5

votes

Do you get Body Odor with Artificial Fabrics?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created August 21, 2010 at 8:12 PM

wondering if anyone else has noticed this.

I do not use soap or shampoo. I have no scent when not working out, and I think a very healthy manly scent when I sweat heavily, which is still mild. Nothing remotely to compare to my previous workout odor which could be described as "gagging".

However, I have noticed recently, some of my "tech" shirts, poly blend, quick dry stuff, when I wear it and sweat heavily, I stink. Not the clothes, Me.

My BO changes. Cotton and Linen, no problems (im a huge linen fan for natural wicking). Linen is hard to find, and with heavy exercise, the dryweave stuff is just awesome for not running around with sweaty wet clothes...

so, anyone else notice this and have solutions?

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on August 06, 2012
at 04:00 PM

Yeah, merino wool is great. I wore a merino wool shirt on a recent backpack trip and I thought my own body odor after 5 days of hiking was a thousand times better than after a few hours wearing polyester.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on August 06, 2012
at 03:59 PM

Cotton in summer in arid climates is great though. You can get your shirt wet and stay cool for a long time.

7e6644836cdbcbe2b06307ff7db92d31

(693)

on August 06, 2012
at 12:21 PM

No. I can hike almost three seasons in mid-atlantic in a T-shirt and shorts, maybe a sweatshirt when cold. No rain gear when it rains, I get soaked through and am able to dry off. Sweat, rain, doesn't matter. Stuff is a dream. All original gear, extremely durable, no stink. Regular wash, always on warm, line dry.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 06, 2012
at 09:49 AM

Or get a pet skunk on a leash, nobody will notice your BO at all when you have a skunk on a leash.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 06, 2012
at 09:48 AM

Wow, whole bunch of downvotes here for speaking the obvious truth. Not much wrong with using or even *making* hygiene products, especially if they're not loaded with toxins or overpowering scents.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 06, 2012
at 09:41 AM

You should try porcupine instead. You'll look very, um, sharp.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 20, 2012
at 09:02 PM

Also UTI and generally smelling-fresh-feeling-fresh tip: just don't wear your underwear/tight fitting garments when you don't have to. Seriously, when you get home and are chilling about the house, it is good to let everything breathe a little! Let the flora get some air.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 20, 2012
at 08:59 PM

Yeah, I got merino socks from MEC for the west coast trail, they are my prized pair. Really like them.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 20, 2012
at 08:58 PM

Tech shirts are notorious for their smell. At rowing, they seriously banned them for the guys one year because it was out of control. Switched a mix of cotton, and that workout gear made from wool- seems much better.

218f4d92627e4289cc81178fce5b4d00

on September 11, 2011
at 03:15 AM

just google it, there are plenty of options, but they are expensive, more so the exported ones unfortuneately. Even in NZ they are pricey.

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on September 10, 2011
at 08:42 PM

If this info is for real I would love to know how and where to buy merino and possum blend socks.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on August 26, 2010
at 11:50 AM

sweaty because were active, not because of diet. and its not sticky sweat, its like dumping water on yourself...

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 25, 2010
at 10:54 PM

It's a shame these questions give people the impression that this diet = sticky. I've never been sticky and neither are any of the other paleo dieters I know well IRL.

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on August 21, 2010
at 09:26 PM

100% polyester does that to me. My only solution is to not wear it.

1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on August 21, 2010
at 08:40 PM

Exactly the same for me - not found a solution yet though!

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16 Answers

5
218f4d92627e4289cc81178fce5b4d00

on September 10, 2011
at 03:02 PM

Cotton in summer in a hot humid climate is an absolute nightmare especially for exercise, just gets wet heavy and clammy. I don't wear any cotton at all in summer, it's a recipe for failure. As for the odour problem, I myself find that some of the clothes are smell magnets, but not me personally. If I have a tech tshirt that smells I bleach it and if it continues to smell it gets binned,there are no brands just no name $10 shirts from uniqlo. Underpants, shorts get the same treatment, and in fact I change my undies on average 2-3 times a day in summer, I loathe being stuck in "damp' under garments.

As for merino wool, I can testify this stuff is amazing, I read stories of transoceanic racing yachts men wearing them for weeks without washing them and they didnt smell, I bought a long sleeve tshirt, it's my favourite shirt by far, it just does not smell, long ski trips are great I can really rely on it, it was however very expensive, but extremely soft and the thickness of merino wool is so fine, it is lower than the threshold that feels itchy to human skin. Magic stuff. Even if you buy just one you won't regret it. Like goose down is still unsurpassed by any artificial insulator there is no man made fabric that can match merino wool as fabric worn next to the skin. Funny that, nature schooling us clever humans once again

One more thing, the softest, and and warmest socks, you will ever buy are merino and possum blend, yes possum, they are an extremely destructive and most unwelcome introduced species in new Zealand and their fur isvery warm, it shares with polar bear fur the rare property of being hollow core, which is thermally superior. Strange socks, but warm beyond belief and they don't stink.

