By Mike Willis
The expense of purchasing quality outdoor gear has reached unbearable levels. The thought of throwing away clothes before they have reached the end of their life is almost inconceivable.
For this reason, savvy outdoorsmen and women always need to be looking for ways to preserve the gear that they have.
One common issue that outdoor enthusiasts face is the inevitable sour/mildew gear smell caused by being wet for too long. I used to wash those clothes/gear and check their condition upon drying. I was usually deceived into believing that the smell was cured. However, the next rain event or sweat-inducing activity would prove otherwise. Moisture would instantly reactivate this terrible smell. When you are hunting and trying to remain scent-free, this is unacceptable.
For years I was convinced that the gear was ruined; I used to throw it away once I detected the offensive odor. During those soggy seasons, nothing ever gets a chance to dry out. Those are the perfect conditions that contaminate gear with the unpleasant fragrance. Forgetting wet clothes in the washing machine can also produce these same results.
After some research, I began to learn that there is hope. If your favorite outdoor gear or clothes have begun to get that smell, don’t worry! Below is a proven process to remedy offensive odors:
1) Place clothes/gear in the washing machine.
2) Use very hot water.
3) Add approximately ½ to ¾ cup of baking soda instead of detergent.
4) Add one to two cups of white vinegar immediately upon starting the load of laundry or use it as you would fabric softener.
5) Dry the clothes thoroughly using high heat.
Wise moms across the nation have been using this trick to remedy towels and football uniforms for years. For those pieces of gear that are not suitable for putting in the washing machine, you can do this process in your tub or a bucket. Just make sure that you wring out as much moisture as possible and introduce a good flow of air to expedite the drying process. Remember, being wet for too long caused the issue in the first place.
Most of the time, just one round of this process will take care of any issues that I am having. However, there have been times where smells have proven to be persistent, and a second-round is needed. I have never needed to wash clothes using this process more than two times. I can honestly say this trick has saved me lots of money over the years.
For those questioning whether the vinegar will leave an odor, the answer is no! This process leaves your clothes completely scent-free and ready for your next hunting trip. Some may find that they prefer baking soda as a regular scent-free detergent for their hunting clothes. This inexpensive alternative to hunting clothes detergent has served people well for many years. Since wasting gear or smelling like a junior high locker room is not an option, give this cure a try!