Wader Maintenance: How to Clean, Dry, and Store Your Gear


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One of the most crucial aspects of enjoying a successful fishing experience is having top-quality wading gear. A great set of waders and boots will keep you dry and comfortable as you reel in your catch. But just like any other gear, it needs proper care and maintenance to keep it in pristine condition.


Whether you're a seasoned pro or just getting started with fly fishing, taking care of your breathable waders is vital.


In this post, we'll provide you with tips on how to clean, dry, and store your wading gear to ensure it lasts for years to come.


Keep Your Waders Clean



Taking care of your waders is essential if you want them to last for many years of fishing adventures. Regular maintenance, especially cleaning, not only keeps them hygienic and odor-free, but also optimizes their performance and breathability.


To keep your waders in tip-top shape, we recommend hosing them off after each use. This easy task will not only maintain the cleanliness of your gear but also prevent the spread of invasive species from one water body to another. Moreover, it's essential to deep clean your breathable waders at least once per season. This will help to remove dirt and grime buildup and ensure that they perform at their best. Plus, before doing any fixes, it's crucial to give them a thorough cleaning.


Washing techniques for different wader materials


Different types of waders are made from different materials, which require different washing techniques to keep them in good condition. Here are some tips on washing techniques for different wader materials:


For breathable waders, check the manufacturer's instructions, as some models are machine washable. If your waders are machine washable, use a gentle cycle and a mild detergent. If not, fill a tub or sink with cool water and add a specialized wader cleaner. Turn your waders inside out and submerge them in the water. Use a soft-bristled brush or sponge to gently scrub away any dirt or grime. Rinse your waders thoroughly and hang them up to dry in a well-ventilated area.


For rubber waders, fill a tub or sink with cool water and add a mild detergent. Turn your waders inside out and submerge them in the water. Use a soft-bristled brush or sponge to gently scrub away any dirt or grime. Rinse your waders thoroughly and hang them up to dry in a well-ventilated area.


In summary, different types of waders require different washing techniques to keep them in good condition. By following these tips, you can keep your waders clean and in top condition.


Steps for correct washing


Cleaning your waders is an essential part of maintaining your fishing gear. Follow these steps to clean your waders effectively:


  1. Fill a large tub or sink with cool water. Do not use hot water, as it can damage the materials.
  2. Add a mild detergent or specialized wader cleaner to the water. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  3. Turn your waders inside out and submerge them in the water. Use a soft-bristled brush or sponge to gently scrub away any dirt or grime.
  4. Pay special attention to any areas where dirt tends to accumulate, such as the knees, thighs, and feet.
  5. Rinse your waders thoroughly with clean water to remove any detergent residue.
  6. Hang your waders up to dry in a well-ventilated area. Do not use a clothes dryer or direct sunlight to dry your waders, as this can damage the materials.
  7. Once your waders are dry, check for any signs of damage, such as tears or leaks. Make any necessary repairs promptly to prevent further damage.


Be sure to clean your waders regularly, especially after fishing in saltwater or areas with heavy sediment or pollution, which will help prevent damage and keep your waders in top condition.


Dry Your Waders Completely


Properly drying your waders is essential to prevent damage from mold, mildew, and other factors. Neglecting to dry them thoroughly can cause mold or mildew to form, especially on the inside of the waders, which not only looks unpleasant but can also cause material failure. Additionally, if you need to send your waders back to the manufacturer for repair or warranty claims, they will not accept them with mold or mildew present.


So how to dry waders properly? Here are some tips to help you dry your waders effectively:


Start by turning your waders inside out to allow the inside to dry completely. Hang your waders up in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. If possible, use a fan or dehumidifier to speed up the drying process. Be sure to let your waders dry completely before storing them.


If you're in a hurry and need to dry your waders quickly, you can use a towel to absorb the excess moisture. Press the towel gently against the waders, being careful not to damage the materials. Then, hang your waders up in a well-ventilated area to finish drying.


Avoid drying your waders in a clothes dryer or using direct heat, as this can damage the materials. It's also important to avoid storing your waders when they're still damp, as this can lead to mold or mildew growth. By following these tips, you can ensure your waders stay in top condition for your next fishing trip.


Store Your Waders Carefully


When it comes to taking care of your waders, it's important to store them properly. Instead of folding them up, try to store them flat or hanging up to avoid any unnecessary stress on the seams and creases. This way, you can avoid any tears or cracks that may happen over time.


If you're planning on storing your waders for the winter, make sure they're completely clean and dry before doing so. Plus, it's best to store them indoors away from the elements to keep them in tip-top shape. If you have no choice but to store them in a shed or garage, you'll want to be extra careful and not leave them in a box on the floor because waders make for a super cozy home for mice during the chilly months of winter.


