How to clean waders and boots

How to clean waders and boots | 10 Easy Steps

Wader is apparel used to be worn by anglers that carry out fishing in water bodies. Along with that, wading boots are also used to keep aquatic life away. Both wader and boots protect the body from invasive species and plants. Since a reservoir contains dust, grit, microbes, larvas, etc; the angling dress likely gets some share of these things on it and therefore their washing is necessary. But many people don’t know how to clean waders and boots. In this view, a complete method of their cleaning has been presented below that can be used at home without purchasing any additional washing agents. 

Why should you clean your wader gear?

Research shows that anglers get aquatic invasive species with them in their waders and  fishing boots that act as breeding grounds for microbes. Amongst invasives, some of the species that can survive out of the water have been found to cause whirling disease in the trout if the anglers are not having the wading boot clean in the next use.  

Why to clean waders and boots?
Why to clean waders and boots?

Not only this, but they also carry the same mud again into the water body. If such mud keeps on coming by uncleaned boots, a plethora of dirt and grit can gather there that is not favorable. 

Besides them, it is also likely that uncleaned waders and boots become harmful to the angler itself. Although not evident by any research, the pathogens should never be compromised especially when stuck in a reservoir. 

Given all these reasons, it is very necessary to clean waders boots.  

How to clean waders and boots – 10 Easy Steps

1. Soak wader in detergent mixed water 

To clean waders, you at first have to remove large particles and material visible on the waders such as bushes, plants, dirt chunks, etc. You can either remove them by hand or use a brush to detach them gently. Be mindful that harsh scrubbing can affect the water repellent ability so be soft in rubbing.

Thereafter, get some lukewarm water in a bucket and mix some washing powder. Soak the wader in that solution for some time so all the dirt and unwanted material get softened to get detached. 

Use detergent-mixed water to clean wading gear
Use detergent-mixed water to clean wading gear

2. Clean inside and outside well  

Whilst soaking, rub the wader thoroughly in the detergent solution. Do not forget to turn the inside out so you may not leave any micro species resting inside. 

It is pretty noteworthy that aquatic species get into the angling costume through minor spaces and make a breeding ground there. This way it is utterly essential to clean waders from the outer as well as the inner side. 

3. Rinse and let it air dry 

Use clean water in a separate container to rinse the wader properly. You can also use a water pipe to get detergent off. For that, hang it where drying will be carried out. With a water pipe, remove all the detergent from inside and outside. 

Once it is rinsed, leave it air dry. 

4. Sweep the dirt off the wading boots  

Since this write-up is subject to how to clean waders and boots so after the waders it’s time to clean the boots now. So, like a wader, take the grit off the boots by shaking or sweeping with the help of a brush. This will assist in removing soil and thick moist dust layers off the sole that otherwise make the detergent-mixed water very muddy. In such dirty water, you won’t be able to clean out the shoes well so must do this step prior to cleaning.

Getting wading boots clean
Getting wading boots clean

5. Separate individual components of boots

As mentioned earlier in the section “why to clean waders and boots”, aquatic species are likely to grow in the warm, damp, and moist conditions that commonly prevail on the insole as well as nooks and crooks of wading boots. This deduces that cleaning each part is very crucial or else your footwear will become a ground of microbes. 

With that in mind, it is suggested to remove the insole, sole, ankle guard, booties, and laces. 

6. Soak in either detergent-mixed water or hot water

One method is to place all the components alongside wading shoes in that very detergent-mixed water in which the wader was soaked and let them be there for some time. Additionally, if your wading boots are very dirty, a tong can also be used for handling.  

Another method is to use very hot water (temperature up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit) in a tub and place them there. This is because a hot environment is deadly for invasives and they get killed in extreme conditions. 

7. Use a soft brush for cleaning 

In case of hot water soaking, take the wading boots out of the water with a tong and leave for some time until they are at room temperature. 

If you have placed them in a detergent solution, let them in and perform further cleaning. 

In both situations, the next step is to use a vegetable brush or a small soft brush on the separated sole, insole, laces, ankle guard, and the shoes itself to have the wading boot clean from all the dirt, contamination, and microorganisms. Use q-tips for hard-to-reach channels and ensure proper cleaning there. 

Use shoe brush to clean wading boots from inside and outside
Use a shoe brush to clean wading boots from inside and outside

Advisably, if you start scrubbing, it will fade the shine of shoes and make them look blemished eventually, so use the brush with a soft hand.  

Till now you have almost learned how to clean waders and boots. Now you are left with three quick steps and then you are all set to go for the next round. 

8. Rinse the shoes and components properly 

The next step is washing that can be done either with water in a bucket, hose, or water pipe. Better to rinse in a large channel with a good quantity of water. 

Important tip: If you are a discerning angler, disinfection of shoes can also be carried out by spraying a disinfectant spray all around the footwear. 

However, in the case of hot water washing disinfection is not needed as the water is enough to clean boots

9. Place under the sun for drying

It is a commonly asked question “how to dry wading boots”. This is to say that the hot and cold conditions are vulnerable for aquatic invasives to survive anymore. Although you have flushed away all of them during washing, proper drying is still needed to eradicate any bacterial activity. 

For that purpose, you can either place the wading boots in the fridge at a very low temperature or expose them to the sun whose UV rays will kill all the invasives effectively. It will also become a sort of disinfection to avert any threat posed by germs. 

10. Reassemble the boots

The final step is the joining back of all the detached components. Be careful in assembling or else a loose part can put you in dutch during angling.

Store your clean boots and wader in the cabinet for the next use. 


Q: How to dry wading boots?

A: Since they are subject to aquatic invasive species that are needed to be killed regardless of getting removed in rinsing, you need to place them either in very hot or cold conditions.

Therefore, keep them either under the sun or in the fridge respectively. Exposure to the sun implies that disinfection will also take place and the fishing boots from inside will also get dried. 

Q: What do I need to clean the waders and boots?

A: You don’t need to rush at the expensive agents, rather use a readily available washing powder at home. Along with that, you need clean water and a brush only. Use these things to clean out your wading gear. 

Q: How can I increase my wading gear’s life?

A: Clean it regularly to keep it unblemished. 

  • Wash manually instead of in the machine. 
  • Wash the inner side too along with the outer side.
  • Dry the wader with air instead of the sun. 
  • But dry boots under the sun instead of air for pathogen killing. 

Q: Are aquatic species susceptible to wading gear?

A: Yes they can grow inside if wader and boots are not washed properly. Further, some of the invasives cause whirling disease in trout so it is crucial to clean the wading gear very well before you again to the fishing site.


It has been comprehensively explained how to clean waders and boots in 10 quick steps at home. No fancy cleaning agents have been recommended, rather you can use any cleaning detergent available at home.

This is the reason that additional money is also not needed to be spent to clean waders boots as recommended by some people. Give it a shot and let us know with your feedback. 

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