How to keep neoprene boot from smelling?

Good morning, 1st post, but have been reading board for quite a while. I have a pair of neoprene boots that smell horrible. After use I rinse them with soap and water and I let them dry in the sun. Any ideas? Thanks!

household and otherwise
You can try soaking them in a solution of baking soda and water for a while.

There are commercial cleaners for neoprene. Go to any dive shop.

This question comes up every so often
We do exactly what you do.

It seems to me that I have read in the past to rinse them out with vinegar, but there is no way I will do that. - That smell would be worse !

Jack L

I think you are thinking of mildew smell
Vinegar is for getting mildew smell out. Used that on a backpack once and, yes, the backpack smelled like vinegar for a year.

Mirazyme is for cleaning neoprene. Look online or a dive shop.

For wet shoes/boots rinse with fresh water and dry them with a boot dryer after each use. For my Chotas and NRS Boundary boots, they never get wet inside and I always wear neoprene socks, so they don’t stink. If they do happen to get wet inside–dry them on boot dryer. I paid about $25 for my Peet boot dryer.

I wear socks

– Last Updated: Oct-04-15 10:04 AM EST –

I wear a polypro liner sock inside of a light wool sock. The great thing about wool is that the range of comfortable temperatures is incredible. Wool never feels uncomfortably hot. Each day I start with a clean set of socks. I dry the boots on a boot dryer after every use, no matter how short the time of use. When on a multi-day trip, I dry them the best I can each evening. Take out the sole liner for drying without a boot dryer, and if base camping, propping the boots open at some high location inside the engine compartment of your car works reasonably well (when the car is parked at the end of the day, of course).

There might not be any reason to be afraid of using vinegar, but you need to use a diluted solution and not be lazy about how you do the rinse. Since I've never needed to worry about this with neoprene boots, I'd try Pirate's suggestion first, just to be safe. I don't typically rinse out my light paddling gloves very often, and there have been a few times I've gone to use them and found that they had gotten pretty smelly (a disgusting bacterial smell, not mildew). When that has happened, I've washed them in a solution of white vinegar and water, followed by a thorough rinse in plain water. That not only killed the smell, there was no vinegar smell afterward.

Wool socks
Last year I used neoprene socks with paddling shoes. They got funky but a rinse and spray with Febreeze helped.

Switched this year to 5mm neoprene boots and 74% merino wool mountaineering socks (SmartWool). So far I’ve only rinsed the outside of the boots, not the inside, and not even a hint of stink. Hoping that will be the case for the rest of the season.

My Glacier Gloves get much wetter, inside and out. Wet gloves make my fingers cold, but I’ve finally figured out a way to get them dry overnight: I place a wire balloon whisk in each glove, then stick the ends of each whisk in a forced air heating vent (frosty nights here). They’re dry in the morning; even the curved fingers.

your feet in vinegar

neoprene smell
They need to be washed with soap often. Try putting them in the freezer or leave them outside on a cold night, it kills the bacteria.

Spray can of car deodorizer
Spray it in boots after use. Usually works for me.

While you’re at it, you can also spray your car interior, your other paddling gear, your mongrel dog and, optionally, your paddling companion.

I got a bottle of this a couple of years ago and still have quite a bit left. I keep the bottle in a tall plastic bucket in my gear staging area and whenever I come back from paddling I wash my neoprene gear (including my neoprene boots) in a delicate cycle cold water wash with regular detergent in the washing machine, then saturate each item in the bucket with a couple capfuls of the Mirazyme and set them out to dry. I always stick a short piece of foam pool noodle (the kind with the hole in the middle) in each boot to help them dry on the inside. So far no neoprene funk.


– Last Updated: Oct-04-15 6:41 PM EST –

here's a chart

cycling and hiking, polyester clothing and socks are often complained of by users bathing once or twice a month. Poly may develop problems releasing oils harboring bacteria using regular detergents.

Answer is skip the detergent and agitator washers instead use dilute dishwasher liquid (Palmolive here) with surfactants and .25 cup depending on severity of soils, of isopropyl alcohol. The alcohol kills the bacteria and aids in removing oils.

Chart indicates iso is OK for check for an OK on neo adhesive.

don’t put them near your nose.

Sink-the Stink
available at most dive shops. Great stuff. Read/abide by the label.

Dr. Bronner’s
Pure Castile Liquid Soap for the barefoot-type boot.

Know someone who swears by full strength dump into the boot, insert foot and wear all day. Says is works wonders for the smell and for baby-soft feet. I wouldn’t know about the feet, but you can try it for the smell.

Wear socks - helps a lot

– Last Updated: Oct-10-15 6:05 AM EST –

There is a noticeable reduction in smell when I wear socks. So I almost always do. I just use some old pairs of regular dress socks that fit nice and tight and are low-cut, nothing special.

Wash the booties with clean water after use and let dry in the sun, ideally. That pretty much leaves them smelling weak enough to put in an open gear box in the car with me and not notice they are there. They smell much worse if worn without socks (I guess more of my skin is left inside to rot when barefoot)...

Edit: I should say the above works well for day trips. I don't do multi-days, so no idea if it will work as good if your booties never fully dry over the course of a few days...

Nothing like the smell of wet neoprene
while driving home after a fun day on the river.

I don’t know if there is much you can do about the smell - I hang it to dry, and it usually takes care of itself.

Here’s what I do. I keep a bucket of
tap water in the trunk of my car. When I get off the river, I rinse my neo booties in the clean water and throw them in the trunk. That it. Never had the problem again.