Original by M. D. Johnson 04/18/2013 – Updated on 09/13/2021
Keeping your decoys clean & maintained will pull more birds into your set.
Real decoys need to stay real. Regardless of if you’re leaving your decoys for the season in a permanent blind; or if you are picking up a smaller spread day-to-day these tips will help you keep your decoys in prime condition.
Paint & flock decoys before the season.
It’s important once your decoys are clean to spend the time to spruce them up. If you have plastic decoys with chipped or weathered paint, it’s a worthwhile time-investment to invest in a paint kit for your decoy. You can find paint kits at most local sporting goods store or online.
Clean your decoys before and during the season.
Keeping your goose decoys clean and natural looking is the first step to an effective spread. Applying a little elbow grease before the season is all it takes.
One ugly duckling can reduce the effectiveness of your entire spread, so it’s worthwhile to put in the effort before you go out this season.
What tools are needed to clean decoys?
The tools are simple – a bucket, soft-bristled brush for flocked decoys, and a stiffer brush for all-plastics.
Do not use soap to clean decoys because it enhances the UV characteristics of most plastics.
Inspect your decoys & prepare for storage after the season.
After your successful season, make sure that you put the same intention towards storing your decoys in good condition to save yourself effort come next season. Inspect each decoy as you retrieve them, checking for plant matter, dried vegetation, or mud your decoy may have accrued over the course of the season. Using a pressure washer or high pressure hose can make it easy to strip the hard to clean muck off of the decoys. Finally use a stiff bristled brush to clean any remaining imperfections.
For those flocked decoys – don’t use liquid cleaner(s) but stick to dry brushing clean, or use a flocking kit to bring these specialized decoys to better condition. A tip: fire up the air compressor and use compressed air to blow off any dirt or grime.