The Ultimate Guide to Wading Gear Care

The Ultimate Guide to Wading Gear Care

Proper Wader Care and Storage

Proper care and storage practices are critical to the lifespan of your wading gear. Dirt, mold and bacterial will, over time, break down the threads, adhesives and the waterproof barrier that is applied to the outside of wader fabrics.

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Breathable wader fabrics are not naturally waterproof, instead they are breathable fabric layers that are chemically coated to repel water. Seam tapes are applied with adhesive to create waterproof seams. Waders require proper cleaning and care to keep these components in good working condition. Likewise, wading boots and other wading gear products are manufactured using adhesives and threads and are subject to similar care and storage requirements.

Exposing your wading gear to prolonged extreme temperatures or excessive temperature fluctuations can lead to the degeneration of your wading gear.

See related image detailAdhesives expand when heated and contract when cooled.  When exposed to prolonged extreme temperatures a reduction of adhesion occurs by causing the glues to separate from the product materials. For this reason, you should never store your gear in a car for prolonged periods of time. Likewise, prolonged exposure of gear to direct sunlight can also cause adhesive degeneration.

While your body and movements provide ventilation and temperature regulation of your gear while you are wearing them, when not wearing them, the gear may become more susceptible to the absorption of heat when exposed to to extreme temperatures and/or direct sunlight- particularly for prolonged periods of time.  This exposure and temperature absorption can cause irreparable damage to adhesives and materials.

To ensure an extended lifespan of your waders, we recommend the following care and storage procedures:

Transporting Wet Gear

After a day out on the water, keep a bin or container in your vehicle to place wet gear in. Place boots on the bottom and loosely lay the wader on the top.

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  • DO NOT place a lid on or seal any storage device with wet gear inside.
  • Leaving the gear open to air circulation will help allow gear to dry in the case that you accidentally forget to remove your gear from the vehicle, a common mistake among users.


 Rinse After Use

When returning home, gear should always be rinsed with a hose or in the shower to remove soil, microorganism’s, bacteria, sweat and body oils.

  • Please be aware that felt sole wading boots are not the only products that can cross—contaminate waters. Microorganisms and bacteria can attach to the surface or crevices of any wading gear that is worn in nature, particularly in a wet environment.

After rinsing, lay waders over a chair or railing to air-dry for 12 hrs. Turn the wader inside out and allow the inside to air-dry for 24 hours or until no dampness can be felt. When thoroughly dry, turn the wader right side out and hang in a well-ventilated room with natural light.

For boots, rinse well and allow to drain by leaning them upside down for 24 hours before placing upright to finish drying. This will speed up the drying process. Padded removable insoles should be removed from boots to air-dry separately.

Quick Care

If the inside of the wader is dry and does not need rinsed, hang or lay your wader out to dry- ensuring that the inside of wader is open to the air to allow moisture to evaporate. Rinsing the outside is always recommended, however, if soiling is light or rinsing is not accessible, make sure to air-dry the outside thoroughly between uses.


Wading gear should always be stored in a well-lit, well-ventilated room, out of direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.

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Dark rooms such as musty basements, with low ventilation will create a perfect breeding ground for mold and fungus spores to grow in your wading gear. Never store your gear in a sealed container. If stored in a container, make sure the gear is laid loosely to allow ventilation throughout the surface and never put a lid on it. The best practice is to hang waders, making sure the inside of the wader is gaped open to allow air circulation.

  • For extended storage periods, ensure that the gear is clean to prevent dirt, oils, bacteria and mold from dry rotting the materials and threads.

Revitalizing Your Waders

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As previously mentioned, breathable wader fabrics are not naturally waterproof, instead they are breathable fabric layers that are chemically coated to repel water. This applied chemical coating is called a durable water repellent or DWR treatment. This coating wears away with use and sometimes can be prematurely worn down by chemical exposures such as deet in insect repellent. The good news is that you can revitalize this waterproof barrier by applying a DWR treatment which is available from various DWR brand manufacturers.

We recommend that frequent anglers apply a treatment after every season in which they heavily use their gear. For moderate use anglers, we recommend a treatment once per year, and once every two years for light use anglers. Always apply after a deep cleaning and follow the DWR manufacturer instructions for use as they vary by brand.

  • DWR treatments can be used to revitalize the fabrics of many outdoor gear products such as rain jackets, tackle bags and tents.

Final Note

While manufacturing companies are commonly blamed for the premature failing of wading gear products (and this does sometime occur), the majority of cases end up being user created due to improper care, use and/or storage. You can prevent this occurrence and extend the lifespan of your gear by developing good gear care practices and remaining vigilant in following manufacturers recommendations. Always check with gear manufacturers for cleaning, revitalization, and storage recommendations prior to implementing.

Miss Mayfly Wading Gear Cleaning Instructions

Warning: Do not place waders in washing machine, do not dry in dryer, do not iron, do not use harsh chemicals, do not use a scrub brush.

  1. Fill a water tight receptacle (e.g. bin, storage container or bathtub) with warm water. If a bin or container is used- we recommend outside usage utilizing a hose.
  2. Add and mix wader cleaner as directed by manufacturer.  Dawn dish soap can also be used.
  3. Submerge wader in receptacle. Agitate to make sure water/cleaner enters the inside of the wader, and the majority of wader is submerged.
  4. Soak 20 minutes for light soil. Soak up to one hour for extensive soiling.
  5. Remove wader from bin, holding the wader upside down to drain excess water from the inside of wader. If using a bathtub-  drain tub before draining water from wader.
  6. Lay wader over the back of a chair or railing. If in a bathtub- lay wader flat. Do not hang the dripping wader as the weight could cause stretching and damage to the materials.
  7. Rub the wader, fabric to fabric, by folding over a piece of the fabric onto itself. Rub fabric back and forth and for stubborn, areas, rub in circular motions. Do not rub the inside membrane. Only rub the outer fabric. Continue to rub until soil appears to be lifting. For stubborn stains, apply straight Dawn Antibacterial Dish Soap or Dawn Platinum Power Wash can be used sparingly. Flip the wader and rub the opposite side.
  8. Using a hose or shower head, rinse the outside of wader until no soap or bubbles are present. Rinse underneath the boot guards and up inside the double layers on the legs. Rinse inside zipper pocket, outside zipper pocket and inside the hand warmer pocket.
  9. Turn wader inside out. Rinse until all soap is removed.
  10. Lay wader over a chair or railing. Allow the inside of wader to dry thoroughly (about 12 hours)-  flipping front to back as needed.
  11. Turn wader right side out and allow outside of wader to dry at least 24 hours- flipping front to back as needed.
  12. When dry- turn the wader inside out one more time and allow it to air dry for 24 hours or until no dampness can be felt.
  13. Turn wader right side out- ensuring that it is completely dry.

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