Do UV Killer Sprays Really work? See my results!

UV Killer Sprays and the Results

Getting your hunting camo washed in a UV Brightener Detergent is a accident that happens often.  The solution is often to apply a UV Killer Spray to try to cover up those UV Brighteners so you aren’t prematuley busted by a Deer or Turkey.  I will show you how I applied a UV Killer Spray and then test how well it does in eliminating UV Brighteners. For this article, I am using Atsko UV Killer spray. 

First I needed some samples to show you what happens with a hunting garment when it is washed in a UV Brightener Detergent. 

The detergent I used to introduce UV brighteners to the hunting camo in this test indicated that it had Powerful whitening agents in it.  These agents would be the UV brighteners that us hunters should shy away from.

  • To show you what we are starting with, I sacrificed some items from my hunting closet. I took some 100% Polyester Under Armour Pants in the Forest pattern and a Sitka Open Country 85% Moreno wool/15% spandex base layer and washed them.
  • Here you see them before the wash under the UV light (notice there is no blueish glow indicating the presence of UV Brighterners)
  • Now, after the wash, notice the UnderArmour Pants haven’t changed but look how the fabric on the Sitka pants glows. 
  •  I attribute this to the absorption abilities of the fabric. The polyester pants are made from a petroleum based product that is in a sense, a plastic fiber.  Now we know that petroleum and water don’t mix very well so a polyester fabric is going to be much more resistant to water and the detergents that are in the water and therefore, not absorb those UV brighteners.

So are the Sitka baselayer pants ruined?  Does a UV killer spray work?  We will see later on.

In addition to those two garments, I also took an old camo poly/cotton blend T-shirt and cut it into 3 piece and washed them all in that same UV Brightener detergent.  Here they are under the UV light.  Notice how they all have that blue glow to them and the white really stands out in the patterns. I labeled them so I could keep track of the progress. 

  • Number 1 is my control. No spray will be applied.
  • Number 2 will have a single application of spray
  • Number 3 will have a double application so we can compare.

How to Apply UV Killer Spray

Its is easiest to lay the fabric you are treating flat on a surface where overspray of the UV Killer won’t get on anything else you don’t want this UV killer on.

Shake the bottle and then heavily spray the surface of the fabric you want to treat with the spray.  Take a wide paint brush and spread it evenly over the surface of the fabric.  Use a UV light to see where you need more spray.  You can see how the glow disappears. 

Let the exposed side dry completely before turning it over to treat the opposite side.  You can hang it also and treat the entire garment at once by you might have a higher waste percentage of the spray.

Sounds pretty easy and from the looks of that video it is pretty effective. 

Is it Time to hit the treestand?  Not so fast!

I came back after the initial treatments dried and sat for a while and this is what I found.  The Glow is back!  Why did that happen? So I applied another coat of UV killer spray to the polyester pants on the same spot and waited again for it to dry.  Initially while wet, the glow was gone but once again, when dry, there the glow was again, indicating those UV brighteners are just to embedded in the fabric to cover up.

As for my 3 separate pieces of fabric, well, you be the judge.  Here they are, no treatment on the left, one treatment in the middle and two treatments on the right.  I will say there is a subtle difference but not much but to me, that blue glow is still there.

Here they are after another treatment.  But I added another fabric across the top from a mossy oak hoodie I have for reference.

Notice they all look the same in the white light. 

Now with the UV light, look at the blue hue the ones washed in the brightener detergent.

This time, the left still has no treatment but 2 has been treated twice and 3 has been treated 3 times.

After all this I have a conclusion

Don’t buy hunting camo with UV Brighteners and don’t wash your hunting cloths in detergent with UV Brighteners.  If you do, it may be a lost cause! 

I thought from the initial application that I was going to get some good results but from what you saw, I just can’t say I am impressed.  I also want to add that the spray adds a starchy/stiff feeling to the fabric when it dries.

My advice is buy a UV Light, check the camo out before you buy it (especially those Bargains). Wash them as little as possible.  Don’t wear them to dinner, don’t wear them out to impress your friends and when you do need to was them use non-UV detergent do you don’t have to try and find some magic potion.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *