How to keep Rubber Hunting Boots from smelling?

This is very common issue among people that their boots smell. Are your rubber hunting boots starting to emit unpleasant odours that make you wrinkle your nose? Fear not!

This guide will examine practical strategies to keep rubber hunting boots from smelling. Whether you’re an avid hunter or an occasional outdoors person, dealing with smelly boots can be a nuisance. Let’s jump right in and discover how to tackle this standard problem head-on.

Why do rubber boots smell so bad?

Shoes are commonly assumed to smell because of the sweat on our feet. While perspiration is undoubtedly a factor, the true culprit is bacteria. Sweat is odourless. The smell comes from the acidic waste produced after bacteria break down sweat. 

Without bacteria feeding on your sweat, your feet and muck boots would not smell. Sweat from your feet creates moist and salty conditions in which bacteria thrive. The bacteria also consume dead cells and oils from your feet. With such ideal conditions, bacteria multiply. 

But where do these bacteria come from? 

Bacteria are found all around us, including in the human body. It thrives, particularly in warm, moist, protein-rich environments. Damp, enclosed feet provide an ideal environment for bacteria to reproduce and multiply. Muck boots smell bad because they provide nearly perfect conditions for growing bacteria. 

But where do these bacteria come from

And it all comes down to the boots’ material and design. Muck boots produce an excessive odour due to the rubber’s lack of breathability. While this makes the shoes waterproof, it traps heat and causes your feet to sweat more. 

The ‘boot’ design makes it difficult for the feet to breathe, sweat less, and allow heat to escape. This results in more bacteria, producing a more pungent, intense odour. 

How to Clean and Remove Odor from Muck Boots (5 Ways That Work)

Before your partner throws those muck boots away in disgust or the dog drags them out, here are five ways to stop the odour:

1. Use baking soda to neutralize the odour

Baking powder is the mother of all remedies. It is a versatile household staple that is commonly used to leaven bread.

 Efforts include laundry whitening, breath freshening, weed control, carpet stain removal, kitchen surface cleaning and disinfection, and pesticide removal from produce. 

1. Use baking soda to neutralize the odour

Baking soda can also remove odours from refrigerators, garbage cans, and shoes. To remove the odour from your muck boots, place two spoonfuls of baking soda on a thin cloth and secure it with thread or a rubber band. Once that is done, place one sachet in each muck boot.

 As an amphoteric compound, bicarbonate of soda can work as both a base and an acid, converting acidic and alkaline molecules into neutral-smelling sodium salts. As a result, the compound reduces unpleasant odours. Some people prefer to sprinkle baking soda inside their muck boots liberally.

2. Wash the boots in a soda and vinegar solution

 A simple dusting with bicarbonate of soda may only sometimes be sufficient to remove odour from muck boots. In that case, washing the muck boots with vinegar-treated water and neutralizing any remaining odour with baking soda may suffice. 

Spray the insides of the boots with a water and vinegar solution and allow them to sit for a few minutes before washing them in soapy water. 

You can use this routine to prevent odours when you clean your muck boots. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which shares some properties with baking soda. It is a natural sanitizer that kills bacteria and neutralizes odours. You can use the same properties to clean, disinfect, and deodorize your muck boots. 

Wash the boots in a soda and vinegar solution

To make the water and vinegar solution, fill a bottle with equal vinegar and water and shake vigorously to combine. Spray the solution inside the muck boots and wait a few minutes before wiping them down with a washcloth. 

After you’ve washed and rinsed your muck boots, sprinkle baking soda inside to help remove any remaining odour. Baking soda is also a hygroscopic substance that absorbs moisture, allowing your shoes to dry and prevent bacteria growth. 

3. Use Sink the Stink to disinfect the boots

Sometimes, the Stink from your muck boots is so bad that it requires something far more potent than natural odour neutralizers like vinegar and baking soda. Sink the Stink is a product that many muck boot owners swear by. 

 Sink the Stink is marketed as a deodorizer for neoprene wetsuits but is also effective for neoprene rubber boots. The product’s Amazon listing describes it as a synergistic mixture of four particular odour-destroying bacteria cultures activated when diluted in warm water. 

 Sink the Stink is hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and biodegradable, making it safe to use on hands. Because the product is highly concentrated, it must be diluted with water first. For best results, wash rubber boots in vinegar-treated water. Then, dilute ½ of Sink the Stink in 10 gallons of warm water and soak for 5-10 minutes. 

