If you’re a wearer of a moisture wicking undershirt or one of the millions of people who buy moisture wicking performance gear and workout clothing, haven’t you noticed that these types of garments get a lot more smelly more quickly than your regular clothing? I have too.
A while back a reader emailed me who wondered if I had ever experienced bad B.O. when wearing a moisture wicking undershirt. Here’s his email:
Hi Undershirt Guy,
Very much enjoy your blog. Have learned a lot from your posts, and was inspired to learn of the possibility of undershirts that wick moisture. NYC and my 100% cotton undershirts result often in a heavy, sodden mess. I wear them everyday, but truly suffer on humid days.
Since reading your blog, I’ve ventured out and purchased a handful of different shirts, including [brand undershirt name removed] undershirts. These truly are amazingly dry and comfortable. Unfortunately though they have an unanticipated side effect – terrible BO smell about halfway through the day. This has never happened to me before with my old Jockey v necks.
I use Right Guard spray in the brown can, as it has always worked well for me and does not contain aluminum. I’m now searching for deodorants without aluminum that will work with polyester undershirts. So far the Now deodorant cream seems to be working.
Have you ever heard of this problem before?
Stinky in NYC
It was actually a pretty timely email because at the time I had been doing The Sweat Challenge with a bunch of different undershirts at the time to see whether or not moisture wicking undershirts would make the situation of sweating through to your outer clothing worse than if you were wearing an undershirt that absorbed moisture (i.e. cotton). During those tests, in addition to concluding that some moisture wicking undershirts would soak my outer clothing more than cotton undershirts, I also discovered that some of the moisture wicking undershirts really stunk bad after a single workout. I had never experienced that with cotton undershirts before.
If you do some googling, you’ll see that there’s lots of information related to moisture wicking clothing holding odors more than other types of fabrics. I came across this comment that I thought was pretty interesting:
Your body has to types of sweat glands eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine glands produce the kind of sweat that makes you wet. Apocrine glands produce a fatty sweat which, when bacteria breaks it down, smells bad. Polyester fabrics have a net positive ionic charge that pulls in the oils (fat) from the sweat and hangs on to them. Soap is normally used to break these kinds of bonds to get the dirt off but in the case of polyester it’s ineffective because the bonds are so strong. Bacteria comes in, eats, multiplies and starts getting the funk on. The effect is cumulative so over time it gets worse and worse.
So just yesterday I received an email from the marketers of WIN Green Eco Friendly Detergent, a newer high performance sport detergent specially formulated to get the stink out of moisture wicking clothing.
Their product information was pretty compelling, so I thought I’d share it with everyone here. Here’s some snippets from his email:
WIN Products, Inc., makers of WIN High Performance Sport Detergent and the first official licensed detergent of the US Olympic team has answered consumer demand with their first product line extension – WIN Green. WIN Green is a new eco-friendly sport detergent that is completely biodegradable, in that all of the ingredients used are sourced from natural, renewable sources that break down and decompose into by-products of nature in a short amount of time. This formula contains no brighteners, which are commonly added to laundry detergents to make the clothes appear cleaner, yet have been known to cause allergic skin reactions. There are no phosphates used, which create algal blooms in groundwater that can leak toxins into drinking water and harm ecosystems. WIN Green also is hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, dye-free and the bottle is made from recycled plastic.
WIN Green is similar to WIN’s original formula, by directly targeting the sweat molecules embedded in moisture-wicking fabrics that cause bacterial odors, which traditional detergents leave behind. Simultaneously, these same ingredients react with soil and materials causing them to either decolorize or disintegrate. Once in a soluble form after oxidation, dirt and odors easily wash away. WIN is formulated to be safe and gentle on all colors and fabrics and works in traditional and high-efficiency laundry machines.
Wondering if any of you have ever tried WIN detergent. If you have, post a comment here and let us know what you think of it.