Scent Control Above and Beyond

All of your camo has been stored in a scent free tote since the end of last season. You’re thinking a cycle through the washer with scent free detergent and an hour in the dryer to recharge the carbon should get you scent free for opening day. Although that is better than nothing, I challenge you to take a deeper look at your scent control regimen and maybe do some revising.

Scent control is a very popular and heavily discussed topic among us hunters. Some hunters do exactly what I described above and call it good, others take scent control to the next level and still feel like it’s not enough. I happen to fall in the latter category. I take scent control very serious while understanding regardless of what I do, you can never fool a whitetail’s nose.


If you can never fool a whitetail’s nose, then why go so overboard with scent control? Well, I believe that eliminating as much scent as possible may result in a mature buck coming that ten yards closer I need to get a shot, or maybe he’ll linger around an extra five seconds he normally wouldn’t have which provides me with a shot opportunity. I’ll do anything I can to favor my chances of shooting a mature buck. Here are the steps I follow to take my scent control to the next level.

Step 1 – Forget your washer and and dryer. We’re going old school here which requires you to hand wash and line dry your clothing. I use my scent free tote that I store my camo in for this. First thing I do after emptying the tote is spray it down completely in scent killing spray. Next, I fill the tote with water and mix in scent free laundry detergent. After that is mixed, I begin washing my gear. This includes all my camo, my harness, my release, boots, backpacks, bino strap, underwear, socks, and towels. There is no point in a scent free shower if you’re drying off with a scented towel.

Wash Water, Rinse Water, Final Rinse Water

Step 2 – Rinse and rinse. The detergent bonds to the dirt and odor in your gear so it is important to thoroughly rinse everything. I have gone so far as using distilled water for the final rinse. I work in the water treatment industry and there are additives in tap water like chlorine and phosphate which carry an odor. Well water, unless ran through a water filter, will have that well water smell to it as well. Distilled water isn’t cheap but you can get a five gallon jug at Home Depot or Lowes for somewhere near $20.


Step 3 – Air dry everything outside. If you can’t do it outside, hang everything in a well ventilated room with the least amount of free odors. I’d open up some windows and put an oscillating fan on everything.


Step 4 – Spray everything down liberally with your scent eliminating field spray once it is dry. I do this while it is still hanging for ease and so it can dry again after being drenched in spray. I use Scent-A-Away for no other reason than when it’s sprayed I cannot smell anything. Some of those scent killing sprays have a unique odor, and although it is very subtle and natural smelling, I’m not looking for a cover scent.

Step 5 – While everything is on the clothesline, I rinse out my tote I used for washing and spray it down with scent killing spray. Now I am ready to grab all my scent free gear and load it into my scent free tote. Insulated bibs and jackets typically go in first as I won’t be using them for several weeks still. All my light weight gear goes in last so it is right on top.

I’ll sometimes do another wash in late October depending on how much I have hunted and how sweaty I have gotten on the hike in for some hunts. A good way to keep sweating at bay is to always walk to your stand with at least your outer jacket/layers off. You also will stay warmer once your body temp returns to normal if you haven’t sweated out your base layers before your hunt has even started.

Some other tips for your scent control regimen: I have already mentioned how you need to be drying off with scent free towels, which of course means you need to take a scent free shower. If you have the time or opportunity, twice a day is ideal. I’d say you should also be putting on a driving set of scent free clothes if you have a drive to your hunting location (and don’t pump any gas before hunting). Then change outside of your vehicle into your scent free camo before heading to your spot. When your hunt is over, change back into your driving set of scent free clothes before driving off. Your scent free camo should go from your tote to the field and then from the field back into the tote.

Everything needs to be scent free… Think shoes, belts, harness, release…Eliminating breath odors? All I can say is check out There is no proof that it makes your breath undetectable, but using ProFresh and then eating an apple is a great way to neutralize and cover your breath. ProFresh is a mouth wash that eliminates bad breath and leaves no taste or minty smell.

Where I think you can cheat a little is with the driving set of scent free clothes and possibly towels. I’ll use the washer for these but only after I have sprayed the washer and dryer out, ran a cycle with nothing in it but scent free detergent, and then respray before loading. Then I’ll load towels, socks, underwear, and my driving clothes into the washer. I try to line dry these but if it’s raining, I’ll spray out the dryer well and throw the load in with a scent free dryer sheet.

I hope my process may have helped you think about scent control differently. For the record, I am not sponsored by any company that sells scent eliminating products or carbon lined clothing. I actually do not use carbon lined clothing but that is for another day.

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