218f4d92627e4289cc81178fce5b4d00

on September 11, 2011
at 03:15 AM

just google it, there are plenty of options, but they are expensive, more so the exported ones unfortuneately. Even in NZ they are pricey.

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on September 10, 2011
at 08:42 PM

If this info is for real I would love to know how and where to buy merino and possum blend socks.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 20, 2012
at 08:59 PM

Yeah, I got merino socks from MEC for the west coast trail, they are my prized pair. Really like them.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on August 06, 2012
at 03:59 PM

Cotton in summer in arid climates is great though. You can get your shirt wet and stay cool for a long time.

3
193f00d53ebcb13940c7a55afc78ad17

on August 06, 2012
at 04:51 PM

Not all synthetic materials are created equal. The most common ones in use today (Under Armor, Nike Dri-Fit, etc) are pretty basic from a technological standpoint (because they are CHEAP to manufacture). There are other options, but how much 'better' they are depends on a number of factors.

Synthetic materials work by using hollow fibers that 'wick' (through capillary action) moisture off from your skin. This is a fast process, once liquid moisture is present, but it has the down side of creating lots of areas for bacterial growth. In old polypropylene base-layers it was nigh-impossible to clean all of the moisture channels, resulting in their notorious permanent stink. Modern fibers are able to be more effectively cleaned, but the smell will linger until washed. This is addressed by some manufactures by adding a small amount of silver to act as an antimicrobial agent. The down side is increased cost and some potential environmental risks (in manufacturing).

Natural materials transport moisture along the outside of their fibers. They are also more loosely packed, so moist vapor is able to pass trough, not just liquid. The end result is a slower 'wick' but without the need for liquid to build up on the skin. Many natural fibers (like wool and bamboo) have natural anti-microbial properties which allow multiple uses without the stink that synthetics develop. The down side is that detergents bond to the surface of these fibers and can reduce their performance over time. There are special tech-wash products out there for cleaning/restoring such high-end base layers.

A note on cotton Cotton loves to absorb moisture, which is why it makes a wonderful towel, but a terrible base-layer. Cotton socks/shirts/underwear are the utter bottom tier option for performance stuff. If you've ever removed your white cotton sock and gazed at pruney wet toes, you have seen it at work. Avoid cotton for anything where sweating may occur, as it can/will lead to blisters and general discomfort. Linen is better than cotton in nearly every respect (for warm weather casual wear).

Given that both material choices come in multiple weights, you can dismiss the "one is cooler/hotter than the other" argument; just buy the appropriate piece for your needs. What it comes down to is a question of environmental concern (synthetics are worse for the environment than naturals, because they have to be manufactured) versus performance needs (synthetics wick faster, insulate better than most natural fibers, etc) and comfort (natural fibers tend to 'feel' better for most people, i.e. not 'sticky').

In summation here is a small table to pull from.

==Synthetics==

  • Pros:
    • Dry faster
    • Cheaper
    • Easier care
    • Availability
  • Cons:
    • Environmental damage
    • Flammable/meltable
    • Require liquid sweat to build up
    • Feel 'sticky' when wet

==Naturals==

  • Pros:
    • Transport vapor
    • Natural anti-stink
    • Long lasting
    • Comfort
  • Cons:
    • Price
    • Higher maintenance
    • Specialty shops/online only

[Good brands to look at for Synthetics: ExOfficio, Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear] [Good brands to look at for wool: Ibex, Smart wool, icebreaker]

3
Bebc8909d95205d0f266c839304c7d3c

on August 22, 2010
at 06:50 PM

A couple of years ago, I heard an expert on the radio talking about synthetic, so-called "hypo-allergenic" bedding materials. She said that because of the regular structure of these synthetic fabrics, they provided a perfect breeding ground for microbes. Given that body odors are caused by the bacteria living in sweat, it makes sense to me that synthetic fabrics would smell worse than natural ones when you sweat in them.

3
3eb3f79868b24b3df4450ea2d4f9a5d5

(2387)

on August 22, 2010
at 07:33 AM

This is common and I'm afraid you'll need cotton-percentages of at least 80-85% in your clothing to prevent it. That's one thing I learned right from my mother (who knits for a living and knows just about any kind of wool you can and can't imagine). For underwear you'll want to go even further and get maybe max. 5-10% synthetic material for elasticity. Only natural materials can really breathe and that's just what you need. KD named one: merino. Baby-Alpaca is a great choice, too. But usually you will mostly find cotton. And yes, you'll have to look at the tag of every single cloth you find interesting. Anyhing below 80% natural cloth will probab??y make you sweat (and stink) more.

1
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 06, 2012
at 09:46 AM

Had no BO issues with either natural or unnatural fibers. I've had better breatheability with some of the newer "performance" unnatural fibers, where cotton would be completely soaked.

I use a mix of coconut oil & baking soda, if you get the mixture just right it lasts the whole day and doesn't allow BO to form even after a long hot humid day. If I overdo the baking soda, it can cause rashes.

Just for extra insurance, I spray a bit of axe on the shirt itself, though this generally isn't needed.