Use Sink the Stink to disinfect the boots

 You must understand how to clean neoprene rubber boots properly. We recommend hand washing the shoes in a large washbasin rather than attempting to save time by putting them in the washing machine. Don’t rinse the rubber boots after soaking them in Sink the Stink. 

Hang them so that all the water drains. To avoid standing water inside the shoes, hang them upside down. As they dry, the odour should vanish. 

4. Use an odor-neutralizing bleach

Muck boots can smell bad because it has been a while since they last been washed. More frequent cleaning of the shoes would prevent the Stink from recurring, but the more immediate solution could be to soak the shoes in bleach specially formulated for fighting odours. 

OxiClean Odor Blasters Odor & Stain Remover Powder, as the name implies, works incredibly well. Unlike Sink the Stink, this product attacks dirt, stains, and harsh odours simultaneously. 

OxiClean is chlorine-free and colour-safe, so it is gentle on your skin and removes only dirt and odour from your rubber boots. 

It’s also scented, so your rubber boots will smell fresh. Soak muck boots overnight for the best results when dirty and stinky. Some people let theirs soak for several days before washing and rinsing them in clean water. 

Though not claimed by the manufacturer, several people have reported that clothes washed with OxiClean do not smell as bad when reused. I didn’t find any reviews from people who claimed the same with muck boots, but this demonstrates how effective the ‘odor blaster’ is. 

5. Apply an odor-masking spray

If you have recently washed your boots and they aren’t too dirty to clean, an odour-neutralizing spray is a quick way to remove odour from muck boots without washing them. 

Numerous products on the market claim to neutralize strong odours, but many are ineffective against a properly stinky muck boot. According to our research, Febreze Fabric Refresher is one of those that works. Febreze is designed for large, non-washable items such as pillows, carpets, and sofas. You can also add muck boots to that list. 

That is a valid question that many people have asked. According to the product’s instructions for use, it appears to mask odours primarily. It achieves this by forming an oily film that traps odours. The manufacturer recommends spraying the smelly item until it is damp and then allowing it to dry; at this point, the spray’s zesty smell should replace the bad smell.


  1. Why do rubber hunting boots smell so bad?

Rubber hunting boots develop unpleasant odours primarily due to bacterial growth fueled by sweat and dead skin cells trapped in the boots’ moisture-rich environment.

  1. How can I effectively remove odour from my rubber hunting boots?

There are several effective methods for cleaning and deodorizing rubber hunting boots, including using baking soda, washing with a vinegar solution, utilizing products like Sink the Stink, using odour-neutralizing bleach, or applying an odour-masking spray.

  1. How does baking soda help neutralize odours in rubber hunting boots?

Baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda, acts as an amphoteric compound, capable of neutralizing acidic and alkaline molecules, effectively reducing unpleasant odours when placed inside the boots or used as a cleaning agent.

  1. Can vinegar be used to clean and deodorize rubber hunting boots?

Yes, vinegar, containing acetic acid, serves as a natural sanitizer that kills bacteria and neutralizes odours. It can be mixed with water and sprayed inside the boots before washing with soapy water.

  1. What is Sink the Stink, and how does it help disinfect rubber hunting boots?

Sink the Stink contains odour-destroying bacteria cultures that activate when diluted in warm water. It eliminates odours from rubber boots by soaking them in a diluted solution for a few minutes.

  1. Is there a quick fix for removing odours from rubber hunting boots without washing them?

Yes, an odour-neutralizing spray like Febreze Fabric Refresher can quickly mask odours in rubber hunting boots without requiring a complete wash. However, it primarily masks odours rather than eliminating them.


To keep your rubber hunting boots smelling fresh, knowing the root cause of the odour and tackling it effectively is crucial. 

Bacteria thrive in moist environments created by sweat inside the shoes, leading to unpleasant smells. Several methods can help combat this issue. Baking soda proves effective in neutralizing odours, while a solution of vinegar and water can sanitize and deodorize the boots. 

Sink the Stink offers a powerful solution for stubborn odours, and odour-neutralizing bleach can be effective for deep cleaning. 

Additionally, odour-masking sprays like Febreze can provide a quick fix. Incorporating these strategies into your boot maintenance routine ensures that your rubber hunting boots stay fresh and odour-free for all outdoor adventures.

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