Finally a Cure for Stinky Neoprene?

I’m not a huge fan of waders. I prefer wet wading when the weather allows, and when I do, more often than not, some sort of neoprene gear is a part of my kit. Be it simple, thin neoprene socks to wear inside my shoes, to partial (or full) leg protection in the form of leg gaiters, the neoprene outer adds a little cushion and insulation, especially when you want to extend that wet wading season a bit longer than you probably should. However, with the use of neoprene comes the odor. Oh, the odor.

The Cure for Stinky Neoprene? - Tenkara Angler - Michael Agneta - Wet Wading

If you use neoprene wading products, you probably know what I’m talking about. After a few consecutive days of wading, especially if you’re prone to getting sweaty, the neoprene just ends up smelling like death. Like roadkill rotting on the side of a highway sort of death. I may or may not have witnessed vultures circling above my head once upon removing the horrific smelling socks and spats. To some, this excessive odor is a badge of honor worn proudly, but well… I’m not that guy.

I’ve tried a lot of sprays and tonics over the years to try and “defunkify” my neoprene after extended fishing trips with little luck. There are many solutions that are advertised to be effective on athletic equipment, like football shoulder pads or hockey arm & leg pads, but they never really got rid of the smell on my neoprene. They merely masked it to the point that I’d only mildly gag when opening my gear bag. However, with my fishing season more or less coming to a close, and after an extensive online search, I thought I’d give a different product a try this year. And I’m glad I did.

Sink the Stink

The Cure for Stinky Neoprene? - Tenkara Angler - Michael Agneta - Sink the Stink
The cure for stinky neoprene?

Sink the Stink is a liquid concentrate you add to like a bucket of water… dunk your neoprene in there… kind of slosh it around for 10 or 15 minutes… and then let air dry. That’s it. It’s advertised as a “Watersports Gear Deodorizer” that eliminates all odors, including urine. A little bit of TMI, but good to know the next time you whiz on yourself. (Yes, I know what surfers do in their wetsuits).

Anyway, let me tell you, I am shocked by how well this magic potion worked out. It was really easy, and while my gear doesn’t smell like roses, it doesn’t smell bad anymore either, so I consider this a HUGE win. I’ll likely continue to use this cure for stinky neoprene in-between fishing trips (especially in the summer months), as well as a final wash as part of end of season gear maintenance. If you have stinky neoprene, I’d check it out.

Note: I’m not affiliated with Sink the Stink in any way, it’s just a product that I found that actually works. I’m very impressed and it’s worth the $14 or so I spent on it. I got mine at Amazon, but in doing research for this article, I found there’s some more “local” small business options that also sell online if you prefer to go that route.

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  1. That definitely looks interesting. I don’t have an odor problem with my waders, but I have with my wading boots. I typically soak them in a diluted bleach solution which works great, but if you put too much bleach in, will discolor the fabric. Too little, and it won’t be enough to sterilize everything and get rid of the smell. So it’s tricky. This looks like it would be a lot easier. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I volunteered for a company that did rafting trips many years ago. And I remember they used mouthwash and water in big trash cans to soak the wet suits that they lent out to the masses. Can’t remember the exact ratio but it did the trick, minty fresh neoprene.

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