Why wash your waders?
First off, you may be wondering why you would want to wash your waders. There are several reasons why you should wash your waders. Keeping them clean and free of dirt, oils, fish slime, etc will prolong the life of the materials and help your waders last longer. Washing them will also help get some of the funk out, so they won’t be quite so pungent stinking up the car on the drive to the river.
We get questions from time to time on the best way to wash waders, so here are some tips.
Wash your waders by hand
We recommend hand washing your waders with some mild soap in cold or lukewarm water using a soft rag. A mild scrub down should work to clean as much of the dirt that will come off by hand and keep the waterproof fabric repelling water like it should. Do not use harsh detergents, cleaners or scented laundry detergents. Any cleaner that is formulated for outdoor fabrics, including for Gore-Tex, is best and safe to use as long as it can be applied through a hand wash. Nikwax, Gearaid, and others make cleaners that are specifically designed to be safe for outdoor fabrics such as those used on our waders.
Hang dry until completely dry and then if desired use some DWR spray reviver on them. Nikwax and GearAid (maker of Aquaseal) make spray on DWR reviving applications for use after cleaning. The GearAid ReviveX is a good product that does a great job of reinvigorating DWR coatings. You will want to clean up the waders as much as possible (hand wash) before using it and then just spray it on when the waders are dry.
We don’t recommend machine washing waders and when it comes to using the dryer we just say no. Our reasons are that we don’t like the possible abrasion and catching or bunching that could possibly occur during the wash cycle (this sort of depends on the machine type), and also don’t like to soak the inside seams with water. Never put waders in the dryer as the heat can damage the seam tape.
Once your waders are all washed up just hang them to dry and then store in a cool dry place.
7 thoughts on “How to safely clean your breathable waders”
Just bought a pair for my son to use moose hunting in a super boggy area- he will be working really hard and sweating it up of course! Do u recommend drying them inside out as well or will hanging them up ensure the insides are thoroughly dried? Thanx
Usually just hanging with up in a dry and well ventilated area will allow enough air to flow through that it will dry out any condensation from the inside. Thanks! -Nick
So if I read the above response correctly you are advising NOT to clean the inside? Do I have that right or would a mild wipe down with a soapy cloth be ok…some of our waders under regular use can get a little ripe.
Wiping down the inside with a cloth and a small amount of mild soapy water is just fine for them. We just don’t recommend sending them through a washing machine or soaking them in a tub. The best thing you can do to help keep them from getting too ripe is to dry them out thoroughly between uses, so we recommend hanging them up after every use which will help them dry inside and out. Hope that helps clarify things a bit. -Nick
Thanks Nick, I saw your video about rolling up the waders, I just got the primo zip fronts…i get rolling them up when they’re dry…what about after a day on the river? I have the wader bag, what’s best way to stow them for the trip back home, which could be up to 4 hours? Also is there an alternative product I could use to care for the zipper (yours was out of stock when I ordered the waders and bag)? I work at home depot…silicone spray or parrafin, etc?
Great question. For travelling back from the river we recommend just loosely rolling them up so they fit in the wader bag or back of your car until you can hang them up to dry at home. They’ll be fine rolled or folded in half wet for 4 hours. We recommend only using zipper cleaners and lubricants that are formulated for use on waterproof zippers. Several companies make cleaners and lubricants for waterproof zippers. We use and recommend Gearaid. We’ll have more of it available soon, within the next week or two. Thank you, -Nick