Neoprene Bootie Odor

As I do a lot of wade-fishing while kayaking I need foot protection, and neoprene booties work well, with one major exception. After wearing them a few times the odor can get really bad. I have tried different boot manufacturers, and all sorts of washing and cleaning products (including Lysol spray, vinegar, baking soda, etc.), but nothing has been very effective. And no, it doesn’t seem to be my feet.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there may not be an effective cleaning or deodorizing product. Anyone have any recommendations for an odor-free alternative to neoprene.


There are cleaners sold to take the smell out of neoprene and some people swear by them. Sink the stink is one that comes to mind. I’ve had plain vinegar work well for me. Leave it for at least 12 hours, a few hours soak won’t do it.

air conditioner
Put them upside down on the air conditioner outside unit after rinsing them in fresh water. The air flow dries them quick. I just buy cheap ones and through them out. Product called sink the stink at dive shops, could try vinegar water mix or baking soda and water, then sprinkle in baking soda. Good luck, John

Carry a pail of clean drinking water.
As soon as you take them off, rinse them throughly in the bucket, completely submirsing them. Works every time and costs almost nothing.

It’s very simple
- Wear socks. They help keep dead skin cells and skin oil from getting into your footwear. That’s what bacteria that cause the odor feed on.

  • Rinse your footwear after EVERY use.

  • Dry your footwear COMPLETELY after every use. If need be, you can stuff them with newspaper initially to speed the process, then let them air dry.

    You don’t need expensive washing products or any other treatments if you stick with these basics.

ditto on the socks
Wearing socks fixes 90% of the problem for me. I try to rinse them and dry them as well between uses, but that isn’t always possible. Sometimes they just sit wet in the back of my truck for a couple days between uses, and the smell is fine.

But if I don’t wear socks for a couple days . . . look out!

Mouth wash
Mint. Add to each bootie, swish around, let stand a few minutes. Works like a charm.

Stinky Booty Cure
As a scuba diver, I learned long ago that the only way to prevent stinky booties is to always, always wear clean socks every time you put them on. Thorough cleaning and drying of booties is still required (turn wrongside out to dry if possible), but half the battle is won if you wear clean socks every day.

Phew …SOX YES add
Newspaper… I stuff mine with newspaper and it seems to absorb any odor… Give it a try… !

Wash and dry

– Last Updated: Sep-06-10 9:30 AM EST –

Wash and dry them after every use.

Rinse them out. Put in a couple spritzes of simple green and fill with sudsy water. Let 'em sit for 5 or 10 minutes, then rinse clean and store them so they dry.

Once the stink gets a foot hold it's hard to get rid of.

Neoprene Odors
Many thanks for all the feedback. Sounds like some combination of vinegar, mouthwash, and socks should work. I’ll happily try them all to get rid of the odor.

Go to…

– Last Updated: Sep-06-10 6:01 PM EST –

Go to the archives.

Type in neoprene boots as the subject.
Search all messages & all forums.
If you try different words with neoprene(stinky neoprene/smelly neoprene/cleaning neoprene/neoprene boot stink/etc) as the subject, there is no telling how many responses you can find. Maybe 100s? The subject comes up at least once a year, usually more.

There is one old thread there that has 20 suggestions for stinky neoprence boots. Neoprene boot odor got 11 hits. Smelly paddling shoes got 26 hits. Add those to what you already have & your boots should be smelling sweet again soon.


i rinse mine in fresh water when i get
home and then use the boot/glove dryer…works like a charm and no odor.

I rinse mine with dilute bleach ,dry
threm in the sun if possible. Or stuff with newspaper for a couple of hours. The newspaper absorbs most of the water.

Rinse & Bake I n The Sun
I rinse them well with fresh water (blast them with the hose inside and out)after each use and let them sit out in the hot sun for a few days until they smell clean.

Just chlorinated water

I just fill mine with the chlorinated town water and let it soak for about an hour. Then I hang them so they drain out and eventually dry. I do not put them in the sun anymore. I used, but found it’s not necessary. They don’t stink.

stinky booties
I have a pair of NRS Kickers that get pretty stinky. I just toss them in the washer by themselves every few weeks. More frequent if you use them more.

Bar soap and sunshine
I’ve used rubbing alcohol, weak bleach solution, shampoo, SimpleSolution (pet mess enzyme solution), and probably something else I’ve forgotten about.

All of them help reduce odor, but the method that I’ve settled on is to simply wash the booties after every use with Dial soap and water, then rinse and put out in the intense Rocky Mtn. sun to dry.

Wash them ASAP when you get home, not the next morning, or the stink will have started. Also, avoid noticeably smelly water in the first place.

I’ve left my booties unwashed–with no bad aftereffects–in places like Yellowstone Lake and Shoshone Lake on camping trips, but such clean, cold water is unusual.

My archived version
Put the Tide soap inside and wear them for a few minutes as you clean the other gear when you get back to get the now smell out.

Then rinse, invert and or turn inside out. Putting them in the sun is even better … Once they drain go back out and set them up open and right side up so the air and moisture inside can waft out.