:

Preliminary Cleaning

After your escapades in the lake or river, ensure that you brush off any sand, mud, or debris. This is particularly important if you are fishing in a lake or stream infested with mud snails or rock snot. There is a catch to this too; use freshwater to do this because if you use the water you were fishing in, you go back to the same point.

Alternatively, you can use a firm vegetable brush to clean off debris or any mud off the soles of your waders. This is to avoid dirtying your cleaning water with mud. Soak your waders in hot water for about half an hour. This will help kill the invasive species that may have infested your boots.

If you new in fishing, read this content - how to get started fishing.

Wash Regularly, Rinse Often

It is not cost-effective to buy waders every now and then and as such, you need to make it a habit to clean yours if you want them to last. The best thing is that you do not have to go through the entire washing procedure whenever you use your waders.

When you are done from the lake or river, you can always use a hose to give them a good rinse and allow them to dry off. Depending on how much you have been sweating and how dirty the water you fish in is, you can thoroughly wash your waders every second or third trip.

Use Appropriate Cleaning Solutions

Did you know that there are detergents that are not suitable for cleaning your waders? For instance, 409 will corrode your waders; pollute the environment, not to mention that it is illegal as well. Most of the powdered laundry detergents in the market are safe to use on breathable waders. What you need to keep in mind is that they should be color-safe and devoid of fabric softeners or bleach.

Therefore, before you begin to scrub away, ensure that you check the cleaning and care instructions of your waders’ manufacturer to see what cleaning agents you need to avoid. To be on the safe side, use specialty cleaners approved by your manufacturer. This is because such solutions are exclusively designed to clean waterproof material.

To Hand Wash or Machine Wash?

The decision to machine-wash or hand wash your waders solely depends on what the manufacturer says. Some manufacturers will recommend that you run your waders through the washing machine on a delicate cycle.

If your manufacturer approves machine-washing your waders, then go ahead and do it, but if they do not specify, it will be better to hand wash. Now, the best way to hand wash your waders is in the bathtub.

Fill your tub with warm water and add a bit of detergent. Immerse your waders in the tub and scrub them thoroughly with a soft piece of cloth. After you are done with the outside, turn your waders inside out and do the same thing. You can turn the shower on to rinse the waders or place them outside and use a hose to spray them.

Learn More: How to Fillet a Catfish with an Electric Knife: Important Tips.

Dry Your Waders

When you are done cleaning your waders, it is now time to let them dry. Hang them in a safe place where they will have access to the sun or wind to air dry. Once they dry from the outside, turn them inside out so that their insides can dry out as well.

Now that your waders are fresh and clean, it is time to put them away until your next fishing session. You need to take into account that moisture is not your friend when storing your waders. Mildew and mold will quickly grow in the corners of your waders if you leave even a drop of water behind. Ensure that you store your waders in a dry place.


In the end, all you want is a clean pair of waders. You can use the most sophisticated or simplest cleaning method, which involves filling a medium sized basin with water, adding some detergent and scrubbing your waders away. Whatever your choice, clean waders should be your end goal.

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