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.