Swamp smell from gear

One of my pieces of gear made with nylon was apparently wet when I put it away in my car and it now stinks with that effervescent musty smell. Any suggestions to get rid of it???

Thanks in advance for your help,


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Wear it to church next Sunday
Guaranteed you will get a seat where ever you want to.

My car has that smell, my water shoes have that smell and I usually have that smell

Jack L

Wash it well and dry it thoroughly…
…by letting it sit in the sun.

Is the greatest anti microbial treatment ever. Well not really, but it is free and it usually works.

Ryan L.

I’ve had good results soaking smelly shoes in vinegar and water. A few hours is not enough. Let it sit overnight, then wash and hang to dry in the sun. Cheap and it worked well for me.

I’ve had this problem with tents
Washing and drying in the sun, lots and lots of sun, will definitely help as long as you don’t leave it out overnite and it gets wet from the dew and you gotta start over. But it’s kind of relative because with my tents it never goes away completely. Never heard of the Myrazyme, now I gotta find some this weekend and give that a try.

Sun - UV damage- rip - tear - faster
Nothing like the sun to ““damage”” all that gear

UltraViolet radiation is harsh compared to enzymes.

Similar product from NRS - “Sink the Stink”


Hey, I’ll admit letting gear dry is crucial.

Rinsing as much organic matter off with hose is important

I stand behind the enzyme method for smell combat.

Sodium Bicarbonate
Available at your local chemical supply retailer under the brand name “Arm & Hammer.”

Mix up a batch of baking soda water and soak. Not too strong, it may bleach. But it’s great for destinkifying.


Musty isn’t the word for it
Nylon items that have gotten wet and been left closed up to fester don’t smell musty. They reek horribly like puke!

Very tough to get rid of that stench but you can reduce it. Look up “tent stink” and wash with the recommended mix of lemon juice and salt. There’s more to it than that–IIRC it was a two-stage process, with different washing agents. Then hang out to dry in the sun.

I treated a tent that sat in my previous truck’s steel toolbox for years, after getting wet from a leaking topper window just above the toolbox. When I took it out, I about fell over from the foul odor. Had to throw away the rain jacket and pants but I wanted to salvage the tent.

I got most of the stink out after two treatments. Not all of it. Maybe you can eliminate it given that your item didn’t fester for as long. Good luck!

Smelly gear
Call a few dive shops and ask for a bottle of “Sink the Stink”. It’s an emzyme that eats the bacteria that causes the smell. It works great on neoprene and other smelly stuff. A few drops in a gallon of cold water, rinse for a couple of minutes, then hang without rinsing.

Enzyme cleaners

– Last Updated: Sep-09-11 10:50 PM EST –

Enzyme applications in detergents trump """"remedies"""

Enzymes catalyze the breakdown of soils and stain materials at lower temperatures (i.e. cold water)

Enzymes act as catalysts
(used repeatedly to speed up chemical reactions without themselves being depleted)

Not harsh on your gear, your hands, or your budget
-- effective, less time wasted experimenting

Home laundry has enzymes in it already targeted
for food items, grass, etc., etc.
Because stains are made of different types of molecules,
a range of enzymes are needed to break them down.
Proteases break down proteins, so are good for
blood, egg, gravy, and other protein stains.
Amylases break down starches, and lipases break
down fats and grease.

Once you’ve gotten rid of the odor…
…you don’t need the sun treatment, as long as you allow the gear to dry thoroughly after rinsing.

Yes detergent.
I was going to say regular dish detergent will do the job perfectly.

Then let it dry in the sun.

Thank You All For Your Help!
Thank you all for your suggestions. I have an NRS rope in a pouch with an emergency release that is the culprit of the worst offenders. I let it dry out in the sun and most of the smell is now gone (totally awesome). I am nervous about UV damaging my gear though. So I am going to try to find that sink the stink stuff when I have the cash to buy it.

I guess this smell is likely the same smell that is called the wetsuit stink. Yuk!

For now I may try the vinegar or baking soda regime next, because I am kind of broke at the moment from buying a third (a second hard shell) kayak, because I was so ticked about this stink. It almost smells like a cigar shop moved into my car, but thank God its almost gone. I figured by getting a guest hard shell kayak, I may avoid the stink problem from the inflatable kayak and gear (luckily using clean tap water and paper towels to wipe off the crud cured the inflatable’s smell).

Everyone forewarned me about kayaking addiction, lol. You buy one thing and then another and another and then wow look, I just spent X grand on gear and kayaks.

Anyone else have this problem?

But eventually you get enough stuff to sell and get other stuff. You get good at finding deals and used stuff. I am currently fighting a new urge for a new type of boat.

Ryan L.


is what I’ve used. While it will work on mildewy smells it works best on that lovely polypro-BO smell.