Betadine; The Ultimate Scent Killer

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Being a bowhunting I've always been fanatical about scent control.  Whether it's sprays, carbon clothing etc. I've tried it.  The best thing that I have found for eliminating human scent is Betadine.  It's been used in hospitals and homes for decades as a defense against infections on minor scrapes and burns.  It can typically be found near the pharmacy in any of the major "one stop shop" stores, and a bottle will last multiple hunting seasons.

Before every hunt possible I will shower and scrub every inch of my body with a liberal amount of betadine on a washcloth.  What this accomplishes is to kill the odor producing bacteria that lives on your skin.  With the bacteria eliminated you can sweat profusely without any body odor (could come in handy on a first date too!).  Being that it is an iodine based solution it does have an odor of it's own, so I always follow up the betadine scrub with a scent free soap.

Hope this helps you get a little bit closer to your quarry this fall.


groovy mike's picture

a little more information out there for the readers

S8shooter, et al –


Just to throw a little more information out there for the readers FYI any Betadine that I have ever encountered (and this is only in a hospital setting) was not only iodine based but had an iodine content high enough that it would stain your skin bright yellow like iodine.                 


This was brown liquid used for scrubbing the body area where a surgery incision was going to go.  It’s basically an iodine scrub.  You are one hundred percent correct that it will kill bacteria – hence its medical use – but besides dyeing your skin yellow as you said it has that antiseptic / hospital small and I don’t know as it would be helpful to a hunt unless you showered afterwards – so I don’t know if carrying a Betadine soaked wash cloth to freshen up with in the back country would necessarily be a good idea.  Maybe someone makes a clarified and / or scent free version but if so I haven’t encountered it.    


Do we have any insider knowledge form our site members who are professionals in the medical field?

arrowflipper's picture

I didn't know

Good tip.  I didn't even know something like that existed.  I know that scent control is a huge issue where I hunt elk.  The wind is swirling in all directions and you can't rely on always being up-wind.  This is something that I will give a try.  What can it hurt?  I've taken more than my fair share of COLD baths in a mountain lake just to stay clean.  Maybe I can use this with a washcloth instead of splashing around in the frigid water.

thanks for the tip.

hunter25's picture

An interesting tip and should

An interesting tip and should sure be worth giving a try. I did not even know what the stuff was until reading this tip. I have never used any scent control products in the past just relied on watching the wind.

This makes sense is simple and sounds like it's cheaper than many less effective products.

numbnutz's picture

great insight, thanks

great insight, thanks

Critter's picture

I might have to give it a try

I might have to give it a try if I can find any

ManOfTheFall's picture

Sounds good.

Sounds good.

Alpine_Archer's picture

great tip!

This stuff works wanders. I  sweat alot  here in FL and scent control is a bigger factor because of that. By the time I reach my tree to climb I'm drenched in sweat. I usually carry a backpack with an extra shirt. No amount of scent cover spray or eliminator will get rid of the smell like betadine.

As a medical field

As a medical field professional sounds like a great tip. I would skip that step and just shower with a scent killer. It will work for a day and you will be clean but you will be back to step one the next day

groundhog's picture

scent killer

Interesting tip and makes total scents, that it would work!

bigalwapiti's picture


I have never heard of this before. How much does this cost compared to the scent control on the market? So use it everyday, followed up with scent free soap?

Str8shooter's picture


I don't remember the exact cost but I believe that a good sized bottle cost me around 5 bucks.  Any pharmacy will cary it, I usually just ask the clerk to point me to the betadine.  I'll be soaking some cotton shop towels in betadine and keeping them in a ziplock for my backcountry mulie hunt this year, figure it will make a good addition to my meager first aid kit(cleaning any wounds I may get) and it should help me keep the funk down.