Dry completely before storing


Before storing your waders, it's crucial to ensure they are thoroughly dried. Any amount of moisture can lead to the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria in the nooks and crannies of your waders, causing damage.


So dry your waders completely, take the time to dry both the inside and outside. While drying the exterior is easy, turning them inside out is necessary to ensure the inside is entirely dry. Although it may seem like a hassle, it's worth it to prevent damage.


Store flat whenever possible


Folds and creases are also detrimental to waders and should be avoided during storage. Creases can become weak spots and result in failure over time. It's best to store waders flat on the ground, especially for long-term storage during the off-season. If storing them flat isn't feasible, slide them under a bed for safekeeping.


If storing them on a hanger in a closet is the only option, be aware that hanging them from the elastic suspenders may cause them to stretch over time. To prevent this, consider using a padded hanger or hanging them from the belt loops instead. By following these storage tips, you can help your waders last longer and remain in excellent condition for future use.


Repair Your Waders Properly


If you notice any punctures or cuts in your waders, it's important to repair them promptly to prevent further damage.


How to repair small punctures



To fix a tiny hole in your waders, follow these simple steps:


First, you need to use a sealant recommended by the manufacturer. Apply it in a thin coat on the inside of your waders and to cover the area surrounding the puncture. This helps the sealant stick better to the fabric.


Once you've applied the sealant, hang the waders to dry inside out. It's important to let the sealant cure for at least 12 to 24 hours before using your waders again. This gives it enough time to set properly and ensure that the hole is completely sealed.


How to repair larger cuts


Fixing larger rips in your waders is possible with a process similar to the one used for repairing punctures, with some slight modifications. Here's how:


  1. Begin by reinforcing the tear with tape. Turn your waders inside out and carefully bring the two sides of the material together, applying tape over the tear. If duct tape is all you have, it will work fine.
  2. Turn your waders right side out and clean the area around the tear.
  3. Apply a generous amount of Aquaseal to the tear and the surrounding 1/8th-inch area.
  4. Allow the Aquaseal to dry and cure for 12 hours.
  5. Turn your waders inside out again, remove the tape from the tear, and apply Aquaseal to the tear from the inside. Allow it to cure.


Here is a video you can click which shows how to fix and patch a pin hole leak in your fishing waders: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfFxWvM-LcA


Cut your toe nails to avoid leaks


Your toenails could damage the inside of your waders. It might sound strange, but it's true. If you want to protect the interior of your waders and avoid damaging the toe area, just remember to keep your toenails trimmed. This is especially important if your waders don't fit perfectly.


Speaking of wader fit, here's another tip for you - always make sure your waders fit well and give you plenty of room to move your toes around. Don't just assume that a pair that looks good on your body shape will be comfortable in the foot area. Take the time to consider your foot size too, and you'll be able to enjoy a comfortable and worry-free fishing experience.


When to replace your waders


Waders are a crucial gear for anglers, but they won't last forever. Here are some signs that it's time to replace your waders:


Persistent leaks: If you notice that your waders are leaking, even after you've repaired them, it may be time to replace them. Continuing to wear leaky waders can cause discomfort, and exposure to cold water can also be dangerous.


Signs of wear and tear (such as holes or fraying): Over time, the materials of your waders will break down and wear out. If you notice significant signs of wear, such as holes, fraying, or cracks, it's probably time to replace them.


Poor fit: If your waders no longer fit properly or are uncomfortable to wear, it may be time to replace them. Ill-fitting waders can cause discomfort, chafing, and even accidents on slippery surfaces.


Replacing your waders is essential for safety, comfort, and effectiveness while fishing. Look for quality waders with the latest technology to ensure a comfortable and successful fishing experience.




Proper wader maintenance is crucial for their longevity and optimal performance.


By following these helpful tips, and the manufacturer's care instructions, you can guarantee that your waders will serve you well for many seasons to come. So don't be afraid to invest in a good pair of waders, knowing that with proper care, they'll last a  long time.


With regular maintenance, you can trust that your waders will be reliable and durable for your next fishing adventure.




How often should I clean my waders?

If you fish frequently or in particularly dirty or muddy conditions, you may need to clean your waders more often.


Can I machine wash my waders?

Machine washing your waders can damage the materials and reduce their effectiveness. It's best to hand wash your waders with a mild detergent and cold water.


Can I use fabric softener on my waders?

Fabric softeners can damage the materials of your waders and reduce their effectiveness, so it's best to avoid using them.


How do I remove stubborn stains from my waders?

It's best to use a specialized wader cleaning solution or spot cleaner. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully and test the solution on a small, inconspicuous area of your waders before applying it to the stain.


Can I use waders in saltwater?

Most waders are designed for use in freshwater, so it's important to check with the manufacturer before using them in saltwater. Saltwater can be more corrosive and damaging to wader materials, so it's important to take extra precautions.


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