How to Wash Hunting Clothes with Baking Soda

When you’re hunting, it’s really important to mask your scent so the animals don’t smell you and get scared away. Even after wearing hunting clothes a few times, odors could get trapped in the fabric and blow your cover. Standard laundry detergent also has strong odors that give you away, but luckily, you can use baking soda to make your clothes scent-free.[1] You’re probably wondering how to clean your clothes, so keep reading to find the answers to all of your most common questions!


[Edit]Should I prep my washing machine before putting in hunting clothes?

  1. Clean your washer to get rid of detergent odors. Your washing machine might have leftover detergent from previous loads and you don’t want it to get on your hunting clothes. Run a hot water cycle with some commercial cleaning tablets made specifically for your washing machine to clear out any of the detergent that’s stuck inside. When the cycle ends, keep the machine’s door open to let it air-dry for around 30 minutes.[2]
    Wash Hunting Clothes with Baking Soda Step 1.jpg
    • Avoid washing your hunting clothes with your everyday laundry because odors could transfer.

[Edit]How much baking soda do I use to wash hunting clothes?

  1. Sprinkle ½ cup (115 g) of baking soda in with your laundry load. Set your washing machine to a cold water cycle and put all of your hunting clothes inside. Put your baking soda directly in the main compartment with your clothes before running the load.[3]
    Wash Hunting Clothes with Baking Soda Step 2.jpg
    • If you still notice odors on your clothes, try using 1 cup (230 g) of baking soda instead.

[Edit]What laundry detergent should I avoid when washing hunting clothes?

  1. Steer clear of detergent with perfumes and UV brighteners. Since most animals have strong senses of smell, they’ll be able to detect fragranced detergents really easily. Some animals can also see ultraviolet (UV) light, and UV brighteners can brighten your clothes to make you stand out in the woods. Read through the detergent labels before using them to ensure they don’t have any of these additives.[4]
    Wash Hunting Clothes with Baking Soda Step 3.jpg
  2. Stick with unscented, hypoallergenic detergent if you want to use any. Even though baking soda will clean your hunting clothes, you can add detergent for a deeper clean if you want. Check the packaging to make sure it has words like “eco-friendly” or “natural” and that the detergent doesn’t have odors.[5]
    Wash Hunting Clothes with Baking Soda Step 4.jpg
    • You can buy odor-neutralizing detergent specifically made for hunting clothes online or from sporting goods stores.
    • You can use baking soda and any type of detergent in the same load for additional odor protection.

[Edit]How do I dry my hunting clothes?

  1. Hang them outside to air-dry if you can. Find a clothesline or tree branch to drape your hunting clothes over so they can dry in the sun. Since you’re keeping the clothes outdoors, they’ll only be exposed to natural odors that aren’t as noticeable to wild animals. Leave your clothes hanging up until they’re completely dry before putting them away.[6]
    Wash Hunting Clothes with Baking Soda Step 5.jpg
    • Wear gloves when you handle your freshly-washed clothes so you don’t contaminate them with other odors.
  2. Use your dryer if you can’t put your clothes outside. Set your dryer to a normal drying cycle and add your hunting clothes. Let the cycle run completely before checking if your clothes are dry. If they still feel a bit damp, put your clothes back in the machine until they’re completely dry.[7]
    Wash Hunting Clothes with Baking Soda Step 6.jpg
    • If you want to use dryer sheets, make sure they’re odor-free before putting them in with your clothes.
    • You may also want to use a dryer if you live in a city next to smelly areas, such as gas stations or restaurants.
    • If there’s odor inside of your dryer, clean out your lint trap and wipe the drum down with a clean cloth and white vinegar. Leave your dryer open to dry until you can’t smell the vinegar anymore.[8]

[Edit]How do I store hunting clothes after washing them?

  1. Keep your clothes in an airtight bag or container. Get a tote bin or large resealable bag dedicated to just storing your hunting gear. Place your clothes in the container and seal it tightly so no air can get inside. Keep your hunting clothes in the container until you’re ready to wear them so they don’t absorb any outside odors.[9]
    Wash Hunting Clothes with Baking Soda Step 7.jpg

[Edit]How do I keep the smell out of hunting clothes?

  1. Place a box of baking soda in the container with your clothes. Crack open a box of baking soda and place it in the bottom of your bin or bag. Place your clothes around the box so it doesn’t spill or tip over. Keep the box of baking soda in the container for 2–3 weeks to help absorb any moisture or odors that might still be on your clothing.[10]
    Wash Hunting Clothes with Baking Soda Step 8.jpg
    • If you don’t want to keep a full box of baking soda in the container, dump half of the box into a sock and tie it shut. Place the sock next to your clothes instead.
  2. Shower with odor-neutralizing shampoo and soap before getting dressed. Purchase odor-free shampoo and body wash online or at your local hunting supply store. Hop in the shower and thoroughly scrub your body to get rid of any body odor that could frighten the wild animals you’re hunting.[11]
    Wash Hunting Clothes with Baking Soda Step 9.jpg
    • Don’t forget to brush your teeth and put on scent-free deodorant to cover up other sources of body odor.
  3. Wait until you’re at the hunting site to put your clothes on. Put your hunting gear in your vehicle or outside so you don’t have to track it through the house. Keep your clothes inside of the container and only take them out when you’re outside and in the area where you’re hunting. That way, you avoid contaminating your clothes with odors from your vehicle, your home, or anywhere you stop beforehand.[12]
    Wash Hunting Clothes with Baking Soda Step 10.jpg
    • It’s okay to wear undergarments or normal clothing in the meantime. Just be sure to change them once you get to the hunting site.

[Edit]How often should I wash hunting clothes?

  1. Wash your first layer of clothes after each hunt. Even if you can’t smell any odors on your undergarments or base layer of clothing, wild animals might be more sensitive to the scent. Make sure you keep the hunting clothes you’ve already worn separate from clean garments so they don’t transfer odor.[13]
    Wash Hunting Clothes with Baking Soda Step 11 Version 2.jpg
  2. Clean your outerwear around once a month. Your jackets, vests, and outer layer of pants are less likely to get smelly since they don’t make contact with your skin. While you don’t have to wash them each time you wear them, get in the habit of doing it whenever they’re visibly dirty or at the end of the month.[14]
    Wash Hunting Clothes with Baking Soda Step 12 Version 2.jpg
    • Always wash your clothes if you got blood on them during your hunting trip since animals will be able to smell it.


  • Avoid using fabric softeners since they can add strong fragrances to your hunting gear.[15]
  • Make sure your clothes are completely dry before storing them so they don’t grow any mold or mildew.[16]


  1. [v161131_b01]. 8 November 2019.