Importance of Being Scent Free
According to The Deer Hunter's Almanac, deer haven hunting license? Check. Firearm and ammunition? Check. You’ve even practiced climbing your tree and setting up your blind, but have you thought about how washing your hunting clothes could mean the difference between bagging that buck and walking away empty-handed?
How you wash your hunting clothes and gear plays a big part in the hunting process. Deer and other game have incredibly sensitive senses of smell. You can check off all the necessary items that will improve your hunt but if you forget to wash your hunting clothes properly you will greatly decrease your chances of success. Let’s look at the steps to reduce your scent.
er two-hundred scent receptors in their nose. This means that they can smell you from up to a mile away. The last thing you want is for your potential prized trophy to catch your scent and cost you all your efforts.
There are many products on the market that are used to mask scent, however, scent blockers aren’t your only option. If how you wash your hunting clothes isn’t taken into consideration, scent blockers can’t be used to their optimal effectiveness.
A few practical steps you can take when washing your hunting clothes involves how you prep your washer, what you use to pretreat your clothes, the type of detergent you use, how you dry your clothes, and how you store them. All these steps can create or eliminate scent.
It all comes out in the wash. This phrase is certainly true when it comes to your washing machine. It’s not just dirt and grime that end up in your washer. All the cleaning agents you use to keep your clothes fresh and clean also leave residue in your machine.
Prepping your washer before washing your hunting clothes will help to make sure that any scent residue from using regular detergents is removed before you insert your hunting clothes. Using unscented detergent won’t matter much if your washer still has residue from scented detergents or fabric softeners when you wash your hunting clothes.
You can prep your washer by running a few loads through using an unscented detergent that doesn’t contain UV brighteners. Washing with a cycle of distilled white vinegar will also help remove any fragrance residue.
Washing your hunting clothes by hand will eliminate the need to prep your washer. Just make sure whatever container you’re using to wash your hunting clothes, also doesn’t contain fragrances or UV brightener residue.
There is no need to prep your hunting clothes prior to washing them for the first time. However, if you’ve already gone on your hunting trip and have stained your hunting clothes, you may want to pre-treat your clothes before washing.
Keeping in line with our scent-free goal, you’ll want to avoid using scented stain removers. Even stain removers that are marked as scent free may contain UV brighteners. If a stain remover is labeled as eco-friendly or green, it doesn’t mean that it’s free of these additives. An efficient and simple trick is to soak your clothing in cold water.
This works great for blood stains that can be stubborn to remove. In fact, when it comes to blood stains, you don’t want to expose them to warm or hot water. This will cause the proteins in the blood to bind to fabric, setting the stain and making nearly impossible to remove. Always, soak blood stains in cold water.
After your hunting clothes have soaked for a few hours, preferably overnight, you can move on to the next step in the cleaning process.
Once your washer has been prepped, or if you’re washing by hand, you’ll want to make sure you are using a detergent that will ensure you are as scent-free as possible. If you are unable to locate a detergent made specifically for hunters, there are a few alternatives.
What you want to look for in a detergent is one that doesn’t contain perfume or UV brighteners. UV brighteners help your clothes maintain their new look by binding to the fabric giving the illusion of brightness. Your game not only has enhanced smell but also enhanced vision. Even night vision goggles used by humans are able to detect these brighteners on fabric, so you’ll want to steer clear of them. Detergents made for cloth diapers and those made for military uniforms are great alternatives.
Another option for washing your hunting clothes is a common household staple. Baking soda. Yes, that’s right, baking soda. You can skip the fancy detergents and simply wash your hunting clothes with baking soda. Add one cup to your wash cycle. It will get the job done.
If you are completing a hunting trip and your clothes don't have any blood stains, per the CDC, wash your hunting clothes on hot to kill any possible ticks.
Don’t undo all your work by neglecting this final step. Many people use dryer sheets that contain fragrance. If you forget to clean your dryer, all that fragrance will transfer to your hunting clothes. You can clean your dryer with a towel dampened with vinegar, making sure to repeat the process until there is no fragrance left.
An easier method would be to dry your hunting clothes outside on a drying rack or clothesline. You can also air dry them inside on a clothing rack. This saves the hassle of having to make sure your dryer is free of fragrance residue.
When air drying, make sure your hunting clothes are fully dry before storing to prevent mildew.
So you’ve prepped your washer, soaked your hunting clothes, washed them, and now they’re dry. How you store your hunting clothes is just as important as the previous steps mentioned. You don’t want to store them with your regular clothing because your hunting clothes will begin to take on all the fragrances and scents of that clothing.
Store your hunting clothes in a sealed plastic bag or tote. This will preserve and keep them scent-free. In addition to keeping your hunting clothes in a sealed plastic container, try adding some leaves or twigs from your favorite hunting area to make them smell like your game’s stomping grounds.
Keep your hunting clothes in the sealed plastic container until you reach your hunting site. That means no pumping gas, cooking food, or other activities that will erase your efforts to keep your hunting clothes scent free. Once you arrive at your hunting site, change into your clothes.
Because of how advanced the senses of game are, how you wash your hunting clothes can make or break you as a hunter. Making sure your scent and visibility are as muted as possible increases your chances of victory.
In addition to following these steps, make sure to wash your hunting clothes often. This prevents the fabric from building up with body odor that tends to bind and become harder to remove if not washed frequently.
To recap here are the steps you want to take to wash your hunting clothes properly:
- Prep Your Washer
- Pre-Treat Stain Sargent
- Prep Your Dryer or Line Dry
- Wash with a Scent-free Dete
- Store Clothes in a Sealed Plastic Container
Ensuring your hunting trip has the best possible outcome is as simple as following these steps. We hope that this information has been helpful. This video will walk you through some of the steps mentioned above. Have a safe and happy hunting trip!
Alexander Goodman is a technology enthusiast who is always on track with the latest and up-to-date technological advances. On his pastime, he uses his knowledge of technology on his hunting hobbies. He loves to travel and hunt different kinds of birds and animals. He also likes to impart his knowledge on technology and hunting through writing articles on the web.