How to Clean Hunting Gear

Just like cleaning work clothes to keep it in tip-top shape, cleaning hunting gear is just as important. A day in the woods waiting for the perfect hunt means getting dirty, wet, and sweaty. There is nothing worse than putting on old grubby gear the next time you head out the door. Check out the following ways to clean hunting gear and help make keeping them clean not a chore.

How to Clean Hunting Gear

Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Don’t wear your hunting gear in the truck or car on the way back home. Change into a clean pair of clothes at the end of the hunting trip and seal the dirty clothes in a laundry or plastic bag. It is important to trap the scent in the bag and not allow it to seep into the car or in your home.
  2. Do wash clothes in unscented detergent, as you do not want to draw attention to yourself through scent. There are actually many detergents on the market specially designed for hunters.
  3. Don’t wash sleeping bags or any other machine washable hunting gear in perfume scented detergent, as this can attract unnecessary animal attention.
  4. Do utilize natural cleaners like baking soda or vinegar to wash clothes, since these two cleaning agents have shown to be successful in eliminating bad odors associated with hunting. Typically, one cup of baking soda added to the washing machine during the final rinse does the trick!

How to Clean Hunting Gear

Important Cleaning Methods

One of those most important pieces of hunting gear you will need to sterilize is the game bag that holds the meat. If the meat is placed in a dirty, bacteria-laden bag, this can be harmful to those who will consume it. In order to keep the meat fresh and safe to eat once home, thoroughly clean your game bag after each trip. Because most game bags are constructed of cotton-blend materials, they are relatively easy to wash.

Place them in the washer on a hot cycle and use an unscented detergent. It is extremely important to use an unscented detergent so that no perfume scent transfers onto the meat and ruins its natural flavor. You may want to use chlorine bleach in the mix to ensure a high quality clean of the game bag. Once washed, hang to dry. For those individuals who go on long hunting expeditions, wash the game bag each evening with water (preferably boiled) as it is imperative to keep the game bag bacteria free and the meat fresh.

For clothing, use an unscented detergent or a specifically designed hunting laundry detergent; it is important to get the odor out of your clothes after each hunting trip. Some individuals or their spouses may not appreciate throwing dirty, bloody hunting gear in the washer, so the option of using a laundry bag is a good idea. This way, your machine will stay clean, and the debris from the clothes will not get into every nook and cranny of the washing machine.

Once your hunting gear is all washed and dried, hang it up in a closet in a garment bag or place all gear in a plastic bag with some Earth scented or pine needle scented fresheners. For boots, spray them down after each trip, and you may want to sprinkle baking soda or place shoe fresheners in the soles to keep them fresh and dry from moisture.

How to Clean Hunting Gear

Cleaning Your Tools

Hunters have a variety of tools that include items such as weapons and hunting binoculars. These are just as important as clothes to keep clean after each trip. For your binoculars, keep a lens cap on them at all times when not in use, use a damp cloth to wipe the entire piece, and if you happen to get other substances on them, make sure you thoroughly disinfect them with a disinfectant wipe or white vinegar solution.

Knives and other weapons should be thoroughly disinfected and dried after each hunting trip so that no bacteria grow while in storage. Guns should all be unloaded and securely locked away and stored – especially if there are children in the house.

How to Clean Hunting Gear

Other Alternative Cleaners

If you do not wish to use a detergent to clean your hunting clothes, try Borax, baking soda, or white vinegar to deodorize and clean them. You do not have to use harsh chemicals to clean your hunting clothes, but you do have to use a cleaner to ensure that they are completely bacteria and blood free. You may wish to check out a vanilla scented cleaner or air freshener to wash or freshen your gear. Studies have shown that deer do not associate vanilla with a predator scent, which means you can use it to smell nice and have a successful hunting season.

When it comes down to it, there are many easy and great ways to clean hunting gear that does not have to cost you a lot of money or time. Find a way that works best for you and stick to it season after season.

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