Plain coconut oil by itself tends to not last very long and also can stain cotton, though detergent gets it out.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 06, 2012
at 06:16 AM

I find camel hair to be particularly bothersome.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 06, 2012
at 09:49 AM

Or get a pet skunk on a leash, nobody will notice your BO at all when you have a skunk on a leash.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 06, 2012
at 09:41 AM

You should try porcupine instead. You'll look very, um, sharp.

1
D654f57ad47fa4981a1af91a53203074

(10)

on August 06, 2012
at 05:34 AM

in my case its absolutely reverse!!! natural fabrics make me smell really bad. but 100% synthetic fabrics no smell at all for many days!!!! why?? maybe those bacterias can grow in natural fabrics better!!!!

1
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on June 06, 2011
at 04:13 AM

This is interesting. I've been wearing a lot of synthetics and I've not really noticed excessive BO, but then I never even thought about the possibility. I'll have to keep an, err, nose out next time.

1
8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

on June 06, 2011
at 03:31 AM

I'd stick to natural fabrics that allow better your skin to breathe like cotton, linen, wool, silk, rayon in 80% or higher with polyester and the like 20% or less.

I have never liked the marketed dry-weave polyester gym shorts/tops so switched to 90-100% cotton at the gym.

If you want to prevent urinary tract infections (never had one so far and shouldn't on Paleo/Primal) also wear cotton 90% or higher cotton underwear since synthetic low-breathing fabrics like polyester increase microbial growth.

I don't Cross-fit but the hubby and I used to reek and sweat a lot pre-Paleo/Primal at the gym. On Paleo/Primal body odor is down tremendously (use the Rock or Tom's of Maine deodorant now - all gluten-free) but shower daily with soap (twice in warmer weather) and use Gluten-Free/Soy-Free/Dairy-Free Savonnerie shampoo and conditioner twice a week after gym workout.

The irony is that after Paleo/Primal the hubby and I find more other non-Paleo/Primal people smell - and not just at the gym or subway! Maybe our senses have heightened but I think grains/carbs make people reek after all you can smell alcohol in sweat and that is all carb!

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 20, 2012
at 09:02 PM

Also UTI and generally smelling-fresh-feeling-fresh tip: just don't wear your underwear/tight fitting garments when you don't have to. Seriously, when you get home and are chilling about the house, it is good to let everything breathe a little! Let the flora get some air.

1
20da74d4abfdbb13b66d6d4e0db1b59b

(195)

on August 21, 2010
at 10:19 PM

Yep -- stay away from polyester. Try some merino wool clothing?

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on August 06, 2012
at 04:00 PM

Yeah, merino wool is great. I wore a merino wool shirt on a recent backpack trip and I thought my own body odor after 5 days of hiking was a thousand times better than after a few hours wearing polyester.

0
9ab5730225e7c8c1fadea4acb8999d6e

on August 07, 2013
at 12:05 AM

Polyester should only be used in the winter because if u r running with a 100% polyester clothing in a summer hot day you will sweat definitely because polyester is to warm you up in a cold winter day but if it a for example a Nike cloth that is for excercising it is intended to make you sweat and dry fast but if it makes you smell that means that you should take a shower in the gym or put some deodorant spray or something

OR JUST DON'T USE POLYESTER TO ECERSIC WEN IT'S SUMMER TIME ONLY WINTER AND WEN ITS SUMMER USE COTTONEVEN IF COTTON ABSORBS THE SWEAT MAKING YOU LOOK WET THEN JUST DO WATEVER YOU WANT

0
8292546789ca48c32ead34c6e884d059

on August 06, 2012
at 03:37 PM

I have a couple of shirts that make me smell like Doritos. I have had to throw out shirts that always made me smell bad. I really liked that Bauhaus shirt....

0
0a6376917fcaee2c65fbf614543f62cb

on April 21, 2012
at 09:33 AM

I can't find the article now, but I read in Men's Health or Women's Health that the moisture wicking fabrics needed to be washed with a "sport" detergent, like Tide Sport w/ febreeze to be able to penetrate the special water shedding fibers and get the odor out. They listed a couple of other brands of sport detergent too, but I can't remember them or find that article.

-1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 04, 2012
at 05:18 AM

Go back to India.

-1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 14, 2012
at 12:49 PM

I agree with FuelRestMotion, I went camping recently and as you do, couldn't bring the whole wardrobe thing with me for changing socks every day. As I was going camping with only a close friend who didn't mind what I smelt like, it would be ok, I thought. But to my amazement the possum merino socks I did bring didn't smell at all so I needn't have worried. I had noticed this previously with a sweater, it was made of this same blend and very fine so didn't want to put in the washing machine, but didn't need to anyway as it seemed to renew itself every time I put it on!

-13
23ec7345f38fb31cf69f96ac70a902fa

(-10)

on August 21, 2010
at 09:02 PM

Use hygiene products, and spare others from inhaling your "healthy manly scent"

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 06, 2012
at 09:48 AM

Wow, whole bunch of downvotes here for speaking the obvious truth. Not much wrong with using or even *making* hygiene products, especially if they're not loaded with toxins or overpowering scents.

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